From the Archives: Claude Levi-Strauss
November 03, 2009

French social anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss died over the weekend at the age of 100.  His theory of structuralism was a major influence on such titans of philosophy as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. Back in 1967, TNR's Patrick Gallagher reviewed his seminal work The Savage Mind, which sought to transform the way Western civilization looks at the native populations. Click here to give it a read.

The Usefulness of Cranks
September 30, 2009

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery By Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, 524 pp., $30) American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau Edited by Bill McKibben (Library of America, 1,047 pp., $40) Defending The Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Madison Grant By Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 462 pp., $39.95) A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster (Oxford University Press, 535 pp., $34.99) A Reenchanted World: The Quest for A New Kinship With Nature By James William Gibson (Metropolitan Books,

The World of Levi-Strauss
January 01, 1970

The Savage Mind by Claude Levi-Strauss Translated by George Weidenfeld The certainty that the boundaries of one's society define the frontiers of humanity--that all societies outside the boundary are thereby equally outside the pale of reason, mere clusters of gibbering savages--is curiously widespread. In the Western world, the certainty takes the form of a grand dichotomy, and all of mankind is split into two mutually exhaustive and contrastive camps, the primitive and the civilized.