Or, The Empire of the Sign
by Françoise Waquet Translated by John Howe
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$24.95$17.4630% off
352 pages / December 2002 / 9781859844021

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February 7, 2023 / 9781789608267


$34.95$24.4630% off
368 pages / February 7, 2023 / 9781804290491

Available for pre-order. This item will be available on February 7, 2023.

A highly original and accessible history of Latin between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries.

A highly original and accessible history of Latin between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries that explores how Latin came to dominate the civic and sacred worlds of Europe and, arguably, the entire western world.


“Waquet's wonderful, readable book (in Howe's fine translation) provides an intellectual history of the Latin language ... Waquet memorably charts Latin's reception in scholarly, comic, tender, and exhaustive detail through learned literary, and popular sources.”

“... an erudite, fascinating cultural history of the Latin language in the modern era. A scholarly work, this will nonetheless appeal to general readers as well.”

“... an eloquent obituary ...”

“... [a] fascinating and lively survey of the place of Latin in western culture during the past 400 years.”

“It is a wonderful survey of the uses to which we have put Latin.”

“...richly researched and delightful ... with scholars of Waquet's generosity and ability, the old language might yet have a future.”

“Latin is dead and this book is its epitaph. A fulsome, plangent, finely engraved epitaph but an epitaph all the same ... it is the merit and interest of Waquet's survey that she finds Latin not only deployed for the liturgy, but also to describe things carnal, pornographic or otherwise shameful.”

“...the book is valuable if for no other reason than for the historical light it sheds on contemporary debates over the value of 'traditional' education – and for reminding us that a classical education is sometimes more about class than about education.”

“...a splendid book: original in method, suggestive in argument, and a pleasure to read.”

“And for something differently serious, read part of Europe's future in part of its past: the fascinating Latin: or the Empire of the Sign.”

“...detailed and wide-ranging...”

“... a lucid, learned retelling of the fortunes of the Latin language from the 16th century to its rapid decline in the 1960s.”

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