V. N. Vološinov’s important work, first published in Russian in 1929, had to wait a generation for recognition. This first paperback edition of the English translation will be capital for literary theorists, philosophers, linguists, psychologists, and many others.
Vološinov is out to undo the old disciplinary boundaries between linguistics, rhetoric, and poetics in order to construct a new kind of field: semiotics or textual theory. Ladislav Matejka and I. R. Titunik have provided a new preface to discuss Vološinov in relation to the great resurgence of interest in all the writing of the circle of Mikhail Bakhtin.
Quite simply one of the best general introductions to linguistics study as a whole.
This book is a masterpiece of theoretical thought. It anticipates the actual achievements of much of what we now call sociolinguistics. The ‘dialectic of the sign’ and of the verbal sign in particular as it is presented in the book acquires great suggestive value in the light of today’s debates about semiotics.
In this one book a reader can discover the ideas of Bakhtin and his circle about language, not as a conceptual metaphor, but as that aspect of human life which is in fact the subject matter of a cumulative science. Its critical account of the state of linguistic thought in the first decades of the century is all that a sociological or Marxist critique can and should be: not a stereotyped application of received categories, but an attempt to think through from the foundation the consequence of taking social interaction; not the abstract individual speaker, as starting point… The empirical consequences developed in the course of the book…are just as valuable today as ever… Brilliant.
This is, in my opinion, the central corpus in the work of the Russian semiotic tradition attributed to Bakhtin’s circle.
- 224 pages
- 5-3/4 x 8-7/8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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