Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Paul Friedrich  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Paul Friedrich on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Paul Friedrich taught at the University of Chicago for many years.

Biographical and Professional Information

Paul Friedrich grew up and was educated in New England; has lived in Europe, India and Mexico; and has taught languages, literature, linguistics and anthropology at many universities. His poetic publications include four chapbooks (e.g., Bastard Moons and Handholds) and two books of poems and translations (old and new): From Root to Flower and Harmony in Babel: Selected Poems and Translations. Other publications include ''The Meaning of Aphrodite'', ''The Gita within Walden'', and ''Agrarian Revolt in a Mexican Village''. He has seven children and has commuted by car between Chicago and Lexington, Virginia for 19 years.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Harmony in Babel: Selected Poems and Translations
ISBN: 0979882516

Virtual Artists Collective. 2007

The poems and translations in Harmony in Babel entertain one paradox of life today. Paul Friedrich guides us through a Babel of words, and worlds of the imagination ranging from his translations from five languages(notably the Russian of his literary studies) to the poetry of the Indian Mexico of his anthropological field work to America writ large -- super highways, a Vermont farm, father and child. Yet beneath the images, lyric forms, erotic and work-place variations, and figures of languages, breathes an aesthetic harmony and a sense of human concord -- like eating a pomegranate together in the dark.

From Root to Flower
ISBN: 097729742X

Virtual Artists Collective. 2006

Paul Friedrich, a poet who is also a professor of anthropology, linguistics, and literature, begins this collection with Thoreau's claim that the "narrowness" of his experience confines him to talking about himself. But Friedrich's way of talking about himself, like Thoreau's, means talking about others - people whose sad and happy moments he has witnessed, poets he admires, places and communities in the United States, Mexico, India, and Europe of which he has become a part, to which he has lent his voice. This is a book of a passionate, empathic, and compassionate traveler, a solitary voice with remarkable social depth, a book that had to be poetry. It will be a discovery for those familiar with Friedrich's studies on Aphrodite or on music in Russian poetry and it will be a delight for lovers of poetry who have not heard this voice before.

Music In Russian Poetry
ISBN: 0820433470

Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers. 1998

This groundbreaking work from Paul Friedrich surveys the Russian lyric scene from the eighteenth century through the modern period, in terms of the poets' own ideas as well as the author's creative interpretation. Such themes as poetic craft, musicality, creativity, sociopolitical context, and multilingualism as musical competence are discussed, interrelated through their variations in twenty-one of Russia's finest lyric poets, and then synthesized in two ęrecapitulations.Ľ Incorporating a broad theoretical perspective with numerous detailed readings of key poems, Friedrich synthesizes recent Russian research (in some cases new even to specialists) with Western criticism to advance a unique series of hypotheses and generalizations. Music in Russian Poetry will be an indispensable tool for students of Russian lyric poetry, and will also be of great interest to all those interested in comparative, structural, and (auto)biographical approaches to lyric poetry and poetic culture.

A Goldfinch Instant: Concord to India Haikus
ISBN: 0981989896

Virtual Artists Collective. 2010

Paul Friedrich‚Äôs A Goldfinch Instant is in the spirit of Basho ‚Äď but it breathes with Henry David Thoreau as well. Haikus ‚Äúfrom Concord to India‚ÄĚ are embedded in a prose poem that will be of particular interest to readers familiar with Friedrich‚Äôs poetry as well as his work in anthropology and linguistics ‚Äď and that will be a delight for readers who encounter Friedrich here for the first time. It begins when ‚Äúa goldfinch instant / on the top of a young fir / hit by first sunlight‚ÄĚ triggers a memory of an afternoon with fourteen year old Nicky, one of Friedrich‚Äôs children to whom the collection is dedicated. From ‚Äúthe North Carolina of Charles Frazier‚Äôs Cold Mountain to Han Shan in distant China‚ÄĚ to the New England of Friedrich‚Äôs childhood, to Mexico, to India, to ‚Äúthe outskirts of Chicago‚ÄĚ with a nephew and ‚Äúhis bird expert father... totally serious about red-tailed hawks and owls in the snowy fields with the cold March wind blowing... totally focused because it‚Äôs fun to be out there with moles and voles under the dead marsh grass and harriers cooperating with Athena‚Äôs birds coursing through the twilight... and because yet farther than those frozen wastes are other skies and other hawks like the three Thoreau describes on one page that come to us not as Hemingway‚Äôs ‚Äėmoments of truth‚Äô ...but as transitory experiences you cling to with bare hands over the abyss when the insects and then the plastics take over and miracles like Nicky will have seen the dawn of their death.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTotally serious, totally focused, because it‚Äôs fun to be out there‚ÄĚ beautifully describes the spirit of Friedrich‚Äôs work.

The Princes of Naranja: An Essay in Anthrohistorical Method
ISBN: 0292765029

University of Texas Press. 1987

In this groundbreaking study, Paul Friedrich looks closely at the strong men of the Tarascan Indian village of Naranja: their leadership, friendship, kinship, and violent local politics (over a time depth of one generation), and ways to understand such phenomena. What emerges is an acutely observed portrait of the men who form the very basis of the grass-roots power structure in Mexico today.

Of interest to historians, sociologists, and political scientists, as well as Latin Americanists and anthropologists, The Princes of Naranja is a sequel to Friedrich's now classic Agrarian Revolt in a Mexican Village. It begins with biographical character studies of seven leaders‚ÄĒpeasant gunmen, judges, politicos here the book will grip the reader and provoke strong emotional response, from laughter to horror. A middle section places these "princes" in relation to each other, and to the contexts of village society and the larger entities of which it forms a part. Friedrich's synthesis of anthropology, local (mainly oral) history, macrohistory, microsociology, psychology, and literature gives new insight into the structure of Mexican politics from the local level up, and provides a model for other scholars doing analogous work in other parts of the world, especially in the developing world. The concluding section raises vital questions about the dynamic relations between the fieldworker, fieldwork, field notes, the villagers, the writing of a fieldwork-based book, and, implicitly, the audience for such books.

The Language Parallax: Linguistic Relativism and Poetic Indeterminacy (Texas Linguistics Series)
ISBN: 0292746512

University of Texas Press. 1986

Humankind has always been fascinated and troubled by the way languages and dialects differ. Linguistically based differences in point of view have preoccupied many original minds of the past, such as Kant, and remain at the forefront of language study: in philosophy, anthropology, literary criticism, and other fields.

Paul Friedrich's The Language Parallax argues persuasively that the "locus and focus" of differences among languages lies not so much in practical or rational aspects as in the complexity and richness of more poetic dimensions‚ÄĒin the nuances of words, or the style and voice of an author. This poetic reformulation of what has been called "linguistic relativism" is grounded in the author's theory of the imagination as a main source of poetic indeterminacy. The reformulation is also based on the intimate relation of the concentrated language of poetry to the potential or possibilities for poetry in ordinary conversation, dreams, and other experiences. The author presents challenging thoughts on the order and system of language in their dynamic relation to indeterminacy and, ultimately, disorder and chaos.

Drawing on his considerable fieldwork in anthropology and linguistics, Friedrich interweaves distinct and provocative elements: the poetry of language difference, the indeterminacy in dialects and poetic forms, the discovery of underlying orders, the workings of different languages, the strength of his own poetry. The result is an innovative and organic whole.

The Language Parallax, then, is a highly original work with a single bold thesis. It draws on research and writing that has involved, in particular, English, Russian, and the Tarascan language of Mexico, as well as the personal and literary study of the respective cultures. Anthropologist, linguist, and poet, Friedrich synthesizes from his experience in order to interrelate language variation and structure, the creative individual, ideas of system-in-process, and questions of scientific and aesthetic truth. The result is a new view of language held to the light of its potentially creative nature.

Proto-Indo-European Trees: The Arboreal System of a Prehistoric People
ISBN: 0226264807

Univ of Chicago Pr. 1970

very good condition, never been read, small tear on dust cover. Found in a storage boxl

The Meaning of Aphrodite
ISBN: 0226264831

University of Chicago Press. 1982

Agrarian Revolt in a Mexican Village
ISBN: 0226264815

University of Chicago Press. 1977

Agrarian Revolt in a Mexican Village deals with a TarŠscan Indian village in southwestern Mexico which, between 1920 and 1926, played a precedent-setting role in agrarian reform. As he describes forty years in the history of this small pueblo, Paul Friedrich raises general questions about local politics and agrarian reform that are basic to our understanding of radical change in peasant societies around the world. Of particular interest is his detailed study of the colorful, violent, and psychologically complex leader, Primo Tapia, whose biography bears on the theoretical issues of the "political middleman" and the relation between individual motivation and socioeconomic change. Friedrich's evidence includes massive interviewing, personal letters, observations as an anthropological participant (e.g., in fiesta ritual), analysis of the politics and other village culture during 1955-56, comparison with other TarŠscan villages, historical and prehistoric background materials, and research in legal and government agrarian archives.

Speaking Engagements

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