from The People's Daily, 20th September 1970

Words Worth your While

Your weekly book review by Cyril Bainsbury

We have, in our midst, an academic villain of the first order. His crimes are audacious, because he publishes one after another despite the criticism of many very learned men; they are varied, because he deems himself an expert in more than one subject and has written many books for each; and they are obscene because decent people would not read them. He is a plagiarist of profound skill, because all but the most learned and discerning eyes fall victim to his forgeries, all of which are old ideas parading under the guise of new theories. His prose is fine enough, but utterly devoid of real substance. His name is A.E. Vithano.

Mr. Vithano's new book is a repetition of old sins delivered with his usual panache. The book asks, in its first sentence: what is hyperhetorics? Never mind that this is completely new word of Mr. Vithano's own devising --- he then goes on to ask his reader to find out for himself. All he provides as a guide to help the reader in this profitless enterprise are a series of statements no one can understand. I have provided an extract as an example of this:

Hyperhetorics is more than rhetoric --- it is at once anterior to, and proceeding from, those several codes, voices, ideograms and principles that go to make up the rhetorician's mind (or, more precisely, message). Hyperhetorics is the knowing without the science, the process below the product, the poetic above the poem, the seeing before the seen --- it is at once object and objectification (insofar as a noun can be regarded as a verb).

Mr. Vithano's logic, as always, is impeccable. Yet, only the French will understand it. Somewhere in the book is the assertion that writing is rhetoric pretending to be unique, but I assure you that it is the only piece of English you will find in the book.

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