Russell Daylight

in What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641970
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671564 | DOI:

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This book is an examination of Jacques Derrida's interpretation of Ferdinand de Saussure, who gave three series of lectures on the topic of general linguistics at the University of Geneva between 1907 and 1911. Saussure's lectures arose from his dissatisfaction with the state of linguistics. Although largely ignored for five decades after its publication in 1916, the Course in General Linguistics became one of the most influential and divisive texts of twentieth-century humanities. And in the book's ninety-five-year history, there was no more influential and divisive reading than that of Derrida. If Saussure's name is now synonymous with structuralism and Derrida's with post-structuralism, then one could argue that the movement from one to the other is the most important of twentieth-century theory. This book explores Derrida's views on such topics as the self-present voice, the transcendental signified, the metaphysics of presence, the communication of pure signifieds, phono-logocentrism, the difference between différance and difference, communication and structure, the concept of the sign and Saussurean semiology.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; Ferdinand de Saussure; general linguistics; metaphysics; communication; structure; phono-logocentrism; semiology; transcendental signified; différance

Chapter.  7922 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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