• Monthly Archives: June 2023

Anent Marianne Shapiro (1940-2003)

June 18, 2023

Of all the responses I received to my recent post about my late beloved wife, the most eloquent and touching was from my dear friend, Vincent Colapietro, as follows:

“The world was robbed, all too soon, of Marianne’s linguistic genius, literary gifts, exemplary scholarship, and radiant presence. That loss was felt widely and deeply. But there is no measure for what you experienced then and have every day since this incomparable woman was torn from our midst. Always, V”


Remembering Romka (alias Roman) Jakobson (1896-1986)

It may be of interest to readers of this blog that Y-H-B keeps receiving notifications from Academia regarding persons who have read my paper, “Roman Jakobson in Retrospect: Unvarnished Remembrances of a Stiff-Necked Student,” Chinese Semiotic Studies, 14 (2018), 41-56, available here under the rubric “PDFs of Papers by Michael Shapiro.” This paper recounts my experience with Jakobson as his student at Harvard and later as his opponent in a published dispute regarding Russian phonology, which includes a detailed discussion of Jakobson’s glaring errors.

I would hardly have expected this paper to have attracted so many readers. By contrast, I regard my most outstanding contribution (also available for reading here) to be “Sound and Meaning in Shakespeare’s Sonnets,” Language, 74 (1998), 81-103. Apropos, a recent survey conducted by the Linguistic Society of America shows that this item is among the 25 most-viewed/-downloaded articles in JSTOR covering volumes of Language from 1925 to 2000 (according to http://ideophone.org/language-anthology-citations/). It has also been downloaded over 200 times from this blog, which typically has ca. 30,000 visits/mo. (according to Webalizer) and over 200 subscribers (RSS feeds and e-mails).


Marianne Shapiro (1940-2003)

June 3, 2023

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of my beloved wife, Marianne Shapiro, whose influnce on my work is profound, especially when it comes to commentary on the English language. She spoke French and Italian fluently, in addition to her native Hungarian and her flawless English.

Marianne was also the most versatile and accomplished American Italianist of the twentieth century. Here is a link to her publications: http://www.higherlearninganovel.com/?page_id=310

I think of Marianne with every breath I take.