LINGUIST List 29.476

Mon Jan 29 2018

Books: The Tyranny of Writing: Weth, Juffermans (eds.)

Editor for this issue: Michael Czerniakowski <>

Date: 26-Jan-2018
From: Lianna Iwanikiw <>
Subject: The Tyranny of Writing: Weth, Juffermans (eds.)
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Title: The Tyranny of Writing
Subtitle: Ideologies of the Written Word
Series Title: Bloomsbury Advances in Sociolinguistics
Published: 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)

Book URL:

Editor: Constanze Weth
Editor: Kasper Juffermans
Electronic: ISBN: 9781474292443 Pages: 240 Price: U.K. £ 94.99 Comment: ePUB
Electronic: ISBN: 9781474292450 Pages: 240 Price: U.K. £ 94.99 Comment: ePDF
Hardback: ISBN: 9781474292467 Pages: 240 Price: U.K. £ 95.00

This book examines the powerful role of writing in society. The invention of writing, independently at various places and times in history, always stood at the cradle of powerful civilizations. It is impossible to imagine modern life without writing. As individuals and social groups we hold high expectations of its potential for societal and personal development. Globally, huge resources have been and are being invested in promoting literacy worldwide. So what could possibly be tyrannical about writing?

The title is inspired by Ferdinand de Saussure's argument against writing as an object of linguistic research and what he called 'la tyrannie de la lettre.' His critique denounced writing as an imperfect, distorted image of speech that obscures our view of language and its structure. The chapters of the book, written by experts in language and literacy studies, go beyond this and explore tyrannical aspects of writing in society through history and around the world: from Medieval Novgorod, the European Renaissance and 19th-century France and Germany over colonial Sudan to postcolonial Sri Lanka and Senegal and present-day Hong Kong and Central China to the Netherlands and Spain. The metaphor of 'tyranny of writing' serves as a heuristic for exploring ideologies of language and literacy in culture and society and tensions and contradictions between the written and the spoken word.

Linguistic Field(s): Philosophy of Language

Written In: English (eng)

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---------------------------------- Publishing Partner ----------------------------------
Cambridge University Press

----------------------------- Major Supporting Publishers -----------------------------
Akademie Verlag GmbH
Bloomsbury Linguistics (formerly Continuum Linguistics)
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cascadilla Press
Classiques Garnier
De Gruyter Mouton
Edinburgh University Press
Elsevier Ltd
Equinox Publishing Ltd
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
Georgetown University Press
John Benjamins
Lincom GmbH
MIT Press
Multilingual Matters
Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Peter Lang AG
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
University of Toronto Press

--------------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ---------------------------
Association of Editors of the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
International Pragmatics Assoc.
Linguistic Association of Finland
Morgan & Claypool Publishers
Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
Seoul National University
SIL International Publications
Universitat Jaume I
University of Nebraska Press
Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 29-Jan-2018