Beyond Pure Reason: Ferdinand de Saussure's Philosophy of Language and Its Early Romantic…

Kobo ebook | September 25, 2012

byBoris Gasparov

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The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 1913) revolutionized the study of language, signs, and discourse in the twentieth century. He successfully reconstructed the proto-Indo-European vowel system, advanced a conception of language as a system of arbitrary signs made meaningful through kinetic interrelationships, and developed a theory of the anagram so profound it gave rise to poststructural literary criticism.

The roots of these disparate, even contradictory achievements lie in the thought of Early German Romanticism, which Saussure consulted for its insight into the nature of meaning and discourse. Launching the first comprehensive analysis of Saussure’s intellectual heritage, Boris Gasparov links Sassurean notions of cognition, language, and history to early Romantic theories of cognition and the transmission of cultural memory. Several fundamental categories of Saussure’s philosophy of language, such as the differential nature of language, the mutability and immutability of semiotic values, and the duality of the signifier and the signified, are rooted in early Romantic theories of progressive education” and child cognitive development. Consulting a wealth of sources only recently made available, Gasparov casts the seeming contradictions and paradoxes of Saussure’s work as a genuine tension between the desire to bring linguistics and semiotics in line with modernist epistemology on the one hand, and a Romantic” awareness of language’s dynamism and its transcendence of the boundaries of categorical reasoning on the other. Advancing a radical new understanding of Saussure, Gasparov reveals aspects of Saussure’s work previously overlooked by both his followers and his postmodern critics.

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The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 1913) revolutionized the study of language, signs, and discourse in the twentieth century. He successfully reconstructed the proto-Indo-European vowel system, advanced a conception of language as a system of arbitrary signs made meaningful through kinetic interrelationships, and developed ...

Boris Gasparov is professor of Russian, cochair and founder of the University Seminar on Romanticism, and a member of the Seminars on Linguistics and Slavic History and Culture at Columbia University. Educated in linguistics and musicology in Moscow in the 1960s, he completed his intellectual development in Tartu, Estonia, which at th...

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:September 25, 2012Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231504454

ISBN - 13:9780231504454

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Read the introduction "Saussure, 'Saussurism,' and 'Saussurology'" (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner):

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: Saussure, "Saussurism," and "Saussurology"
1. The Person
2. The Writings
3. Antinomies of the Sign
4. Fragmentation and Progressivity: Saussure's Semiotics in the Mirror of Early Romantic Epistemology
5. Diachrony and History
6. The Anagram
7. Linguistics of Speech: An Unrealizable Promise?
Conclusion: Freedom and Mystery -- the Peripathetic Nature of Language
Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

Rigorous, substantive, and superbly researched.... truly an excellent addition, and in some ways a corrective, to Saussurean scholarship.... Highly recommended.