The word “fetish” (or “fetich”) enters English in 1613 (by way of French fétiche from the Portuguese feitiçio) to describe West African charms or amulets which the natives of Guinea believed to have magical powers. “Fetishism”, as a general designation of the habit of believing fetishes, appears in the nineteenth century as part of the growing discipline of comparative religion, notably in John Lubbock (1834–1913), The Origin of Civilization and the Primitive Condition of Man, and in what is considered the first English anthropological work, Primitive Culture by E.B. Tylor (1832–1917). Fetishism in such works is generally seen as a cultural-…

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Citation:
Clark, Robert. "Fetishism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 March 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=384, accessed 23 April 2014.]