Claude Levi Strauss
A Brief Biography
Claude Levi Strauss was born in Belgium on November 28, 1908. A renowned anthropologist and literary scholar, Levi Strauss’s contributions to academic discourse are felt throughout the areas of literature, science, anthropology, and religion.
After receiving degrees in philosophy and law at the University of Paris, he then taught sociology at the University of Sao Paulo from 1934 to 1937, during which time he conducted research among the Brazilian Indians. He was then a visiting professor at the New School for Social Research in New York. In 1959 he was made chair of social anthropology at the College de France.
Levi Strauss contributions to the study of structuralism and the phenomena of “myth” in language are extremely useful in our study of Frankenstein. Structuralism attempts to deconstruct language to its most basic uses, like repetition and codes. What is actually said is perhaps less important than how and in what way it is said. “Structuralism underlines the importance of genre, i.e., basic rules as to how subjects are approached, about conventions of reading for theme, level of seriousness, significance of language use, and so forth.” (Lye).
The study of myth in language is explained by Levi Strauss in The Structural Study of Myth . “ There is very good reason why myth cannot simply be treated as language… myth is language: to be known, myth has to be told; it is part of human speech.” Myths are carried on from generation to generation, told in layers that are added to or taken away from as the story progresses.
Claude Levi Strauss’s works include The Elementary Structures of Kinship (1949), Structural Anthropology (1958), The Savage Mind (1962), The Jealous Potter (1988), and The Story of Lynx (1995)
Useful links regarding Levi Strauss and Structuralism:
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