Patrick Wilcken

Vowels of Anguish

Saussure

By

Oxford University Press 740pp £30 order from our bookshop
 

Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, who died at the age of fifty-five on the eve of the First World War, went on to have a profound impact on twentieth-century thought. More cited than actually understood, he inspired a modernist turn in the humanities in the middle of the century, when variants of structuralism spread through anthropology, literary theory, psychoanalysis and beyond. Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics – the lecture series he gave towards the end of his life – became a touchstone in an era in which linguistic theory was exported into models of culture, the unconscious and literary discourse.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter