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About thirty-five years ago, Noah Jacobs published a modest work entitled Naming Day in Eden, an ingenious, learned, entertaining, playful, and altogether joyous disquisition on language. More than a quarter-century on, the author himself looked upon his handiwork and saw that it was good. So the Toils of Language returns to the primal Edenic scene. But, multum in parvo (while deprecating French, Mr. Jacobs welcomes Latin), in those few Paradisal acres were sown all the joys and woes of man. Accordingly, this new Shandean classic is even more philosophical than its predecessor; Jacobs has license to treat, briefly and profoundly, things like the basis of our nature as revealed in language, the role of illusion in human life, the armed truce between the sexes, the hate-filled origins of whole tribes of words now quite anodyne, and many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. This marriage of dulce et utile, having been arranged in Eden, is warranted sound in wind and limb, with strength for the plow, looks for the shafts, and places for the saddle.
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About the Author

In his checkered, dappled, and piebald career as an immensely learned scholar of language and the human heart, Noah Jacobs managed to include a role as Chief of the American translation staff at the Nuremburg trials. The author of a number of severe scholarly works as well, he now lives chiefly in Vienna and Jerusalem.

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