Literary studies could get the reset that many realize the field needs by a refreshed attention to language—language understood not through the lenses of philology, Saussure, structuralism, poststructuralism, speech act theory, or Chomsky, but through Daniel Dor's bold, compelling, and generous new theory of language as “the instruction of imagination.” Literary studies have missed much through not having a sufficiently searching and comprehensive theory of language to work with, one that pays due attention to the phenomenology of experience, the centrality of imagination, and the frailty, the fallibility, and the ongoing social negotiations of language. The contrasting examples are familiar—the openings of Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice, and Shakespeare's Sonnet 1—both to compensate for the novelty of the linguistic theory and to suggest how Dor's account of language can open up new perspectives on and new implications of what we already know well.

You do not currently have access to this content.