First published in 1990, this book argues that any theory of language constructs its ‘object’ by separating ‘relevant’ from ‘irrelevant’ phenomena — excluding the latter. This leaves a ‘remainder’ which consists of the untidy, creative part of how language is used — the essence of poetry and metaphor. Although this remainder can never be completely formalised, it must be fully recognised by any true account of language and thus this book attempts the first ‘theory of the remainder’. As such, whether it is language or the speaker who speaks is dealt with, leading to an analysis of how all speakers are ‘violently’ constrained in their use of language by social and psychological realties.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; A letter The linguist tries The linguist fails The reminder; 1 Linguistics and the Remainder; A corpus of texts Inferences from the corpus Non-Saussurean linguistics? A first approach to the remainder: L’Amour de la langue A second approach to the remainder: A Thousand Plateaux The Courbet view of language; 2 The Rag-Bag; Gathering the rag-bag The remainder as excess Multiple analysis, or Brissetizing language False synthesis, or Wolfsonizing language Overview conclusion; 3 A Theory of the Remainder; Language speaks, I speak language Die Sprache spricht and codice di avviamento fantastico Rules for the remainder? The remainder, the dictionary, and the encyclopedia; 4 Metaphor; Hints about metaphor Metaphor and the remainder Two poems The effect of metaphor Metaphor and sense; 5 Corruption; Corruption Etymology Linguistic conjuncture Linguistic intervention Corruption revisited: Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker Flowers; 6 The Violence of Language; The non-autonomy of language The material violence of language: language and the body The social violence of language :anguage, truth, and fiction; Conclusion; Index
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