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The Jealous Potter

Translated by Bénédicte Chorier
As Lévi-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. Lévi-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 Bénédicte Chorier."—Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, New York Times Book Review

260 pages | 1 color plate, 11 halftones | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1988

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Native American Studies

Table of Contents

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

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