Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) is widely recognized as the founder of twentieth-century language science. In his lifetime he published an important work on Indo-European philology but it was his Course in General Linguistics, published posthumously in 1916, that paved the way for a genuinely scientific theory of language based on a system of mutually defining entities. In addition to laying the foundations for many of the significant developments in modern linguistics, the implications of Saussure’s work have been far reaching across a broad range of disciplines beyond language studies; indeed, his projected science of signs effected a fundamental reconceptualization of our knowledge about all socially organized meaning systems and it has had a profound impact on, for example, the evolution of modern sociology, anthropology, film studies, and literary theory.
As serious work on Saussure’s thinking and influence continues to flourish, this long-awaited new title in Routledge’s Critical Assessments of Leading Linguists series meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of a vast scholarly literature. Edited by John E. Joseph, author of the first full-length and comprehensive biography of Saussure, this four-volume Major Work brings together the best and most influential English-language Saussurean secondary literature. (It also makes available in translation several key pieces originally published in languages other than English.)
The collection includes: work on Saussure’s precursors; comprehensive coverage of his linguistic theory, his key concepts, and their critical reception, especially in Europe and the USA; critiques of Saussure (including reassessments and refinements prompted by the unearthing in 1996 of a manuscript published as his Writings in General Linguistics); full coverage of Saussure’s ‘rediscovery’ in the 1960s and his significance in the rise of structuralism, as well as his influence on the broader poststructuralist approaches to inquiry in the human sciences that followed.
Ferdinand de Saussure is fully indexed and has a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and students as a vital one-stop research and pedagogic resource.
We Also Recommend