In Praise of the Garrulous

By Allan Cameron

Format: Multiple Formats

In Praise of the Garrulous examines how language developed and was influenced by technology (mainly writing and printing). This raises some important questions concerning the "ecology" of language, and how any degradation it suffers might affect "not only our competence in organising ourselves socially and politically, but also our inner selves."

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Vagabond Voices

Founded in 2008 and based in Glasgow, Vagabond Voices is an independent publisher that is both Scottish and fervently European in its aims. Vagabond is committed to introducing new titles from Scottish authors and translating fiction from other languages. Our library reflects our aims to promote literary ambition and innovative writers, and to challenge readers.

Product Description


This first work of non-fiction by the author of two novels, The Golden Menagerie and The Berlusconi Bonus, has an accessible and conversational tone, which perhaps disguises its enormous ambition. It not only deals with the origins of language to argue its centrality to humanity and the naturalness of bilingualism and multilingualism, but examines how writing and printing built on that centrality to develop the "social mind" - the sum of knowledge within any given society. More recent technological changes have undermined the importance of language in society, and could possibly damage psychological health and society at large. All the arguments are couched in a sceptical approach, and the author principally wants to initiate a debate rather than give a defining analysis of a complex subject. Each chapter is introduced by a short story that illustrates the argument of that chapter.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Vagabond Voices
Publication Date 16 Sep 2013
SKU 9781908251244-grouped
Number of Pages 208

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Press Reviews

"A deeply reflective, extraordinarily wide-ranging meditation on the nature of language, infused in its every phrase by a passionate humanism" - Terry Eagleton "This is a brilliant tour de force, in space and time, into the origins of language, speech and the word. From the past to the present you are left with strong doubts about the Idea of Progress and our superiority as a modern, indeed at times post-modern, society over the previous generations. Such a journey into the world of the word needs an articulate and eloquent guide: Allan Cameron is both and much more than that." - Ilan Pappe "I like In Praise of the Garrulous very much indeed, not only because it says a good many interesting and true things, but because of its tone and style. Its combination of personal passion, observation, stories, poetic bits and serious expert argument, expressed as it is in the prose of an intelligent conversation: all this is ideal for holding and persuading intelligent but non-expert readers. In my opinion he has done nothing better." - Eric Hobsbawm "Weaving effortlessly from classical literature to the modern day, In Praise of the Garrulous takes language back from the domain of the pedants and reinstates our proudest achievement at the heart of human society." - Lesley Riddoch "In Praise of the Garrulous is a diverting, chewy reade, its tone simulateously chatty, professorial and even vatic. There are some interesting ideas" - The Sunday Herald

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