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1937: The miraculous birth of language

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In 1937 Dr. Richard Albert Wilson, Professor of English, published a slim volume titled The Birth of Language.  Dr. Wilson had worked for 20 years on the book which, he said, set out "to describe the problem that gave birth to language in the general scheme of world evolution, and to point out its basic relation to the two forms of sense, Space and Time."

The Irish comic dramatist, literary critic, and socialist propagandist, George Bernard Shaw, was so taken by the book that he used his influence to facilitate a paperback edition.  When the second edition appeared it included a twenty-six page preface written by Shaw.  He offered Wilson’s book as proof that the University of Saskatchewan was “apparently half a century ahead of Cambridge in science and of Oxford in common sense."1 With a few reprintings and an American edition, over 100,000 copies were sold.

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1937a: R.A Wilson, [ca. 1937]. Photograph Collection, A-3175.
1937b: dust cover, 1942 edition.
1937c: dust cover, 1941 edition.
1937d: 1942 edition.


1. Wilson.

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