Preface, a quote from Paul Metcalf, after David Kadlec, after Claude Levi-Strauss
David Kadlec, in an unpublished essay, describes the theory of bricolage, as developed by the French anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss: “Bricolage is distinguished from the work of the craftsman insofar as the materials used are those salvaged from the wreckage of previous constructions rather than materials designed specifically for the task at hand. Levi-Strauss views mythical thought, which draws from an extensive but limited repertoire, as a kind of intellectual bricolage. New myths can be wrought exclusively from the fragments of old ones.”
Fragments of old myths, old voices are caught up as they float to the surface. Original meanings may be lost or incomprehensible or conceived only in the abstract. But carefully and patiently put together in new relationships and in a current context, they are charged with new force.
In our multiethnic, multicultural, severely disjointed world, bricolage may be our most natural mode.