Archive for November, 2009

levi-strauss lives on

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

This blog cannot go without mentioning the passing of Claude Levi-Strauss

From the NYT obit :

But Mr. Lévi-Strauss’s version of structuralism may end up surviving post-structuralism, just as he survived most of its avatars. His monumental four-volume work, “Mythologiques,” may ensure his legacy, as a creator of mythologies if not their explicator.

The final volume ends by suggesting that the logic of mythology is so powerful that myths almost have a life independent from the peoples who tell them. In his view, they speak through the medium of humanity and become, in turn, the tools with which humanity comes to terms with the world’s greatest mystery: the possibility of not being, the burden of mortality.

Funny, that turn of the phrase – Levi-Strauss may live on for “creating mythologies, if not their explicator”, that somehow are also at the same time, “so powerful to have a life independent from the peoples who tell them”.

He understood animism, the NYT doesn’t.