‘The Sleeping Beauty’ And Other Tales: The Deep Structure Of Magical Myths

Evening class

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Chris Knight

‘The Sleeping Beauty’ And Other Tales: The Deep Structure Of Magical Myths

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 18:45

The French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss was the first to discover that the world's magical myths and fairy tales all express the same underlying logic. Across all six continents, they are ultimately a single anonymous voice, 'One Myth Only', or so many variations on a theme. Rather as astronomers can still detect an echo of the Big Bang with which the universe began, so by listening to these myths we can detect an echo of the momentous events in which human language and culture were born. When Levi-Strauss' insights are applied to a familiar fairy story from the Brothers Grimm, the picture which emerges is breathtaking.

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Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Chris Knight

Australian Aboriginal Myths Of The Origins Of Fire
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Across Australia, Aboriginal myths say that during the Dreamtime, women held fire in their vaginas, hiding their firesticks whenever a man approached. The myths go on to say that one day, a male hero stole fire from women and handed it over to men. In this workshop, a number of different versions of the myth will be analyzed using the techniques developed by the founder of structural anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss. We will explore whether such myths help us to reconstruct changes in gender relations across Australia in the distant past.