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I am a neophyte interpreter of Claude Levi-Strauss. When I took Anthropology (Introduction to Primitive Cultures) at the University of Michigan for the spring half-semester in 1967, my grade was a B. The dictionary's definition of neophyte is primarily religious, dating back to the primitive church, from Greek and Late Latin terms that modified what was newly planted in Greek. People who read THE VIEW FROM AFAR ought to expect their interest in words, myth, and the aura of insanity to be increased, particularly by Part III: The Environment and Its Representation:
Chapter 7 Structuralism and Ecology
Chapter 8 Structuralism and Empiricism
Chapter 9 The Lessons of Linguistics
Chapter 10 Religion, Language, and History: Concerning an Unpublished Text by Ferdinand de Saussure
Chapter 11 From Mythical Possibility to Social Existence
Part IV Beliefs, Myths, and Rites starts with Chapter 12 Cosmopolitanism and Schizophrenia. I am not totally unfamiliar with some concepts in this book, due to the feeling that I have had for a long time that when you go someplace new, the first person that you talk to is likely to be the village idiot. Intellectuals may attempt to avoid this problem by going first to works of people who have pristine reputations, pre-Platonic philosophers or leaders in their fields. Claude Levi-Strauss might be the pre-eminent name in French anthropology, but I am surprised how many links with American natives and educated society are revealed in THE VIEW FROM AFAR. Chapter 9 is a preface for the French translation of SIX LECTURES ON SOUND AND MEANING by Roman Jakobson, who died in 1982 at the age of 86. The lectures "were the first ones that I heard him give" (p. 138).Read more ›
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