As Levi-Strauss freely explores the mythologies of the Americas, with occasional incursions into European and Japanese folklore, tales of sloths and squirrels interweave with discussions of Freud, Saussure, "signification," and plays by Sophocles and Labiche. Levi-Strauss critiques psychoanalytic interpretation and defends the interpretive powers of structuralism. "Electrifying...A brilliant demonstration of structural analysis in action...Can be read with pleasure and profit by anyone interested in that aspect of self-discovery that comes through knowledge of the universal and timeless myths that live on in all of us."--Jonathan Sharp, San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle "A characteristic tour de force...One remains awed by him."--Colin Thubron, Sunday Times "With all its epistemological depth, the book reads at times like a Simenon or a Lewis Carroll, fusing concise methodology with mastery of style."--Bernadette Bucher, American Ethnologist "[An] engagingly provocative exploration of mythology in the Americas...Always a good read."--Choice "A playful, highly entertaining book, fluently and elegantly translated by Benedicte Chorier."
--Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, New York Times Book Review
Introduction 1: A Jivaro Myth 2: Pottery, a "Jealous Art" 3: Goatsucker Myths in South America 4: Potters' Kilns and Cooking Fire 5: Goatsucker Myths in North America 6: Oral Greediness and Anal Retention 7: The Sloth as Cosmological Symbol 8: In Quest of Zoemes 9: Levels of the World 10: Excrement, Meteors, Jealousy, Dismembered Body 11: California Demiurges as Jealous Potters 12: Myths in the Form of Klein's Bottle 13: The Nature of Mythic Thought 14: A Jivaro Version of Totem and Taboo Appendix: Tribes, Peoples, Linguistic Families References Abbreviations Bibliography Acknowledgments