These essays, written by eminent scholars from diverse disciplines and perspectives, consider various present-day and historical efforts to make a language dominant through textual, institutional, academic, and literary means. Contributors examine pressures to elevate one language at the expense of another and the cultural and intellectual consequences of that elevation. Essays by Seamus Deane, Tony Crowley, and Peter McQuillan deal with aspects of the suppression, survival, and revival of Irish language. W Martin Bloomer, Theodore J Cachey Jr, and Richard Hunter apply modern issues of the contest of language to Greek, Latin, and the emergence of the vernacular in Europe. Haun Saussy discusses differing conceptions of linguistic power implicit in seventeenth-century attempts to construct schemes for universal communication. Susan Blum analyzes the relationship between minority and dominant language in China. Demitri Gutas describes the lack of linguistic imperialism in the spread of Arabic. Joseph Amar discusses the uses and fortunes of Syria. Vittorio Hosle concludes the collection with an essay on the spread of English as the 'universal language.' Students and scholars interested in language as a cultural and political phenomenon will find this book invaluable.