Saturday, December 4, 2010

Aimless Reading: The L's, Part 13 (Claude Lévi-Strauss)

The Jealous Potter
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Lévi-Strauss, Claude
The Jealous Potter

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books. I bought this a long time ago. I think it was toward the beginning of grad school, so probably 1998 or 9.

I think I just bought it at random because I'd been hearing Lévi-Strauss's name bandied about in seminars and in a a lot of the theory I was reading at the time. I don't recall whether I read it all or not. I feel like I read a few chapters and then moved on to something else.

It's hard to remember a lot of the reading I did in grad school because I was constantly reading five books at the same time, rarely finishing any of them. That's changed quite a bit, but mostly because my reading habits have changed.

For the past five years, most of my reading has been fiction, which I tend to read cover to cover, unless I get bored. Prior to that, for probably ten years, I read poetry and philosophy almost exclusively. I still do read lots of poetry, but the philosophy reading has been on the wane.

This probably has to do with the fact that most of my reading occurs late at night, just before bed, which is about the worst time in the world to read philosophy. Philosophy is best read after the first four or five cups of coffee, mid-morning, for about sixty minutes, followed by some light exercise, a hearty meal and a nap.

from The Jealous Potter

Returning by ship from the United States in 1947, I sometimes conversed on the promenade deck with a French orchestra conductor who had just given a series of concerts in New York. One day he told me that in the course of his career he had observed that the personality of a musician is often in harmony with the one evoked by the timbre and technique of his instrument; to get along well with his orchestra, a conductor has to take that into account. Thus, he added, in whatever country he might be, he could expect the oboist to be prim and touchy the trombonist to be expansive, jovial, and good-natured.

I am always struck by statements that establish a link between realms otherwise unlikely to be associated. Popular though has always strived to discover such analogies--a mental activity in which we will recognize the impulse of myth creation.

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