Monday, 9 March 2009

The sentence

John Banville, with writerly understatement, asserts: ‘Civilisation’s greatest single invention is the sentence.’ (The discovery of fire? Agriculture? The wheel? Medicine? Pooh-pooh).

I suppose there's something to be said for the idea that not just the invention of language but the proper structuring of language (the turning of language into an instrument of precision, descriptive power, predictive control and imaginative possibility) is the key event in human affairs. But this is hardly a function of the sentence ...

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