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Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology

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Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Claude Lévi-Strauss passed away in 2009 at age 100, France celebrated the life and contributions of not only a preeminent anthropologist, but one of the defining intellectuals of the 20th century. Just as Freud had shaken up the antiquarian discipline of psychiatry, so had Lévi-Strauss revolutionized anthropology, transforming it from the colonial-era study of “exotic” tribes to one consumed with fundamental questions about the nature of humanity and civilization itself.

 

Remarkably, there has never been a biography in English of the enigmatic Claude Lévi-Strauss. Drawing on a welter of original research and interviews with the anthropologist, Patrick Wilcken’s Claude Lévi-Strauss fills this void. In rich detail, Wilcken recreates Levi-Strauss’s peripatetic life: his groundbreaking fieldwork in some of the remotest reaches of the Amazon in the 1930s; his years as a Jew in Nazi-occupied France and an emigré in wartime New York; and his return to Paris in the late 1940s, where he clashed with Jean-Paul Sartre and fundamentally influenced fellow postwar thinkers from Jacques Lacan to Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. It was in France that structuralism, the school of thought he founded, first took hold, creating waves far beyond the field of anthropology. In his heyday, Levi-Strauss was both a hero to contemporary intellectuals, and an international celebrity.

 

In Claude Levi-Strauss, Wilcken gives the reader a fascinating intellectual tour of the anthropologist’s landmark works: Tristes Tropiques, his most famous book, a literary meditation on his travels and fieldwork; The Savage Mind, which showed that “primitive” people are driven by the same intellectual curiosities as their Western counterparts, and finally his monumental four-volume Mythologiques, a study of the universal structures of native mythology in the Americas. In the years that Lévi-Strauss published these pioneering works, Wilcken observes, tribal societies seemed to hold the answers to the most profound questions about the human mind.

 

Following the great anthropologist from São Paulo to the Brazilian interior, and from New York to Paris, Patrick Wilcken’s Claude Lévi-Strauss is both an evocative journey and an intellectual biography of one of the 20th century’s most influential minds.

Synopsis:

The first biography in English of the intellectual giant who founded modern anthropology.

One of the defining intellectuals of the twentieth century, Claude Levi-Strauss revolutionized anthropology, transforming it from the colonial-era study of "exotic" tribes to one consumed with fundamental questions about the nature of humanity and civilization itself. This acclaimed biography not only follows the anthropologist's peripatetic career, from the depths of Amazonia in the 1930s to postwar Paris, but also offers an invaluable guide to his most influential theories. The result seamlessly blends a portrait of an extraordinary life with a primer on twentieth-century anthropology.

About the Author

Patrick Wilcken is the author of Empire Adrift: The Portuguese Court in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1821. He lives in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143120629
Author:
Wilcken, Patrick
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20120131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 pp. b/w photos (on insert stock); b/w
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
8.41 x 5.54 x 0.97 in 0.77 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Social Scientists and Psychologists
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General

Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology New Trade Paper
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Product details 432 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143120629 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The first biography in English of the intellectual giant who founded modern anthropology.

One of the defining intellectuals of the twentieth century, Claude Levi-Strauss revolutionized anthropology, transforming it from the colonial-era study of "exotic" tribes to one consumed with fundamental questions about the nature of humanity and civilization itself. This acclaimed biography not only follows the anthropologist's peripatetic career, from the depths of Amazonia in the 1930s to postwar Paris, but also offers an invaluable guide to his most influential theories. The result seamlessly blends a portrait of an extraordinary life with a primer on twentieth-century anthropology.

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