Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism

Langue, out on parole [A]

Professor Călin Mihăilescu

Accomplished mechanisms of capture often dream of becoming carceral systems. So did language, after escaping the slaughterhouses of onto‐theology and of idealism (at least, according to Nietzsche and de Saussure). Become universal, langue covered much of the 20th century with the watershed of its schemata and turns, until, captive to and of itself, started attempting to get out. These attempts were as singular as the stuff universals are made of. “Langue out on parole” would define the present status of language in the age where the post’s are past, if it weren’t for the simulacral character of definitions. However, the singular provides not only the escape from language’s self‐trapping; it is also the locus where all other escapees converge, whether they come from grand‐theoretical, authoritarian or totalitarian systems.


This course, exercising with various shibboleths to freedom, takes up the theories of language from pre‐Babel on. Inane all‐inclusiveness gathers Indian material grammar and utopian languages (Adam, John Wilkins, Esperanto), zoo‐semiotics and Heidegger, Derrida and Chomsky, Wittgenstein, Port Royal and Lacan, Barthes and Quintilian, Aristotle and Plato and Mallarmé.


Click here for Syllabus