Chapter

Roots, Races, and the Return to Philology

Geoffrey Galt Harpham

in The Humanities and the Dream of America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226316970
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226317014 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226317014.003.0003
Roots, Races, and the Return to Philology

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Philology was understood in very different terms, not as an empirical study of a limited field but as a speculative undertaking oriented toward deep time and distant things. Philology became new or modern when it found a way to conjoin a limited empiricism to a speculative practice with no limits at all, when it discovered a route that led from the close study of the text to the language of the text, and from there to the author, the culture the author inhabited, other cultures, the origins of cultures, and finally to human origins and the mysteries surrounding those origins. Philology thus provided invaluable support to the theory of evolution. The effect of this collaboration was to create the appearance of a powerful scientific consensus around the proposition that the deepest mysteries of language and species were capable of being solved through the application of genealogy.

Keywords: philosophy; language; races; culture; evolution

Chapter.  12606 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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