Saussure and His Interpreters
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Saussure and His Interpreters

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This book is the first major reassessment of the reception of Saussure's ideas throughout the twentieth century. That Saussure's work profoundly influenced developments in such diverse fields as linguistics, anthropology, psychology and literary studies is denied by no one. But what exactly Saussure's views were taken to be by his interpreters has not hitherto been subject to any comprehensive critical survey. How well were Saussure's ideas understood by those who took them up? Or how badly misunderstood? And why? The answers to these questions address central issues in the history of Western culture. Each chapter focuses on one particular interpreter of Saussure's work, but many others are mentioned in context for purposes of comparison, and attention is drawn to connections and disparities between their interpretations. Those whose interpretations are examined in detail include Bloomfield, Hjelmslev, Jakobson, Levi-Strauss, Chomsky, Barthes and Derrida.
Features: * The author is acknowledged as an expert on Saussure's work * This is the first study of the reception of Saussure's ideas, and how well they were understood by those who took them up * The work of Saussure is a landmark in the history of linguistic thought
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 24mm | 573g
  • EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0748613080
  • 9780748613083

Review quote

In the same way that most people have access to a canonised version of a religious text, so it is with Cours de Linguistique Generale; however, the interpreters, to call them that, each impose their own perspective. Harris describes this process wonderfully - his chronological presentation allows the reader to follow the evolution of images receuved from de Saussure 'Harris demonstrates with his customary academic rigour and stylistic panache that you can't talk or write about art, science or history without also havig a theory of language! Harris's wickedly subversive account of comparative philology is an intellectual tour de force. This readable and witty book is nothing less than a landmark for anyone interested in the history of ideas, the study of language and the problem of knowledge formation in interdisciplinary research. -- Language and Literature 'Harris demonstrates with his customary academic rigour and stylistic panache that you can't talk or write about art, science or history without also havig a theory of language! Harris's wickedly subversive account of comparative philology is an intellectual tour de force.' - The use of English, vol 58, no 1, Autumn 2006 In the same way that most people have access to a canonised version of a religious text, so it is with Cours de Linguistique Generale; however, the interpreters, to call them that, each impose their own perspective. Harris describes this process wonderfully - his chronological presentation allows the reader to follow the evolution of images receuved from de Saussure 'Harris demonstrates with his customary academic rigour and stylistic panache that you can't talk or write about art, science or history without also havig a theory of language! Harris's wickedly subversive account of comparative philology is an intellectual tour de force. This readable and witty book is nothing less than a landmark for anyone interested in the history of ideas, the study of language and the problem of knowledge formation in interdisciplinary research. 'Harris demonstrates with his customary academic rigour and stylistic panache that you can't talk or write about art, science or history without also havig a theory of language! Harris's wickedly subversive account of comparative philology is an intellectual tour de force.' - The use of English, vol 58, no 1, Autumn 2006
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About Professor Roy Harris

Roy Harris is Emeritus Professor of General Linguistics in the University of Oxford. His prize-winning translation of Saussure's Cours de Linguistique Generale appeared in 1983. He is also the author of many publications on the work of Saussure.
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