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Beyond Pure ReasonFerdinand de Saussure's Philosophy of Language and Its Early Romantic Antecedents$
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Boris Gasparov

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157803

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157803.001.0001

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Linguistics of Speech

Linguistics of Speech

An Unrealizable Promise?

(p.150) Seven Linguistics of Speech
Beyond Pure Reason

Boris Gasparov

Columbia University Press

This chapter first considers Saussure's uncertainly about the key issue on which the whole edifice of theoretical linguistics was supposed to rest: namely, the idea of la langue as a plethora of oppositive differentiations whose arbitrary hermeticism makes it “immutable.” It then turns to the points of coincidence between Saussure and Novalis' treatment of discourse, possibly due to the similarity of their fundamental premises concerning the sign, from which the theory of discourse ensued. It identifies the threads connecting Saussure to the early Romantics and discusses Saussure's confession regarding the froidissement he felt toward Homer after he discovered the pervasiveness of the anagrammatic texture in his epics.

Keywords:   linguistics, language, immutability, discourse theory, sign, Novalis, Ferdinand de Saussure, Homer, epics, anagram

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