By Umberto Eco
The concept that there as soon as existed a language which completely and unambiguously expressed the essence of all attainable issues and ideas has occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, mystics and others for no less than millennia. this is often an research into the background of that concept and of its profound impact on ecu concept, tradition and background.
From the early darkish a long time to the Renaissance it was once broadly believed that the language spoken within the backyard of Eden used to be simply this kind of language, and that every one present languages have been its decadent descendants from the disaster of the autumn and at Babel. The restoration of that language may, for theologians, exhibit the character of divinity, for cabbalists permit entry to hidden wisdom and tool, and for philosophers demonstrate the character of fact. types of those principles remained present within the Enlightenment, and feature lately acquired clean impetus in makes an attempt to create a average language for synthetic intelligence.
The tale that Umberto Eco tells levels broadly from the writings of Augustine, Dante, Descartes and Rousseau, arcane treatises on cabbalism and magic, to the background of the learn of language and its origins. He demonstrates the initimate relation among language and identification and describes, for instance, how and why the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes - certainly one of whom offered God conversing in Swedish to Adam, who answered in Danish, whereas the serpent tempted Eve in French - have variously claimed their language as closest to the unique. He additionally indicates how the past due eighteenth-century discovery of a proto-language (Indo-European) for the Aryan peoples used to be perverted to help notions of racial superiority.
To this refined exposition of a background of notable complexity, Umberto Eco hyperlinks the linked background of the way within which the sounds of language and ideas were written and symbolized. Lucidly and wittily written, the publication is, in sum, a tour de force of scholarly detection and cultural interpretation, offering a sequence of unique views on thousand years of eu History.
The paperback version of this ebook isn't on hand via Blackwell outdoors of North America.