Tobias Schneebaum, in 2002.
via NYTimes, September 25, 2005:
Tobias Schneebaum, Chronicler and Dining Partner of Cannibals, Dies [excerpts]
By MARGALIT FOX
Tobias Schneebaum, a New York writer, artist and explorer who in the 1950's lived among cannibals in the remote Amazon jungle and, by his own account, sampled their traditional cuisine, died on Tuesday in Great Neck, N.Y. He was in his mid-80's and a longtime resident of Greenwich Village.
The cause was complications of Parkinson's disease, his nephew Jeff Schneebaum said. The elder Mr. Schneebaum, who had several nieces and nephews, leaves no immediate survivors.
In 2000, Mr. Schneebaum was the subject of a well-received documentary film, "Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale," which follows his return to the Amazon, and to Indonesian New Guinea, where he also lived.
Schneebaum came to prominence in 1969 with the publication of his
memoir, also titled "Keep the River on Your Right" (Grove Press). The
book, which became a cult classic, described how a mild-mannered gay
New York artist wound up living, and ardently loving, for several
months among the Arakmbut, an indigenous cannibalistic people in the
rainforest of Peru.
...Mr. Schneebaum's work raises tantalizing questions about the role of the anthropologist, the responsibilities of the memoirist, and cultural attitudes toward sexuality and taboo. It also offers a look at the persistence of an 18th-century idea - the Western fantasy of the noble savage - well into the 20th century.
In 1955, Mr. Schneebaum, then a painter, won a Fulbright fellowship to study art in Peru. There, he vanished into the jungle and was presumed dead. Seven months later, he emerged, naked and covered in body paint. The experience had transformed him, he would later say, but in a way he could scarcely have imagined.
Theodore Schneebaum was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, most likely on March 25, 1922 (some sources say 1921), and reared in Brooklyn. Visiting Coney Island as a boy, he was captivated by the Wild Man of Borneo, a sideshow attraction famed for its brute exoticism.
Mr. Schneebaum, who
disliked the name Theodore and eventually changed it to Tobias,
attended the City College of New York. In 1977, he received a master's
in cultural anthropology from Goddard College in Vermont.
"Keep the River on Your Right" caused a sensation when it was
published. Anthropologists were aghast: ethnographers were not supposed
to sleep with their subjects, much less eat them. Interviewers were
titillated. ("How did it taste?" a fellow guest asked Mr. Schneebaum on
"The Mike Douglas Show." "A little bit like pork," he replied.)
Mr. Schneebaum's other memoirs include "Wild Man" (Viking, 1979) and "Where the Spirits Dwell" (Grove, 1988). His most recent, "Secret Places: My Life in New York and New Guinea" (University of Wisconsin, 2000) moves between the communities he loved: Asmat, now ravaged by globalization, and his friends in Greenwich Village, ravaged by AIDS.
authority on Asmat art and culture, Mr. Schneebaum was formerly
assistant to the curator of the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress in
Agats, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. He was also the author of "Embodied
Spirits: Ritual Carvings of the Asmat."
For RGL holdings go to WATSONLINE:
AUTHORS (last name first) (1-10 of 10)
1 Asmat Images From The Collection Of The Asmat Museum Of Culture And Progress = Gambaran Asmat, Dari / text, Photographs, And Drawings By Tobias Schneebaum,1985
2 Asmat : Leben Mit Den Ahnen : Steinzeitliche Holzschnitzer Unserer Zeit = Asmat : Life With The Ancestors / von Gunter Konrad, Ursula Konrad, Tobias Schneebaum,1981
3 Au Pays Des Hommes Nus / Tobias Schneebaum ; Traduit De L'américain Par Jean-Bernard Blandenier,1971
4 Embodied Spirits : Ritual Carvings Of The Asmat / Tobias Schneebaum 1990
5 Keep The River On Your Right / by Tobias Schneebaum
6 [Miscellaneous Articles]
7 A Museum As A Focal Point In Acculturation : The Asmat Museum Of Culture And Progress / by Tobias Schneebaum,1976
8 Secret Places : My Life In New York And New Guinea / Tobias Schneebaum,c2000
9 Wild Man / by Tobias Schneebaum ; With Ill. By The Author,1979
10 Wild Man / by Tobias Schneebaum, With Illustrations By The Author ; New Forward By David Bergman,c2003
more info, links, articles, reviews, interviews, etc.:
Official film website: Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale
Movie Stills; Watch clips and trailer
Tobias Schneebaum: Film Debuting Nationally This Spring Documents Artist's Life Among Cannibals, Yaddo 2001
Review: Call of the Wild, By Robin Cembalest, ARTnews, March 2001
Review: 'River' treats Tobias Schneebaum as if he were the Wild Man of Borneo, By Richard von Busack, May 10-16, 2001, Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper
Tobias Schneebaum Interviewed by Allan Gurganus, BOMB Magazine, March 2001