Claude Lévi-Strauss, the French anthropologist who transformed Western understanding of what was once called “primitive man” and who towered over the French intellectual scene in the 1960s and ’70s, has died at 100.The rest you can find here.
A powerful thinker, Mr. Lévi-Strauss was an avatar of “structuralism,” a school of thought in which universal “structures” were believed to underlie all human activity, giving shape to seemingly disparate cultures and creations. His work was a profound influence even on his critics, of whom there were many. There has been no comparable successor to him in France. And his writing — a mixture of the pedantic and the poetic, full of daring juxtapositions, intricate argument and elaborate metaphors — resembles little that had come before in anthropology.
His legacy is imposing. “Mythologiques,” his four-volume work about the structure of native mythology in the Americas, attempts nothing less than an interpretation of the world of culture and custom, shaped by analysis of several hundred myths of little-known tribes and traditions. The volumes — “The Raw and the Cooked,” “From Honey to Ashes,” “The Origin of Table Manners” and “The Naked Man,” published from 1964 to 1971 — challenge the reader with their complex interweaving of theme and detail.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Anthropologist, Dies at 100
Not a big fan of structuralism (or psycho-structuralism) myself, but this is sad news. Surely this marks the end of an era?