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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Re: The Topic
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0998  Tuesday, 9 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 May 2000 19:37:39 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0984 Re: The Topic

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 May 2000 20:03:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0984 Re: The Topic


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Monday, 8 May 2000 19:37:39 +0100
Subject: 11.0984 Re: The Topic
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0984 Re: The Topic

John Lee writes

> . . . while a constitutive notion of language is commonplace and
> has a long history, Saussure does not provide particularly good
> grounds for arguing it.

I don't think we disagree. I argued that the liberal defence of free
speech as a absolute betrayed a failure to grasp the "post-Saussurian
linguistics' principle that language is not an innocent window on the
world; it is itself performative". You appear to be antedating that
principle. Fair enough, and all the worse for the liberal position.

> I wonder, however, whether Gabriel Egan's strong and easy
> speeches on various topics sit all that happily with his theoretical
> beliefs about the performative nature of language.

I'm happy to be labeled a "strong" speaker, but "easy" hurts a little if
you mean by it lacking in precision or indeed accuracy.  However, since
Kevin De Ornellas found me out of date concerning modifications to the
"Flags and Emblems Act" I cannot complain. My withers have been wrung.

I don't see the contradiction you are implying, John. Surely, if
speaking really does change reality, rather than merely footnoting it,
then it's all the more important to say that everyday normality (naked
women displayed on newstands, Catholics fleeing Belfast on 12 July, and
oil companies killing their opponents in Africa) is adrift from the
publicly-avowed principles of western democracy. One might then set to
work on problematizing those principles too.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Monday, 8 May 2000 20:03:59 -0400
Subject: 11.0984 Re: The Topic
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0984 Re: The Topic

Every course I ever took in contemporary literary theory began with
Saussure.  He does represent a milestone in the development of the
"science" of linguistics.  His theories were not offered as current, but
as the starting point, the reactions to which created the schools of
structuralism and semiotics in Russia, Prague and France.  The reactions
to these resulted in post-structuralism, so post-Saussurian can mean
structuralist/post-structuralist.

Clifford Stetner
 

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