In Praise of the Garrulous
By (author) Allan Cameron
This first and only work of non-fiction by the author of two novels, two collections of short stories and a collection of poetry, has an accessible and conversational tone, which perhaps disguises its enormous ambition. It not only deals with the origins of language to argue its centrality to humanity and the naturalness of bilingualism and multilingualism, but examines how writing and printing built on that centrality to develop the “social mind” – the sum of knowledge within any given society. More recent technological changes have undermined the importance of language in society, and could possibly damage psychological health and society at large. All the arguments are couched in a sceptical approach, and the author principally wants to initiate a debate rather than give a defining analysis of a complex subject. Each chapter is introduced by a short story that illustrates the argument of that chapter.
Allan Cameron, who has lived in Nigeria, Bangladesh and Italy, and worked in various fields, now lives on Glasgow, where he writes, translates and runs his own publishing company Vagabond Voices, which is principally concerned with the translation and publication of European novels in English. His novels, The Golden Menagerie (a modern verions of Apuleius’s Golden Ass) and The Berlusconi Bonus (a political satire directed against the Neo-Cons and the ideas of Francis Fukuyama), were both published by Luath Press.