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Echolalias
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Daniel Heller-Roazen has written a magical and learned story of language. Here the life and death and never-ending mutability of languages, the babbling lost in the interstices of speech, the history of typographical marks, the mysteries of animal sounds and speech disorders, forgotten tongues and mother tongues, linguistic paradoxes and tragedies all acquire a brilliant and Ovidian intensity. -- Susan Stewart, author of Columbarium and Poetry and the Fate of the Senses If there ever was a book like this one, I cannot remember it. Heller-Roazen's gorgeous prose strings together beads of dazzling example into a necklace of allusion. When have such important philosophical and philological arguments about the nature of language and such trenchant critiques been made with such graceful learning? With each turn of the page we pass from amnesia to anamnesis and back again. When we come to the end we awaken, like Circe's pigs, filled with regret that that adventure is over, but filled with a new wonder about human language, from its most humble letters to the heights of poetry. If you read this book, you will not easily forget it. -- David Nirenberg, author of Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages Reading Daniel Heller-Roazen's book is an extraordinary intellectual adventure. Vertiginous landscapes of learning open up at every moment, but the writing never loses its aphoristic edge. Much is said and even more is suggested. This book rebuilds whole worlds from the ravages of loss and forgetting, and also discreetly teaches us that there are no worlds that loss and forgetting do not beset. -- Michael Wood, author of The Road to Delphi Daniel Heller-Roazen has written a magical and learned story of language. Here the life and death and never-ending mutability of languages the babbling lost in the interstices of speech the history of typographical marks the mysteries of animal sounds and speech disorders forgotten tongues and mother tongues linguistic paradoxes and tragedies all acquire a brilliant and Ovidian intensity. -- Susan Stewart, author of Columbarium and Poetry and the Fate of the Senses

About the Author

Daniel Heller-Roazen is the Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature and the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. He is the author of Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language, The Inner Touch: Archaeology of a Sensation, The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations, and The Fifth Hammer: Pythagoras and the Disharmony of the World, all published by Zone Books.

Reviews

This is a superb book. It combines erudition of the subtlest kind with literary finesse. We read it with pleasure and intellectual gain. And it truly makes us think - about the act of speaking, about the languages, about poets. Books don't come any better than this. -Jurgen Trabant, Suddeutsche Zeitung
Heller-Roazen blends tremendous erudition in a new form, citing the Talmud, the pre-Islamic poets, Dante, Spinoza, and Elias Canetti with the same acuity and playfulness. He succeeds in making a gesture all too rare today: a philosophical gesture, whose center is the questioning of language. -Lila Azam Zanganeh, LE MONDE
Echolalias is a rare find a book about language where the language itself steers a course between the scholarly and the poetic. Difficult, erudite, and full of luminous parables, it is worth multiple readings. -nth position
In short, I highly recommend Echolalias to the writer, the codeworker, the critic, anyone who works with language, who participates in the assumptions of language. It is brilliantly written, moves subtlety between cases, anecdotes, and cultural histories-through theoretical considerations-while remaining close to the bone. -Alan Sondheim, American Book Review
This thought-provoking book contains a memorable aphorism by Kafka that could stand as its epigraph: 'I can swim just like the others. Only I have a better memory than the others. I have not forgotten the former inability to swim. But since I have not forgotten it, being able to swim is of no help to me; and so, after all, I cannot swim.' -London Review of Books

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