Synopses & Reviews
A milestone in the study of culture from the father of structural anthropology.
This watershed work records Claude Lévi-Strauss's search for "a human society reduced to its most basic expression." From the Amazon basin through the dense upland jungles of Brazil, Lévi-Strauss found the societies he was seeking among the Caduveo, Bororo, Nambikwara, and Tupi-Kawahib. More than merely recounting his time in their midst, Tristes Tropiques places the cultural practices of these peoples in a global context and extrapolates a fascinating theory of culture that has given the book an importance far beyond the fields of anthropology and continental philosophy. The author's fresh approach, sense of humor, and openness to the sensuous mystique of the tropics make the scientific thrust of the book eminently accessible.
First published in 1955, Tristes Tropiques is one of the foundations of structuralism and modern anthropology. Claude Levi-Strauss's accounts of his researches among the peoples of the Amazon is a fascinating study and influential in the organization of human societies. But it is also a wonderful memoir of years spent in the rain forests of Brazil. He writes of myths and superstitions, modern cities and ancient villages, and each page is packed with anecdotes and observations. This is an accessible and enjoyable book as well as a remarkable piece of scholarship.
About the Author
(1908-2009), the founder of structural anthropology, was born in Belgium and studied at the University of Paris. A member of the French Academy, he authored numerous works, including Structural Anthropology, The Savage Mind,
and Myth and Meaning
Patrick Wilcken is the author of Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology. He lives in London.
John Weightman (1915-2004) and Doreen Weightman (d. 1985) together translated several important anthropological works of Claude Levi-Strauss and a book about Rousseau by Jean Guehenno.