Winter 1962 • Vol. XXIV No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1962 |

Which May Never Have Existed

Tristes Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Translated by John Russell. Criterion Books. $12.50. "A world on the wane"—this is the title of the British edition, and a gloomy phrase it is. The American edition keeps the original tide, "Tristes Tropiques," which is less extreme but also puzzling. Why are the tropics sad; what world is on the wane? The opening sentence of the book is strange as well. "Travel and traveling are two things I loathe—and yet here I am, all set to tell the story of my expeditions." No travel book can afford to be quite so frank, and indeed it is not really a travel book. Nor is it an autobiography. If one is to set off on the right foot, the words to look for in the above sentence are "and yet," because worlds of meaning are to come out of them. In the beginning it is difficult to see this: Professor Lévi-Strauss, in telling us the story of his expeditions and as much of his life as is useful, seems to be like some willful knight on a chessboard,

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The Dungeon of the Novel

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Tristes Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Translated by John Russell. Criterion Books. $12.50. "A world on the wane"—this is the title of the British edition, and a gloomy phrase it is. […]

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