Rational Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words and Supplementary Essays

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University of Virginia Press, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 598 pages
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Existing only in manuscript since the 1940s but enjoying an underground reputation among friends and advocates, this primary document by one of the most original and influential of American poets and thinkers is now being published as Rational Meaning, Laura (Riding) Jackson's testament of the necessity of living for truth. Begun as a dictionary and thesaurus in the 1930s, the work developed into a fundamental reevaluation of language itself. Riding, in close collaboration with her husband, continued this monumental project over the succeeding decades, completing it after his death in 1968. At the core of Rational Meaning, which aims to restore the truth of language by arguing that meaning inheres in words, stands the idea that a total renovation of the knowledge of language is needed, not to develop mere verbal sophistication and respectability but fundamentally to reinvigorate the intellectual processes of consciousness. The book reveals the disastrous extent to which language has been "unlearned" and shows how it may be learned again. Rational Meaning will be essential reading, not only for students of literature but for radical-minded linguists and lexicographers unhappy with the orthodoxies current in their disciplines.

 

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Contents

Foreword
7
First Preface
13
Prospectus
39
Chapter 1 Introductory Explanations
45
The Personal Background
52
Chapter 3 A Comparison of Objectives
61
PART 2
75
PART 3
117
The Topography
309
The Continuum
329
Chapter 18 Truth
348
PART?
377
Chapter 20 Words and Things
396
Chapter 21 The Grand Difficulty
424
Notes
445
Dr Gove and the Future of English Dictionaries
473

ChapterS Language and Linguistics
129
Chapter 9 Philosophy and Language
148
Conclusion
168
PART 4
175
Chapter 11 The Knowledge of Meanings
203
Chapter 12 The Scope of Definition
221
Chapter 13 Words and Terms
243
Chapter 14 The Words Miscalled Synonyms
265
Chapter 15 The Rationale of Terms
283
The Externalistic View of Language
487
Mathematics As an Intellectual MasterMethod
496
The Matter of Metaphor
506
Create in Modern Usage
514
The Physical Aspects of Words
521
The New Grammar
528
Contemporary FashionPlate Intellectual Gab
564
For Colophon
577
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Jackson is a writer who specializes in the lives of top performers. She lives in Morayshire, Scotland, with her husband and son.

WILLIAM HARMON is James Gordon Hanes Professor of the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of five books of poetry and editor of "A Handbook to Literature". His most recent poetry has appeared in "Blink" and "Light".

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