History in flesh and blood: The life and intellectual development of Ferdinand de Saussure

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Saussure’s thought straddles the line between textual authority and biography, a line that is blurry at the best of times. He himself was so scrupulous that he might have looked askance at our taking seriously anything other than the work he chose to publish and saw through publication, which does not include the book that made him posthumously famous, the Cours de linguistique générale. That at least was grounded in material he presented publicly, unlike most of what is contained in Saussure (2003) and other manuscript material that he never put into final form. This article surveys five points on which learning things about Saussure’s life has deepened our understanding of his linguistic thought, not just about the “Why did he?” questions, but also the equally important “Why didn’t he?” ones. It lays out a methodology and an ethics that make it possible for biographical and intellectual analysis of linguistic ideas to form a seamless whole
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpérience et avenir du structuralisme
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9788087269541, 9788087269565
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameTravaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague: Nouvelle série
ISSN (Print)1383-7583


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