In the Library of Lévi-Strauss | Public Books

One of the most curious aspects of this book, The Raw and the Cooked, is that it is composed as a series of melodic ventures—song, sonata, symphony, fugue—inviting one to experience its passages musically. “When the reader has crossed the bounds of irritation and boredom and is moving away from the book,” Lévi-Strauss writes hopefully in the “Overture” to this first volume of the Mythologiques, “he will find himself carried toward that music which is to be found in myth and which, in the complete versions, is preserved not only with its harmony and rhythm but also with that hidden significance that I have sought so laboriously to bring to light.”7 I have always been intrigued by this suggestion, which presents reading as a kind of listening. I thought of the reverence that Lévi-Strauss often expressed for the German composer Richard Wagner, from whose 1882 opera Parsifal the anthropologist once selected a line—“you see my son, here, time turns into space”—as “the most profound definition that anyone has ever offered for myth.”
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