The Raw and the Cooked

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The Raw and the Cooked
The Raw and the Cooked (French edition).jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorClaude Lévi-Strauss
Original titleLe Cru et le cuit
TranslatorJohn and Doreen Weightman
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages402 pp.

The Raw and the Cooked (1964) is the first volume from Mythologiques, a structural study of Amerindian mythology written by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. It was originally published in French as Le Cru et le Cuit.[1] Although the book is part of a larger volume, Lévi-Strauss writes that it may be appreciated on its own merits, stating that he does not consider this first volume a beginning "since it would have developed along similar lines if it had had a different starting point".[2]

In the introduction, Lévi-Strauss writes of his confidence that "certain categorical opposites drawn from everyday experience with the most basic sorts of things — e.g. 'raw' and 'cooked,' 'fresh' and 'rotten,' 'moist' and 'parched,' and others — can serve a people as conceptual tools for the formation of abstract notions and for combining these into propositions." Beginning with a Bororo myth, Lévi-Strauss analyses 187 myths, reconstructing sociocultural formations using binary oppositions based on sensory qualities.[3] The work thus presents an adaptation of Ferdinand de Saussure's theories of structural linguistics applied to a different field.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The English translation of the title Le Cru et le Cuit is not incorrect, but it is perhaps incomplete. "Cuit" in French does not necessarily mean "cooked", but is also used to denote "done" or "prepared", which is not necessarily obtained by cooking. In this case, Strauss' use of cuit implies what culture and society do to the raw and make it 'done' or 'cooked'.
  2. ^ Maquet, Jacques. Rev. of The Raw and the Cooked: Introduction to a Science of Mythology. Vol. 1, by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Technology and Culture 11.4 (1970): 613-15.
  3. ^ Makaryk, Irena R. (1993). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory: Approaches, Scholars, Terms. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 200, 404. ISBN 978-0-8020-6860-6.
  4. ^ Brenner, Art. "The Structuralism of Claude Levi-Strauss and the Visual Arts." Leonardo 10.4 (1977): 303-06.