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Living Speech: Resisting the Empire of Force and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Living Speech: Resisting the Empire of Force

ISBN-13: 978-0691125800
ISBN-10: 0691125805
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Editorial Reviews


"In Living Speech, White is rooted in his own proper study of the law, but he 'blurs' his work over in many directions, notably to classical drama, poetry, and philosophy, even with indirect traces and hints of theology. The effect is to summon readers--especially, but by no means exclusively, students of law--beyond the conventional limits and procedures of their discipline. . . . His book is an exercise in the humanities of a wise and urgent kind."--Walter Brueggeman, Michigan Law Review

"Living Speech provides readers with White's usual insights on the rhetorical power of language, ferreting out its influence through a range of life-constituting (or life-draining) texts that include examples from legal decisions, classical Greek drama, Plato, as well as poetry from Shakespeare, Dante, William Carlos Williams, and Robert Frost. . . . His passionate commitment to the struggle to recognize and to preserve the richness of our humanity and the need for human freedom and solidarity is inspiring."--Omar Swartz, Rhetoric Review

"This is a book about disrespect--and about the benefits of practicing it.... This is a compelling book--an appropriate tract for our times that deserves widespread and careful reading in an era deeply infected by the linguistic plagues James Boyd White disinfects through disrespect."--Thomas Holbrook, Federal Lawyer

"Drawing from a variety of examples, such as literature, judicial opinions, children's essays, Greek tragedy, and political correspondence, this book analyzes the force of language. White argues that speech is inherently objectifying, and every speech act is an occasion for gaining control of who we are and what we proclaim."--Law & Social Inquiry

"White is an interdisciplinary scholar who speaks to those interested in law, politics, literature, and ethics. His argument offers a way of understanding the present poverty of public discourse, and he invites individual citizens to speak more frankly, more openly , and with more candor in order to articulate their experience in ways that more fully present their own thinking rather than repeating political clichés. This can undo totalitarianisms of various kinds. Living Speech is an important book for thinking about how we speak with each other about justice, and so it is valuable to academics but also to leaders. In this work, White is both a scholar and a public intellectual."--Eloise A. Buker, Perspectives on Politics

From the Back Cover

"This is a magisterial work, evidencing the unique breadth of White's mastery of the worlds of law, language, and classical studies. It continues his immensely productive and path-breaking inquiry into the relations among legal texts, literary works, and the philosophical and political premises of human discourse."--Howard Lesnick, University of Pennsylvania

"What we know of the ethical uses of language in law, we know largely because of White's labors."--Robin West, Georgetown University

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