Claude Lévi-Strauss, one of the last icons of 20th century French intellectual life, died over the weekend at the age of 100. He was considered and will be remembered as the father of modern anthropology. He was most acclaimed for his study of primitive mythology and for founding the theoretical school known as structural anthropology. In his structuralist approach to understand human mind and society, Lévi-Strauss sought to discover the common denominator of human thought and mental structure across different types of cultures and societies. His rich and multifaceted anthropological research had profound impact in diverse fields such as linguistics, psychology, religion, and history.
During his long and prolific career, Lévi-Strauss authored many literary and anthropological classics including Tristes Tropiques, Structural Anthropology, Totemism and The Savage Mind. His study of the Brazilian Indians was published in Tristes Tropiques, which is both a memoir of his early life in Brazil and an iconic ethnography of the indigenous Amazonian tribes. His massive Mythologiques appeared in four volumes: The Raw and the Cooked (1964), From Honey to Ashes (1966), The Origin of Table Manners (1978), and The Naked Man (1981). The Johns Hopkins University libraries have all of the above titles: please feel free to check them out and enjoy some of the greatest books of the 20th century!
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