Ishmael

Introduction

Ishmael is a 1992 philosophical novel by Daniel Quinn. The novel examines the hidden cultural biases driving modern civilization and explores themes of ethics, sustainability, and global catastrophe. Largely framed as a Socratic conversation between two characters,[1] Ishmael aims at exposing that several widely accepted assumptions of modern society, such as human supremacy, are actually cultural myths that produce catastrophic consequences for humankind and the environment. The novel was awarded the $500,000 Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award in 1991, a year before its formal publication.[2]

Ishmael ultimately comprises a loose trilogy, including a 1996 spiritual sequel, The Story of B, and a 1997 "sidequel," My Ishmael. Quinn also details how he arrived at the ideas behind Ishmael in his autobiography, Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest. Yet another related book is Quinn's 1999 short treatise, Beyond Civilization.


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