The logical and semiotic status of the canonic formula of myth

The logical and semiotic status of the canonic formula of myth Introduction The present article is devoted to a systematic study of the canonic formula of myth, introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss (1955) without too many comments, in the context of a discussion concerning the Oedipus myth and some Zuni Indian myths. For a long period, this formula did not attract the attention of other authors (or, if not ignored, 'accueillie par des haussements d'epaules' (Levi-Strauss 1991: 140). Even Levi-Strauss gave the impression of having forgotten it. However, he tells us (LeviStrauss 1967, 1971) that he never ceased to be guided by this formula. The first detailed discussion of its possible interpretations appeared in Maranda and Maranda (1971), where a great number of applications of the formula are given to both mythical and non-mythical narratives, and a typology of narrative works is proposed, where the highest level of the hierarchy corresponds to just the situation described by Levi-Strauss's formula. In the last two decades, the references to this formula via the Marandas' book became frequent; many of these works are concerned with its relevance beyond the field of myths. If, for Levi-Strauss, the canonic formula is related to a paradigmatic reading of a whole class of related myths, including a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique de Gruyter

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN
0037-1998
eISSN
1613-3692
DOI
10.1515/semi.1997.116.2-4.115
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Introduction The present article is devoted to a systematic study of the canonic formula of myth, introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss (1955) without too many comments, in the context of a discussion concerning the Oedipus myth and some Zuni Indian myths. For a long period, this formula did not attract the attention of other authors (or, if not ignored, 'accueillie par des haussements d'epaules' (Levi-Strauss 1991: 140). Even Levi-Strauss gave the impression of having forgotten it. However, he tells us (LeviStrauss 1967, 1971) that he never ceased to be guided by this formula. The first detailed discussion of its possible interpretations appeared in Maranda and Maranda (1971), where a great number of applications of the formula are given to both mythical and non-mythical narratives, and a typology of narrative works is proposed, where the highest level of the hierarchy corresponds to just the situation described by Levi-Strauss's formula. In the last two decades, the references to this formula via the Marandas' book became frequent; many of these works are concerned with its relevance beyond the field of myths. If, for Levi-Strauss, the canonic formula is related to a paradigmatic reading of a whole class of related myths, including a

Journal

Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotiquede Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1997

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