Dina Lévi-Strauss

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    No European can disembark for the first time in Rio without being exposed to the perils of such well-being. Even Lévi-Strauss only just managed to escape it. This future academician from the quays of the Seine where, since the days of Brazilian New Holland, France has fastidiously preserved its cultural treasures—artists, moralists, writers, architects, politicians, etc.—once they have dried up, this young Parisian ethnographer who had come to Brazil to gather raw material for his books—undocumented codes of marriage, lists of clan names, etc.—had no other destination than the Compagnie des Transports Maritimes liners, to which he hastened to return after docking in the New World for the first time in Rio de Janeiro, where there was nothing to see but a sort of museum of old-fashioned French provincial or working-class Parisian urbanism: Nice or Biarritz at the end of the nineteenth century, Neuilly, Saint-Denis, or Le Bourget at the beginning of the twentieth. Travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Santos, the coastline would have been close enough for him to have been able to spot, on the crestline of the coastal mountain range, the tracks that brought gold from Minas, Ubatuba, Parati, São Sebastião, and the improbable beaches of Barra do Sai and Camburi at the foot of the Serra…all to no avail.…