The Great Dichotomy



Nothing in the history of literary studies is stranger than the great dichotomy that has grown up in the last 25 years: that between writers who for the most part have sought either to show that all meaning is indeterminate or to somehow disconnect linguistic meaning from extra-linguistic reality, and those who have labored to show how intended meanings are communicated with sufficient clarity and that such meanings are connected to a reality consisting of much more than language systems. The currents making up what is generally called poststructuralism have been the dominant ones, but during the same years that the greater part of the best-known theorists and a host of epigones have played variations on the principles of indeterminacy and infinite deferral of meaning, a significant number of theorists have devoted themselves to a variety of researches into what makes possible that communication the denial of which the poststructuralists seek constantly to communicate.


Intended Meaning Linguistic Meaning Illocutionary Force Linguistic Sign Authorial Intention 
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Copyright information

© Wendell V. Harris 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

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