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Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown


A term describing a mode of analysis that undertakes to describe a system of thought or language as an existing whole without respect to its history, its diachronic development over a long period of time. Saussurian linguistics, for example, studies language as a functioning system of signs existing in the here and now. (See also Structuralism.)

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
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University of Toronto English Library
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Last modified: March 31, 1997