By Patrick Wilcken
The definitive account of the lifestyles, paintings, and legacy of Claude Lévi-Strauss, father of recent anthropology and one of many postwar era's so much influential thinkers.
whilst Claude Lévi-Strauss kicked the bucket final October at age a hundred, France celebrated the existence and contributions of not just a preeminent anthropologist, but in addition one of many defining intellectuals of the 20th century. simply as Freud had shaken up the antiquarian self-discipline of psychiatry, so had Lévi-Strauss revolutionized anthropology, remodeling it from the colonial period examine of "exotic" tribes to at least one fed on with primary questions about the character of humanity and civilization itself.
Remarkably, there hasn't ever been a biography in English of the enigmatic Claude Lévi-Strauss. Drawing on a welter of unique study and interviews with the anthropologist, Patrick Wilcken's Claude Lévi-Strauss fills this void. In wealthy aspect, Wilcken re-creates Lévi-Strauss's peripatetic existence: his groundbreaking fieldwork in the various remotest reaches of the Amazon within the Nineteen Thirties; his years as a Jew in Nazi- occupied France and as an émigré in wartime long island; and his go back to Paris within the past due Nineteen Forties, the place he clashed with Jean-Paul Sartre and essentially prompted fellow postwar thinkers from Jacques Lacan to Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. It used to be in France that structuralism, the college of concept he based, first took carry, growing waves some distance past the sphere of anthropology. In his heyday, Lévi-Strauss used to be either a hero to modern intellectuals and a global celebrity.
In Claude Lévi-Strauss, Wilcken supplies the reader a desirable highbrow journey of the anthropologist's landmark works: Tristes Tropiques, a literary meditation on his travels and fieldwork; The Savage Mind, which confirmed that "primitive" everyone is pushed through an analogous highbrow curiosities as their Western opposite numbers; and at last his huge four-volume Mythologiques, a research of the common constructions of local mythology within the Americas. within the years that Lévi-Strauss released those pioneering works, Wilcken observes, tribal societies appeared to carry the solutions to the main profound questions about the human brain. Following the nice anthropologist from São Paulo to the Brazilian inside, and from manhattan to Paris, Patrick Wilcken's Claude Lévi- Strauss is either an evocative trip and an highbrow biography of 1 of the twentieth-century's such a lot influential minds.
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Additional resources for Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory
Carlebach used to be a guy of easy tastes, purely attracted to “old German chinaware and old fashioned curios of the Gemütlich type,” yet, guided by means of the surrealists, he obtained up wood carved mask, bowls and golf equipment with integrated visible puns. His resource used to be the Museum of the yankee Indian’s warehouse within the Bronx, which used to be jam-packed with so-called duplicates that the director used to be promoting off for 50 cash apiece. One afternoon taxis filled with surrealist artists—among them Ernst, Breton, Matta, Tanguy and Seligmann, in addition to Lévi-Strauss and Georges Duthuit, the paintings critic and son-in-law of Matisse—set out for the Bronx warehouse. With assistance from a shield, they toured the museum’s shops, deciding upon selection artifacts, which might then mysteriously turn out on the market in Carlebach’s store. fifty one For the collector, manhattan at midcentury was once a treasure trove. A incredible diversity of world flotsam had washed up in what had already turn into one of many world’s so much cosmopolitan towns. With the best connections, there have been trunks of Peruvian antiques, cabinets piled excessive with Nazca vases, containers of bijou salvaged from the Russian Revolution or packing instances of infrequent Utamaro jap prints on provide, bought informally from residences, garages and sheds within the backstreets of midtown ny. The secondhand retailers have been piled excessive with sixteenth-century Spanish and Italian furnishings. notwithstanding really negative on the time, Lévi-Strauss discovered he may perhaps have enough money an old Tuscan sideboard, on sale for only a few bucks. After the warfare he had it shipped again to Europe, the place it supplied his condo in Paris. fifty two IN 1942 AMERICAN SURREALIST artist David Hare, operating with Breton and Ernst, introduced the magazine VVV, a Documents-like mixture of poetry, artwork, anthropology, sociology and psychology. Their acknowledged target was once “to distinguish what's lifeless from what's dwelling in all fields correct to paintings and action,” an company requiring “the very diverse abilities of coroner and midwife. ”53 the 1st factor is sort of a time pill representing the inventive tics and obsessions of an period, containing items on mythology, youth, dream imagery and discussions concerning the chances of purity via spontaneity. Incongruously wedged among poetry through targeté Césaire and a set of surreal images—a clock in fragments, an umbrella on a staircase, bathtubs in a box, a brand new England church with pews outside—was a bit by means of Lévi-Strauss. It used to be titled “Indian Cosmetics” and lower back to the mysterious volutes and coils—the “expert bruisings” and “graphic surgery,” as he placed it—that he had photographed at the faces of the Caduveo ladies in backland Mato Grosso years prior to. through now, his research used to be starting to specialise in formal, aesthetic aspects:These hugely built compositions, immediately unsymmetrical and balanced, are all started in a single nook or different, and performed with no hesitation, going over, or erasure, to their end. They obviously spring from an unvarying primary topic, during which crosses, tendrils, fret-work and spirals play a major half.