Over the course of a monumental career, Claude Lévi-Strauss has interwoven artistic materials and themes into his seminal analyses of the savage mind.” Now the world's most famous anthropologist turns his attention entirely to the domain of aesthetics. In a series of brilliant but meticulous studies, he ranges widely across the domains of painting, music, literature and the plastic arts, his fertile mind opening more general, philosophical perspectives. Look, Listen, Read begins with an analysis of Nicolas Poussin's method of visual composition, and after drawing a surprising parallel with Marcel Proust, moves into a fascinating discussion, joined by Ingres and Delacroix among others, on the art of painting. Next the author turns to music, taking his inspiration from an inquiry into certain chord modulations in Rameau's opera Castor et Pollux, which at the time of its composition were considered a musical breakthrough. The book then considers the nature of the beautiful.” The reference point here remains the French Enlightenment, and in particular Diderot's reflections on painting. Focusing on the aesthetic controversies of this same period, but with regard to music, a fascinating series of chapters revives the work of the largely forgotten eighteenth-century musicologist Michel-Paul-Guy de Chabanon and his surprisingly contemporary discussion of music's partial resemblance to language. This leads to a consideration of the relations of words to music in opera, where Lévi-Strauss reveals something of his own tastes in music while engaging in a critical review of a work by his recently deceased friend and colleague, Michel Leires. The relation between sounds and colors is considered next, largely through a breathtaking examination of a famous but difficult poem by Arthur Rimbaud. There follows an exchange of notes with André Breton, written some fifty years ago, on the nature of the work of art. In the book's concluding chapters the author dons the more familiar mantle of the anthropologist, and by looking at the myths of the American Indians, offering an analysis of their understanding of the place of art and of the artist in their own societies. Look, Listen, Read is a truly original work, far removed from the intellectual fads that mark contemporary discussions on aesthetics, as Lévi-Strauss advances into new territory even as he remains faithful to his structuralist inspiration. The book weaves a dense tissue of connections, correspondences, and principles, while at the same time remaining sensitive to the specificities of each of the beaux-arts. In a valedictory statement capping a lifetime's work, Lévi-Strauss has made a major new contribution to our understanding of the place of art in human life, the nature of its appeal, the source of its creativity, and its universality.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
In this slim volume of fragmentary musings, the renowned octogenarian anthropologist reflects engagingly on the high culture of his native France. Avatar of structuralism, author of both dense theoretical tomes and accessible autobiographical works--most famous among the latter is Tristes Tropiques--L‚vi-Strauss (The Story of Lynx, 1995) remains without peer in his academic field. This volume finds him turning his anthropological gaze toward home, focusing on the art and literature of the French Enlightenment. His opening chapters feature an intriguing analysis of the 17th-century painter Poussin's Et in Arcadia ego theme, which, L‚vi-Strauss argues, enabled him to knot together in his pictures nature and culture, life and death. The discussion peters out into an unfocused look at various Enlightenment theories of artistic expression, but this interlude provides a bridge into a cogent treatment of the composer Rameau and his opera Castor et Pollux. The anthropologist argues that we should keep in mind, when listening to 18th-century music, that audiences then were more attuned to music theory than audiences today. In the writings of the Enlightenment music theorist Chabanon, L‚vi-Strauss finds early intimations of structuralism; he then traces the idea that the expressive languages of the different arts correspond to one another through a reading of Rimbaud's famous synesthetic sonnet likening the vowels to colors. Closing sections contain a historic artifact from 50-odd years ago: L‚vi-Strauss's famous shipboard correspondence with the surrealist poet and theorist Andr‚ Breton. From his opening consideration of how Proust's ``completed work resembles a mosaic where each piece retains its own face and character'' to his account of how basket-weavers produce objects able to take on a life of their own, what L‚vi-Strauss offers here is a series of allegories for his own craftsmanship. As a belle-lettrist, L‚vi-Strauss is more than passable. But his best insights come when he captures an outsider's perspective on his own heritage. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Descripción Basic Books, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0465068812
Descripción Basic Books, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110465068812
Descripción Basic Books. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0465068812 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.0174406
Descripción Basic Books, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0465068812