The Terror of Ferdinand de Saussure

Suspense
Fiction


Earl
Jackson, Jr.


Another Scene

talkingcure2000@aol.com 

From

Ferdinand
de Saussure’s


Notebooks
torn
page
torn
page
:


absolutely
incomprehensible if I were not forced to confess that I suffer from a morbid
horror of the pen, and that this work is for me an experience of sheer
torture, quite out of proportion to its relative unimportance.

In
the case of linguistics, the torture is increased for me by the fact that
the more simple and obvious a theory may be, the more difficult it is to
express it simply, because I state as a fact that there is not one single
term in this particular science
which has ever been based on a simple idea, and that this being so, one
is tempted five or six times between the beginning and the end of a sentence
to rewrite.
o““„one
is tempted five or six times between the beginning and the end of a sentence
to rewrite
.“
Between
1907 and 1911 Ferdinand de Saussure
wrote the lecture notes that would posthumously become Course
in General Linguistics
through the editorial diligence of de Saussure’s
graduate students. But between 1906 and 1909 de Saussure filled over 100
notebooks with his studies of anagrams he perceived hidden
within
classical poetry, anagrams he considered the generative principle
of the poetry
itself
. Saussure never attempted to publish these writings, and in
fact these notebooks were not
discovered
until the 1970s. There are other interesting fragments there,
including
fragmentary notes
from what appears to have been a very intensive study
of the Nibelungenlied.The
fragments I include here can be found in Jean Starobinski, Words upon
Words
. trans. Olive Emmett (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979)
 

Terrors
of
Promises 
of
linguistics the
sign

j

Suspense
Fiction


Earl
Jackson, Jr.


Another
Scene


talkingcure2000@aol.com