Superficially, Tristes Tropiques
is an account of Lévi-Strauss'
travels in Brazil. But it begins "I hate travelling and explorers" and
is hardly your typical travel story. There are some extended lyrical
descriptive passages, including an eight page description of a sunset,
and the narrative is interrupted by extended digressions. These include
whole chapters devoted to philosophical ruminations on such topics as the
status of anthropology and the differences between the higher religions.
Tristes Tropiques is certainly among the most approachable of
Lévi-Strauss' works, and should be read by anyone with an interest in
modern philosophy. It is guaranteed to make the reader stop and think,
and then think again. It closes with the wonderful phrase "or in the
brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness,
that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange
with a cat."
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- books by Claude Lévi-Strauss
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