ALLAN CAMERON launches his new book, In Praise of the Garrulous, in Edinburgh, Scotland

ALLAN CAMERON launches his new book, In Praise of the Garrulous , in Edinburgh, Scotland

Friday 27 February 2009 at 7.00pm

Word Power Books
43-45 West Nicolson Street

Admission Free!

All Welcome!

"A deeply reflective, extraordinarily wide-ranging meditation on the nature of language, infused in its every phrase by a passionate humanism." Terry Eagleton

"Satisfying, thought-provoking, scholarly and unpedantic - Allan Cameron's In Praise of the Garrulous explores the banal linguistic conformity of urban life and the burgeoning growth of the 'social mind' at the expense of individual articulacy. Cameron demonstrates convincingly that language skills are innate - and suggests 'natural' speakers find it hard to communicate for social and political reasons. Weaving effortlessly from classical literature to the modern day, In Praise of the Garrulous, takes language back from the domain of pedants and reinstates our proudest achievement at the heart of human society." Lesley Riddoch

"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." Eric Hobsbawm.

"This is a brilliant tour de force, in space and in 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, Israeli historian.

"[In Praise of the Garrulous] is a diverting, chewy read, its tone simultaneously chatty, professorial and even vatic. There are some very interesting ideas, such as Cameron's contention that language and walking evolved together in early hunter-gatherer societies; well, what else was there to do while ambling from one hunting ground to another?" Colin Waters, The Sunday Herald

Allan Cameron's latest book about language, languages, writing and printing is the distillation of a lifetime of experiencing and dealing with these issues through a variety of jobs. For him, language is not simply the essence of what is to be human - it is a "gift from history" or part of an entity built up over centuries that governs our thinking and is implanted in our brains by society. He calls this entity the "social mind".
"This is a book about language and above all about the value and essentiality of language in our lives. It might therefore be called a book on the "ecology" of language, because human language is in danger of being permanently damaged by the way modern technology has developed over the last century, and this will affect not only our competence in organising ourselves socially and politically, but also our inner selves. In other words, the process of homogenisation we call globalisation is not only damaging our external environment, but our internal one as well. At the same time, we are collectively accumulating an unprecedented mass of scientific and technological knowledge, which in a way we can be proud of, but only if individually and socially we retain our skills to deal with it. I believe the maintenance of our linguistic skills is essential to this task, and therefore the linguistic problem takes its place alongside all the other problems we face - problems with which any reasonably informed person is already fully acquainted." Allan Cameron

ALLAN CAMERON writes in English and Italian, and his two novels have been published by Luath Press: The Golden Menagerie (2004), which is a modern reworking of the Apuleius' The Golden Ass and The Berlusconi Bonus (2005), which a more typical modern satire - a dystopia that examines the absurdities of current ideology, particularly the ideas of Francis Fukuyam. He has also translated twenty-five books and has published articles in Reset, Teoria Politica, L'Unita and Renaissance Studies. His latest book is In Praise of the Garrulous.