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Academic Paper


Title: Comparative Philology and a Novel by Karl Marx
Paper URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2029974
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://isid.academia.edu/DebaprasadBandyopadhyay
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; History of Linguistics
Abstract: If the Chomskian hypothesis of Universal Grammar is to be believed, there is no way to accept epiphenomenal genealogical classification based on the substantial arbitrary signs. One may also link the non-discursive political gaze, as Said did in his 1978 book, with the discursive formation of EL-centric 'genealogical' order of things. However, critical apprehension or negation of such discipline, strategically (not epistemologically) speaking, is too difficult even after the two revolutions in Linguistics (Saussure and Chomsky) or after Derrida’s critical attack (1998) to this discipline as a good number of scholars is still perceiving pre-figuration of linguistics in Philology and they brand it as something called "Historical Linguistics".

It is matter of wonder that, when the exponents of Comparative Philology like Jakob Grimm (1785-1863), Rasmus Rask (1787-1832), Franz Bopp (1791-1867), August Friedrich Pott (1802-1887) were reigning in Germany, Karl Marx developed a critical negation of this discipline. When Marx published his Book of Verse (1837), he included few chapters of his "humoristic" novel Scorpion and Felix as a supplement. This paper analyzes the discourse of the Chapter 21 (Philological Broodings, cf. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1837-pre/verse/verse41.htm) of this novel to understand the contemporary critique of this discipline at the time of its inception. Marx developed a parody-text of neo-grammarians' philological texts, i.e., he took the way of, what Derrida (1982) called as, 'double sessions/writings'—a strategy of repeating/mirroring the "original text" to reveal the internal non-coherence of the text. This paper re-reads this parody by repeating the parody in another representative form. However, this paper is not a parody-text as it is impossible to compose parody of parody-text—one cannot deconstruct parody and that is the failure of deconstructive strategy.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Kolkata, W.Bengal, India
Publication Info: Carnagor. Vol. I. (pp. 54-68). Dhaka, Kolkata, London, New York.
URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2029974


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