cover image Anthropology and Myth: Lectures, 1951-1982

Anthropology and Myth: Lectures, 1951-1982

Claude Levi-Strauss, Strauss Claude Levi. Wiley-Blackwell, $42.95 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-631-14474-8

To deduce the mythological nature of Holy Grail romances, Levi-Strauss draws parallels between Celtic narratives and Algonquian Indian famine stories. He demonstrates that the ""noble houses'' of medieval Europe, which made extensive use of fictive kinship, are a social unit common to the Yurok tribe of California. For this noted French anthropologist, structural anthropology is a tool for unearthing universal elements in customs, myths and kinship systems around the world. These lecture notes and skeletal outlines for college courses that he taught make dry reading. However, they summarize most of the themes elaborated in his popular books. Chapters trace the spread of astronomical knowledge from South America northward, compare attitudes of the living toward the dead and explore cannibalism, totemism and ritualistic cross-dressing between sexes. (April)