Dead Languages

Shields, David

Published by Knopf, 1989
ISBN 10: 0394573889 / ISBN 13: 9780394573885
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Synopsis: In the face of many well-meaning, but often misguided attempts to cure him of his stutter, young Jeremy Zorn develops both an astonishing prowess as an athlete and a large vocabulary, and comes to understand the power of language

From the Back Cover: From the moment his mother tries unsuccessfully to coax him into saying "Philadelphia," Jeremy Zorn's life is framed by his unwieldy attempts at articulation. Through family rituals with his word-obsessed parents and sister, failed first love, an ill-fated run for class president, as the only Jewish boy on an otherwise all-black basketball team, all of the passages of Jeremy's life are marked in some way by his stutter and his wildly off-the-mark attempts at a cure. It is only when he enters college and learns his strong-willed mother is dying that he realizes all languages, when used as hiding places for the heart, are dead ones.

A huge outpouring of praise has greeted David Shields's "astonishing and mordantly witty tour de force" (Lynne Sharon Schwartz) Dead Languages, the story of a boy who grows up stuttering so badly that he comes to worship words.  Jeremy Zorn is born into a family in which language is seen as the path to success.  His mother, a strong-willed journalist, attempts to cure Jeremy's stutter when he is four and leads him on his long journey to discover a way to overcome his affliction.  Singing, whispering, muteness, Latin conjunctions, a bit part in a major play, even a pseudosuicide are some of the strategies to which he turns, but by the time he enters college and learns that his mother is dying he realizes that all languages, when used as hiding places for the heart, are dead ones.  David Shields has written a novel that is not only a classic coming-of-age story but remarkably moving exploration of the difficulties we all have expressing love.

"An astonishing and mordantly witty tour de force. David Shields, a virtuoso of the written word, manages to make the halting, self-conscious agonies of his stuttering hero into a metaphor for all our disjointed, doomed attempts at self-definition through connection. He has transcended his subject and written a book that will touch everyone who has suffered over the inadequacies of speech to sustain life and love."--Lynne Sharon Schwartz

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dead Languages
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: 1989
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 2895688637

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Book Description Knopf. Condition: Good. Former Library book. A sound copy with only light wear. Overall a solid copy at a great price! some highlighting All orders guaranteed and ship within 24 hours. Before placing your order for please contact us for confirmation on the book's binding. Check out our other listings to add to your order for discounted shipping. Seller Inventory # WAL-H-2b-000740

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Book Description Knopf, 1989. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 0394573889-2-4

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Book Description Knopf, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: Good. x-library We have 1.5 million books to choose from -- Ship within 24 hours -- Satisfaction Guaranteed!. Seller Inventory # mon0000083252

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Book Description NY: Knopf, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. First edition (so stated), 1st printing. FINE (no names, bookplates, remainder marks, or writing of any kind, etc.), with FINE dust jacket with the $18.95 price intact. As new -- unread. Seller Inventory # 2184

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1989. Hard Cover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. : (illustrator). First American Edition. First Printing. Author of HEROS. Seller Inventory # 012239

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Old store label on DJ back. Seller Inventory # 95566

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Book Description Alfred a Knopf Inc, NY, 1989. Cloth. Condition: Almost Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First American Edition. Book top paper edges toned purple. DJ Fine. 246pp. Stated 1st Ed. Tight, square, bright copy. Unclipped, crisp DJ in Mylar cover. This book deserves larger readership. Modern Literature. Seller Inventory # 13332

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