Claude Levi-Strauss

Having read Tristes Tropiques and being sad when it ended, I actually lugged The Origin of Table Manners with me on a long trip through Mexico. ( And read it there, moreover, while I had real deal amoebic dysentery in the freaking jungle.  Way to have fun!)  So, I was saddened to see that Claude Levi-Strauss died over this past weekend.   He brought a fresh eye to his subject, as well as rigor, and whether or not the end product was something you agreed with or not, it was always stimulating and thought provoking to read his work.  I always enjoyed the way he opened up anthropological thought, and perhaps academic thought as a whole, by his more horizontal analysis of how things repeat through cultures, which was called “structuralism”.  I never understand these names, but anyway.  (Like, really, for example, what is Deconstruction?)  In any event, an original mind is no longer with us, and while that is the way of  life,  it is still a melancholy thing.  I hope he is on to another grand adventure.

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