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The Paul De Man Notebooks$
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Paul de Man and Martin McQuillan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641048

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641048.001.0001

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Essay on the Origin of Language: Melody and Musical Imitation are Being Considered

Essay on the Origin of Language: Melody and Musical Imitation are Being Considered

Chapter:
(p.183) 16 Essay on the Origin of Language: Melody and Musical Imitation are Being Considered
Source:
The Paul De Man Notebooks
Author(s):

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641048.003.0017

In their translation into English of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Essay on the Origin of Language: Melody and Musical Imitation Are Being Considered, Paul de Man and his wife Patricia discuss the various means of conveying one's thoughts and the notions that the first invention of speech did not stem from needs but from the passions, and that the first language had to be figural language. They also address the distinctive characteristics of the first language and the changes it had to undergo; the act of writing in relation to language; whether it is probable that Homer could write; modern prosody; general and local difference in the origin of languages; constitution of the languages of the south; the formation of northern languages; the origin of music and its relations; melody and harmony; the link between sensations and non-physical impressions; false analogy between colors and sounds; musicians and their art; the Greek musical system in relationship to ours; how music degenerated; and relationships between language and political government.

Keywords:   music, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paul de Man, speech, language, writing, prosody, melody, harmony, political government

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