The death of writing – if James Joyce were alive today he’d be working for Google

This leads him to write of a fatal “double bind” afflicting anthropology: the very “purity” it craves is no more than a state in which all frames of comprehension, of interpretation or analysis, are lacking; once these frames are brought to bear, the mystery that drew the anthropologist towards his subject evaporates. Meeting a tribe that doesn’t know what writing is, and seeing the tribe’s chief borrow his pen and scribble on a sheet in order to dupe his subjects into thinking that he is versed in this activity, Lévi-Strauss realises that his own writing is itself no more than a form of duping – not just of readers but of himself too, carrying meaning to the point of ambiguity again and again in a bid to generate the very type of mystery on which it thrives.

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