Casting a critical eye upon the position described in his previous book, Superstructuralism, Richard Harland claims that structuralist and post-structuralist approaches to language are fatally limited by their focus upon single words. Instead he offers the alternative of a syntagmatic approach, arguing that the nature of meaning is radically transformed in the movement from single words to sentences. The effect of combining words grammatically is seen to be more dramatic than any existing theory—European or Anglo-American—has yet recognized. The wide breadth of coverage in the book takes in post-Chomskyan linguistics, deconstruction, Analytic and speech-act views of language. Harland challenges the very foundation of recent language theory, opening up a range of novel options for literary criticism, linguistics and philosophy.
Richard Harland is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His previous books include the highly influential Superstructuralism: The Philosophy of Structuralism and Poststructuralism (1987).