Saturday, January 29, 2011

Armchair Anthropologie

A year after his passing (shortly as his 100th birthday), there is a new biography of Claude Levi-Strauss that I am putting on my wish list to read.

Here is a link to the review in the current issue of The Nation that drew my attention to it.

I confess my ignorance of the connections between Levi-Strauss and the Surrealist artists who were his contemporaries - and their participation in "a cheerful bohemian existence in New York":

With his friends Max Ernst and Andre Breton, he sought out the most enchanting pockets of the city's flourishing cultural ecosystem, stumbling on communities that preserved traditions long ago abandoned in the old country. In his mini-memoir "New York in 1941," Levi-Strauss fondly recalled attending Chinese operas under the first arch of the Brooklyn Bridge, conducting a mock-ethnography of Fire Island and reading out translations of President Roosevelt's speeches on Free French Radio.

I think I need to find a copy of "New York in 1941." Not to mention to ethnography of Fire Island.

(Hint to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology: The review itself could be a tidy introduction to Levi-Strauss and his "structuralism.")

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