Shortlist year: 
2011
Shortlist category: 
Non-fiction
Published by: 
Bloomsbury Publishing

About the book

Bookcover: Claude Levi-Strauss: the poet in the laboratory, Patrick Wilcken, 2011.

Claude Lévi-Strauss was one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century. Dislodging Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir from the pinnacle of French intellectual life in the 1950s, he brought about a sea change in Western thought and inspired a generation of thinkers and writers, including Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan with his structuralist theories. Tracing the evolution of his ideas through interviews with the man himself, research into his archives and conversations with contemporary anthropologists, Wilcken explores and explains Lévi-Strauss's theories, revealing an artiste manqué who infused his academic writing with an artistic and poetic sensibility.