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

Boris Gasparov


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 meanin ... More

Keywords: Swiss linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure, proto-Indo-European vowel system, poststructural literary criticism, Early German Romanticism, progressive cognition, cultural memory, philosophy of language

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780231157803
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231157803.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Boris Gasparov, author