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By Claude Levi-Strauss

"A magical masterpiece."—Robert Ardrey. A chronicle of the author's look for a civilization "reduced to its most elementary expression."

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I've got no flair for prudently cultivating a given box and accumulating within the harvest 12 months after yr: i've got a neolithic form of intelligence. Like local bush fires, it occasionally units unexplored parts alight; it might probably fertilize them and clutch a couple of vegetation from them, after which it strikes on, leaving scorched earth in its wake. on the time, despite the fact that, i used to be incapable of accomplishing any knowledge of this deeper motivation. I knew not anything approximately anthropology, I had by no means attended any direction and while Sir James Frazer paid his final stopover at to the Sorbonne to provide a memorable lecture – in 1928, i believe – it by no means happened to me to wait, even though I knew approximately it. it's precise that, from my earliest youth, it have been my pastime to gather unique curios. however it was once an antiquarian curiosity, the course of which used to be ruled via the price of issues i'll have the funds for. As a young person, i used to be nonetheless so doubtful approximately what i needed to do this the 1st individual to offer an opinion, André Cresson, one among my early philosophy academics, steered that legislations experiences will be such a lot suited for my temperament; I keep in mind him with gratitude as a result of half-truth hid in his mistake. So I gave up the belief of competing for the Ecole Normale Supérieure and enrolled as a legislation scholar, whereas even as learning for the licence in philosophy; I followed this resolution since it used to be really easy. a wierd fatality hangs over the educating of legislation. it's stuck among theology, which at the moment it resembled in spirit, and journalism, in the direction of which it used to be starting to swing end result of the contemporary reforms, and so it kind of feels not able to discover any foundation for itself that's right now good and target; it loses this sort of virtues in attempting to achieve or keep the opposite. The jurist, who's himself an item of analysis for the social scientist, constantly makes one examine an animal attempting to convey the magic lantern to the zoologist. thankfully, in these days, it used to be attainable to get via examinations after just a couple of weeks’ paintings, because of manuals which needed to be discovered by means of center. yet i used to be do away with by way of the folks learning legislation much more than through the barrenness of the topic. I doubt no matter if the excellence continues to be legitimate, yet round 1928 a few of the first-year scholars may be divided into precise species, one may perhaps nearly say specific races: legislations and drugs at the one hand, the humanities and the sciences at the different. despite the fact that unattractive the phrases extrovert and introvert can be, they're doubtless the main acceptable ones for the expression of the distinction. at the one hand there has been ‘youth’ (in the feel within which conventional folklore makes use of this time period to suggest a undeniable age group), noisy, competitive, apprehensive to claim itself even on the price of the worst type of vulgarity, and politically to the intense correct (of the period); at the different, in advance elderly kids, discreet, withdrawn, often Left-wing, and whose objective was once to be admitted to the ranks of the adults they themselves have been busily attempting to turn into.

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