Semiotica 18:1, pp. 97-99.© Mouton Publishers, 1976. GEORGE STEINER The fashionable stance of the younger academics, particularly at those universities where there is a servile imitation of French Marxism-structuralism, is one of terrorism. The work to be reviewed is, as Valesio says, no more than a 'pre-text' either for political onslaught or an immensely inflationary and Narcissistic presentation of one's own investments. Valesio observes external courtesies. But the fundamental tactic is one of total indifference towards the job in hand: the review of another man's work. The breach of trust here seems to me fundamentally ethical and of a kind that makes humane collaborative discourse and fruitful dissent impossible (but these very criteria are exactly those of the archaic or bourgeois 'urbanity' which Valesio professes to deplore though he himself - through his occupation at Yale and through his use of a 'review' to advertise his own published and forthcoming work at every occasion - in fact is a beneficiary of the genteel system). The ethical breach leads inevitably to a rather sad empirical consequence. After Babel is or is not a good book, is or is not a seminal and major work. The readers of Semiotica have
Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1976
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