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The Raw and the Cooked

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The Raw and the Cooked (1964) is the first volume from Mythologiques, a structural study of Amerindian mythology written by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. It was originally published in French as Le Cru et le Cuit. Although the book is part of a larger volume Lévi-Strauss writes that it may be appreciated on its own merits, he does not consider this first volume a beginning: "since it would have developed along similar lines if it had had a different starting point".In the introduction, Lévi-Strauss writes of his confidence that "certain categorical opposites drawn from everyday experience with the most basic sorts of things — e.g. 'raw' and 'cooked,' 'fresh' and 'rotten,' 'moist' and 'parched,' and others — can serve a people as conceptual tools for the formation of abstract notions and for combining these into propositions." Beginning with a Bororo myth, Lévi-Strauss analyses 187 myths, reconstructing sociocultural formations using binary oppositions based on sensory qualities. The work thus presents an adaptation of Ferdinand de Saussure's theories of structural linguistics applied to a different field.
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part of the series: Mythologiques
original title: Le Cru et le cuit
language: French
date of publication: 1964

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