cover image The Story of Lynx

The Story of Lynx

Claude Levi-Strauss. University of Chicago Press, $40 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-226-47471-7

Beginning with the antagonism between Lynx and Coyote in a Nez Perce Indian myth, eminent French structural anthropologist Levi-Strauss explores recurrent polarities-e.g., sky versus earth, external reality vs. the body-in myths of the Tlingit, Kwakiutl, Tsimshian and other Amerindian peoples of the Pacific Northwest. He recounts narratives of twins with special powers, of a girl rebelling against marriage, of destructive celestial fire putting an end to the first humans. Unraveling a tangled skein of related myths, with parallels from Brazil, Peru and Mexico, Levi-Strauss identifies a commonly shared mindset that explains creation in terms of dualistic forces in perpetual disequilibrium. This dense, intriguing study offers the perspectives of one of anthropology's giants on Native American mythology and culture. Photos. (May)