The Flesh of Words: A Philosophy of Language puts forward a bold new critique of the mainstream philosophy of language, with the co-authorship of Denise Riley and Jean-Jacques Lecercle providing a fresh approach to the field.Riley's past work has suggested that modern convictions of a (supposedly) post-Saussurean bent are less adept at answering persistent questions as 'how does language express feeling?' Such questions are reworked in the chapters by Riley in a manner which recognises the inseparability of words and affect. The chapter 'Inner Speech' addresses questions which concern some operations of subliminal metaphoricity and their common but powerful effects: whether we speak language, or whether it speaks us, and how steering a middle term here may be more productive. Another chapter, 'Bad Words', discusses how verbal injury (or so-called 'hate speech') operates - what it is to be the bad speaker oneself, and how its effects may be countered. Lecercle's chapters use this as a framework for developing a philosophy of language which stresses naming, interpellation, wounding, disconnection, and the powerful impersonality of language. Lecercle examines the relation between language and psyche, the violence of language, and the question of inner speech, and gives a new critique of Chomsky - offering a new understanding of language as both historical and immediately political and collective.

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