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Anthropology and Myth: Lectures 1951 - 1982

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The published work of Claude Levi-Strauss over the last three and a half decades has established him as one of the world's most innovative anthropologists. Yet throughout this period he was maintaining a full taching commitment in Paris.

The pieces in Anthropology and Myth illustrate (in his own words) 'the efforts, the tentative advances and retreats and now and again the achievements of a thought process during some thirty-two years that amount to a large propotion of an ...

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Overview

The published work of Claude Levi-Strauss over the last three and a half decades has established him as one of the world's most innovative anthropologists. Yet throughout this period he was maintaining a full taching commitment in Paris.

The pieces in Anthropology and Myth illustrate (in his own words) 'the efforts, the tentative advances and retreats and now and again the achievements of a thought process during some thirty-two years that amount to a large propotion of an individual life and the span of a generation'. Levi-Strauss used to the lecture theatre as a workshop in which to try out and develop new ideas, and many of the familiar themes of his books will be found here: analysis of myth and ritual, totemism, kinship, marriage and social structure. Offering a unique glimpse of the genesis of such subjects throughout his teaching career, this book provides a sketchbook of the themes painted elsewhere in larger, more finished form, and thus forms a document of vital importance for the history of anthropological thought.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For those who interest themselves in the mechanics of intellectual labour, this book illustrated the efforts, the tentative advances and retreats, and now and again the achievements, of a thought process unfolding during some thirty-two years that amount to a large propotion of an individual life and the span of a generation." Claude Levi-Strauss

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To deduce the mythological nature of Holy Grail romances, Levi-Strauss draws parallels between Celtic narratives and Algonquian Indian famine stories. He demonstrates that the ``noble houses'' of medieval Europe, which made extensive use of fictive kinship, are a social unit common to the Yurok tribe of California. For this noted French anthropologist, structural anthropology is a tool for unearthing universal elements in customs, myths and kinship systems around the world. These lecture notes and skeletal outlines for college courses that he taught make dry reading. However, they summarize most of the themes elaborated in his popular books. Chapters trace the spread of astronomical knowledge from South America northward, compare attitudes of the living toward the dead and explore cannibalism, totemism and ritualistic cross-dressing between sexes. (April)
Library Journal
For the past 35 years, the work of Levi-Strauss has generated countless debates on structuralism and spurred controversies on ethnographic methodology in anthropological circles worldwide. This work (primarily a series of lectures presented at the Sorbonne) documents some of the thought processes that led the author to formulate his ideas on mythology, ritual, and social structure and the transformational rules which he perceived in these cultural spheres. Levi Strauss often recapitulates the contributions of other cultural anthropologists, allowing the reader to place his essays in their proper intellectual context, and adding a historical dimension to the collection. The lectures are arranged by topic rather than chronologically , though there is a chronological listing appended. An important publication. Winifred Lambrecht, Anthropology Dept., Brown Univ., Providence, R.I.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631144748
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/8/1991
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Claude Levi-Strauss, who retired recently from his chair at the College de France, is a member of the Academie Francaise. Among his most important books are The Elementary Structures of Kinship, The Savage Mind and The Raw and the Cooked.

Roy Willis teaches anthropology at the University of Edinburgh.

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Table of Contents

Translators’ Note.

Preface.

1. The Field of Research.

2. Mythologics.

3. Inquiries in to Mythology and Ritual.

4. Current Controversies and Social Organization and Kinship.

5. Clan, Lineage, House.

Appendix: Nine Course Reports.

Chronological Table.

Index

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