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4 The Anxiety of Vernacularization: Shem Tov ben Isaac ibn Ardutiel de Carrión’s Proverbios morales and Debate between the Pen and the Scissors

David A. Wacks Indiana University Press ePub

Diasporic communities construct their identity in different ways, and language choice plays a large role in determining the boundaries among, as well as the relationships with, the hostland, the homeland, and the diverse communities of the larger diaspora.1 We have seen how Sephardic writers mediated between the classical literary languages of the hostland (Arabic) and the homeland (Hebrew) and their participation in the development of a literary vernacular, especially at the court of Alfonso X of Castile-León. In this chapter I will address what happens when a Sephardic author steps into the literary limelight of the hostland, writing in the literary register of the vernacular that is common to both diasporic minority and dominant majority. Shem Tov ben Isaac Ardutiel (Sem Tob or Santób in Castilian) is a key figure in this discussion because he wrote significant original secular literary works in both Castilian and Hebrew. In this aspect he is perhaps unique in medieval Iberia, and the relationship between his Proverbios morales (Moral Proverbs; Proverbios hereafter) and Vikuah ha-‘et ve-ha-misparayim (Debate between the Pen and the Scissors; Debate hereafter) tells us much about the significance of language choice in diaspora.

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37. Without Bounds

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

I desire to speak somewhere without bounds. (218)

This mysterious remark, appearing in Walden’s great “Conclusion,” evokes Thoreau’s regular employment as the village surveyor. His book seems designed to enable our own staking out of things, coming complete with tools (compasses, rulers, dividers) and measurements: the number of rods separating Thoreau’s cabin from the railroad tracks, the exact distance from his site to Concord, the width and depth of the pond, the acreage of neighboring farms and lakes. In “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,” Thoreau makes punning use of his occupation by declaring “I have thus surveyed the country on every side within a dozen miles of where I live,” including, in yet another pun, “each farmer’s premises” (58). Quoting Cowper’s “Verses Supposed to Be Written by Alexander Selkirk” (Defoe’s model for Robinson Crusoe), Thoreau even supplies his own italics: “I am monarch of all I survey” (59).

Since Thoreau so often earned his living by marking his neighbors’ property lines, what are we to make of his “desire to speak somewhere without bounds”? The wish resembles another Thoreauvian longing, also characteristically expressed in spatial terms: “I love a broad margin to my life” (79). The two remarks remind us that Thoreau seemed to experience almost every kind of externally imposed rule, custom, or schedule as an occasion for claustrophobia. In Emerson’s words, “He was a protestant à l’outrance.” Some of Walden’s best critics have argued that this reflexive resistance extended to language itself, which, indeed, he often treated as something that gets in the way of living: “It is not easy to write in a journal what interests us at any time,” he once observed, “because to write it is not what interests us.” Andrew Delbanco goes further, describing Thoreau as “ultimately a despiser of culture.” “What Thoreau discovered,” Delbanco continues, “was that language itself … made him feel dead because it subjected him to the worn and degraded inventions of other minds.” Some evidence supports this position. In an 1857 letter, Thoreau seems to anticipate Flaubert’s dread of merely reproducing the banalities catalogued in his Dictionary of Received Ideas:

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4 Television: The Extraliterary Device / Daniel Keyes

PAUL BUDRA Indiana University Press ePub


Literary studies’ extension from the study of printed texts into the study of screen culture is consistent with literary studies’ analysis of how dramatic texts become theatrical events. The stakes for literary studies to consider screen culture as part of the extraliterary devices are consistent with the need to use criticism to excavate how screen culture reshapes our collective life world. As Raymond Williams in “The Analysis of Culture” so elegantly asserts:


One generation may train its successor, with reasonable success, in the social character or the general cultural pattern, but the new generation will have its own structure of feeling,1 which will not appear to have come “from” anywhere. . . . the new generation responds in its own ways to the unique world it is inheriting, taking up many continuities, that can be traced, and reproducing many aspects of the organization, which can be separately described, yet feeling its whole life in certain ways differently, and shaping its creative response into a new structure of feeling. (37)

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Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF



Lessons in Practical Logic

MS 164: Winter 1869-1870

Lesson 1

The object of this course is to teach something of the art of investigating the truth.

It is really a question of little consequence whether this is a proper definition of logic or not. That is a mere question of words; but men who have not thoroughly studied logic are so apt to confound questions of words and questions of fact—both considering verbal discussions as real discussions and real discussions as merely verbal,—that

I shall do well to say a few words in defence of the name that I have given to this course of lessons. And besides, I am perhaps bound to show that the subject to which the instruction is really to relate is the same as that advertized.

Now if you examine Hamilton's logic or any of those logics which are the immediate product of pure Kantianism as his was (—not his peculiar system but his lectures in which his system does not appear as it was worked up later) you will find logic defined as the Science of Thought as Thought—or something of that sort. This is an extremely different conception of the subject from that with which I set out. Take for example Mr. Mansel's admirable Prolegomena

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Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

The homing pundit breaks his long silence and
solves the solution of most everything

. . .

MY FOLKS—They got through the winter all right, with a few heavy colds but nothing worse. The new oil heater worked fine. My Aunt Mary was thinking about going to Finland to drive an ambulance, but the armistice stopped that. . . .1

Census catches Ernie and spoils his little scheme

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— . . .

We slowed down in Orlando, to see the boy who was my closest chum from the time we were eight until we were 18, back in Indiana. His name is Thad Hooker and, like me, he is no longer much of a boy.

In the years that have passed his new acquaintances have warped “Thad” into “Ted,” and that is the name he goes by now. He has heard it so long he hardly answers to his old name.

He puts lath on new houses for a living, and there are plenty of new houses in Orlando, and pretty ones too. But my friend both lives and laths in order to be able to fish. He has come a long way from the tree-pole and cork-floater fishing of our creek days.

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