Review article Peirce the melancholy prestidigitator* ROBERTS. CORRINGTON For several decades the Peirce community has awaited a definitive biographical study of the founder of pragmaticism and of all that is compelling in semiotics. Rumors about Peirce's personal life have long circulated underground, exacerbated by the reluctance of the Harvard authorities to release the relevant material for publication. Joseph Brent at long last brings this material to light in a forceful and beautifully written account of the life and work of Peirce, and places the demonic aspects of Peirce's personality in their proper social and psychological contexts. Brent's dissertation at UCLA, study of the life of Charles Sanders Peirce' (Brent 1960), has been privately copied and circulated among the cognoscenti as if it were a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. The published version, written some thirty years later, after Harvard finally gave Brent permission to publish the damaging material from the Peirce archives, goes beyond the dissertation, even if it often softens the much more negative tone of the earlier version. In addition, the book balances the tragic qualities of Peirce's life with a sensitive and accurate analysis of his conceptual achievements, and brings out his marred
Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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