From the ForewordThese pieces are selections from work done in the Thirties, a decade so changeable that I at first thought of assembling them under the title, "While Everything Flows." Their primary interest is in speculation on the nature of linguistic, or symbolic, or literary action--and in a search for more precise ways of locating or defining such action. Words are aspects of a much wider communicative context, most of which is not verbal at all. Yet words also have a nature peculiarly their own. And when discussing them as modes of action, we must consider both this nature as words in themselves and the nature they get from the non-verbal scenes that support their acts. I shall be happy if the reader can say of this book that, while always considering words as acts upon a scene, it avoids the excess of environmentalist schools which are usually so eager to trace the relationships between act and scene that they neglect to trace the structure of the act itself.