The City of Words (CBC Massey Lecture) - download pdf or read online

By Alberto Manguel

ISBN-10: 0887847633

ISBN-13: 9780887847639

The tip of ethnic nationalism — construction societies that advertise civic nationalism with universally approved price structures — turns out eminently good. yet whatever goes unsuitable. In those 2007 Massey Lectures, Alberto Manguel takes a clean examine the issues that include developing new societies. Race riots in France, political homicide within the Netherlands, bombings in Britain — all seem to be indicators of a multicultural scan long past awry. Politicians and sociologists are questioned; why is it so not easy for individuals to stay jointly given the bleak possible choices? Is blood nonetheless extra very important than peaceable coexistence? In The urban of Words Manguel proposes a special procedure: examine what writers need to say — possibly books and tales carry mystery keys to the human middle, keys that social planners can’t locate. together with his trademark wit and erudition, Manguel indicates depending on the library shelf marked “fiction” for the publication titled How to construct a greater Society.

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Not every element in Parry’s plenary vision was entirely new. The fundamental axiom governing his thought from the early ORALITYAND LITERACY 21 1920s on, ‘the dependence of the choice of words and word-forms on the shape of the [orally composed] hexameter line’ in the Homeric poems (Adam Parry 1971, p. E. Düntzer. Other elements in Parry’s germinal insight had also been anticipated. Murko had recognized the absence of exact verbatim memory in oral poetry of such cultures. More importantly, Marcel Jousse, the Jesuit priest and scholar, who had been reared in a residually oral peasant milieu in France and who spent most of his adult life in the Middle East soaking up its oral culture, had sharply differentiated the oral composition in such cultures from all written composition.

Narrative originality lodges not in making up new stories but in managing a particular interaction with this audience at this time— at every telling the story has to be introduced uniquely into a unique situation, for in oral cultures an audience must be brought to respond, often vigorously. But narrators also introduce new elements into old stories (Goody 1977, pp. 2 9–30). In oral tradition, there will be as many minor variants of a myth as there are repetitions of it, and the number of repetitions can be increased indefinitely.

We often reduce motion to a series of still shots the better to see what motion is. There is no equivalent of a still shot for sound. An oscillogram is silent. It lies outside the sound world. For anyone who has a sense of what words are in a primary oral culture, or a culture not far removed from primary orality, it is not surprising that the Hebrew term dabar means ‘word’ and ‘event’. Malinowski (1923, pp. 45 1, 470–81) has made the point that among ‘primitive’ (oral) peoples generally language is a mode of action and not simply a countersign of thought, though he had trouble explaining what he was getting at (Sampson 1980, pp.

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The City of Words (CBC Massey Lecture) by Alberto Manguel


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