The Rhetoric of Tenses in Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” examines the tenses of the predicates in the famous and typical passages of the monumental work to explore the intricacies of the rhetoric and argument they support, paying particular attention to the question of temporality. Smith’s subtle modulation of language attests to his reluctance to offer a mere theory of economics and to his refusal to ignore the complicated challenges history and actuality offer to his beliefs in the natural system of liberty. The theoretical frame of the book is derived from the grammarians of Smith’s age, in particular James Harris. The supple interdisciplinary approach of this book invites literary and publishing histories to converse with intellectual history.
Though generally associated with the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, the idea of hegemony had a crucial history in revolutionary Russia where it was used to conceptualize the dynamics of political and cultural leadership. Drawing on extensive archival research, this study considers the cultural dimensions of hegemony, with particular focus on the role of language in political debates and in scholarship of the period. It is shown that considerations of the relations between the proletariat and peasantry, the cities to the countryside and the metropolitan centre to the colonies of the Russian Empire demanded an intense dialogue between practical politics and theoretical reflection, which led to critical perspectives now assumed to be the achievements of, for instance, sociolinguistics and post-colonial studies.