Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Claude Lévi-Strauss has died just a few weeks before his 101st birthday.

 

The loss is a profound one because Lévi-Strauss revolutionized anthropology both as a discipline and as a cultural practice. It is Tristes Tropiques his first book, and his masterpiece that drew me to Lévi-Strauss. I still have the first edition of the paperback. But, it was one of his last books that sealed my respect and love for this man. The title, *Look, Listen, Read* provides a sense of his range and the book explores everything from opera to painting. It is a transcendent book, rich in metaphors about culture, creativity and the extraordinary importance of looking — looking that is, beyond the gaze which to Lévi-Strauss also means listening beyond the norms of conventional listening. The book is written in a cut and paste style echoing Lévi-Strauss's own concerns with 'bricolage' which is a central theme of his magnificent book, Structural Anthropology. I will not delve too deeply into the *Look, Listen, Read* here, but suffice to say that there is a section in which he presents a dialogue between himself and André Breton that explores the relationships among aesthetics, interpretation and painting. That dialogue alone makes getting hold of the *Look, Listen, Read* worthwhile.