The Tree of Meaning: Language, Mind, and Ecology

Front Cover
Counterpoint, 2008 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 329 pages
?Poems, where I come from,” writes Robert Bringhurst, ?are spoken to be written and written to be spoken. The Tree of Meaning is a book of critical prose composed in the same way.” Together these 13 lectures present a superbly grounded approach to the study of language, focusing on storytelling, mythology, comparative literature, humanity, and the breadth of oral culture. Spanning 10 years of lectures, The Tree of Meaning presents the best of Robert Bringhurst's thinking. The author's commitment to what he calls ?ecological linguistics” emerges in his striking studies of Native American art and storytelling, his understanding of poetry, and his championing of a universal conception of what constitutes literature. This collection features an in-depth look at Haida culture (including the work of storytellers Skaay and Ghandl, and artist Bill Reid), the process of translation, and the relationship between being and language.

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About the author (2008)

Robert Bringhurst was born October 16, 1946, in the ghetto of South Central Los Angeles and raised in the mountain and desert country of Alberta, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia. He spent ten years as an undergraduate, studying physics, architecture and linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, philosophy and oriental languages at the University of Utah, and comparative literature at Indiana University, which gave him a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. He had published two books of poems before entering the writing program at the University of British Columbia, which awarded him an MFA in 1975. From 1977 to 1980 he taught writing and English literature at UBC, and after that, made his living as a typographer. He has also been poet-in-residence and writer-in-residence at several universities in North America and Europe. His book, The Elements of Typographic Style is considered a standard text in its field, and Black Canoe is one of the classics in the field of Native American art history. He received the Macmillan Prize for Poetry in 1975.

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