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BOOK NOTICES 185 f0re). Andreas Bj0rkum in 'Málform og mâlf0reinnslag hjâ fire diktarar frâ Lorn og Skjâk', discusses use of dialect in four nynorsk writers from North Gudbrandsdal—Olav Aukrust, Tor Jonsson, Tore 0rjasa;ter, and Jan Magnus Bruheim . Helge Sand0y analyzes the semantic system of a number of 'indefinite' pronouns in the Romsdal dialect. Kare Skadeberg's article, 'Prinsipp som er lagde til grunn for normeringa av nynorsk det siste tiâret', is the sole piece in the subsection 'Spràknormering'. It gives an overview of the arguments concerning normalization of the nynorsk language, both with respect to the spelling of individual words and with respect to derivational and inflectional form. Finally, in a section dealing with language and school, Olaf Almenningen discusses the recent history of school language choice (local school districts in Norway can decide which of the two official languages is to be the principal language of instruction in district schools) in 'Opplasringsmâl og foreldrerett—Striden om skulemâlet 1971-1985'. Geirr Wiggen discusses spelling 'mistakes' (and the reasons for these) made by Norwegian primary-school students in 'Noe om rettskrivingsavvik i barneskulen , sasrleg hos nynorskelevar'. In sum, this is a good collection of articles. The contributions of Ernst Hâkon Jahr, Kâre Skadeberg, and Olaf Almenningen, in particular , make it indispensable for anyone interested in the history of nynorsk. [Chet A. Creider. University of Western Ontario.] Language, history, style: Leo Spitzer and the critical tradition. By James V. Catano. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988. Pp. 205. Cloth $25.95. This book traces Leo Spitzer's career from 191 1 to his death in 1960 and evaluates Spitzer's contributions to lingustics and literary study. The book is occasioned by the possibility (as C sees it) of a new stylistics, one which is grounded in the scientific study of language but which escapes the 'reductionism' of previous models derived from structural linguistics. The new stylistics, C hopes, will include a 'willing description of the psychological, sociological, and historical contexts that surround literary production' (193). This tension between internal and external conditions affecting language variation has roots going back to the nineteenthcentury conflict between neogrammarians and philologists. Spitzer's own training in early twentieth-century Germany placed him between these two positions: his principal mentors were the strict neogrammarian Wilhelm Meyer-Liibke and the philologist Hugo Schuchardt. Influenced as well by Sigmund Freud, Spitzer found his methodological compromise in a series of literary studies in which isolated stylistic features led to insights about an author's psychology and the text's cultural milieu. That Spitzer's analyses were brilliant and convincing C demonstrates by summarizing Spitzer's 1918 analysis of Christian Morgenstern's poem 'Das Gebet', and then showing that facts from Morgenstern's biography (the sort of information Spitzer, fearing 'biographical determinism', refused to consult) corroborate Spitzer's psychological interpretation . Still, Spitzer found that this narrow emphasis on the author's personal psychology allowed too little room for an explication of the social and cultural forces underlying the text, and he sought a way out of the authorial trap. In his study of Quevedo, he posited in place of a 'real' author the notion of a fictional author, anticipating by several decades the 'implied author ' of Wayne Booth and others. Spitzer's compromise found a relatively favorable response in Europe, but not in the U.S., where the faith in scientific objectivity was much stronger. After Spitzer arrived in 1938, he clashed with New Critical formalism and with the rigid empiricism of structural linguists like Leonard Bloomfield and Robert A Hall, Jr. Even Michael Riffaterre. who acknowledged Spitzer's influence and set out to employ his method, ultimately turned to descriptive linguistics for verifiability, thereby earning a negative review from Spitzer himself. (Significantly , Riffaterre used Bloomfield's earlier articles to counter Spitzer' s attack . ) After Spitzer 's death, the rise of linguistic stylistics, stressing formalistic analyses of linguistic features, led to the neglect of his ideas. Now, however, with the credibility of linguistic stylistics being itself undercut by such critics as Stanley Fish, C believes that in this new critical environment Spitzer's ideas may be profitably explored once...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 185-186
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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