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181. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 17 > Issue: 3
Eduardo Neiva An Argument Against the Conventionalist Interpretation of Images
182. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Boris Gubman The Returns Of History: Russian Nietzscheans After Modernity
183. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Boris Gubman Jacques Derrida on Philosophy, Language, and Power in the Age of Globalization
184. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
About the Authors
185. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Clarisse Zimra Can the Empire Really Write Back: Maximin’s Unbounded Narrative
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This essay examines the ways in which Daniel Maximin, a Guadeloupean writer, tackles the work of history and memory that constitutes the ethical imperative of postcolonial writers in the African diaspora. From Proust to Joyce, Camus to Blanchot, Maximin “riffs” on the modernist canon to produce a truly hybrid hermeneutics. In three inter-connected works that share characters and circumstances and owe much to Eco’s concept of the “open work”, Maximin crafts one giant unbounded, untelelogical self-referential narrative that shall heal the diasporic obsession with the all too real fractures of colonial history.
186. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Sid Sondergard Mapping the Lovecraft Idiolect: Iterative Structures and Autosemiotization as Reading Strategies
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Towards reassessing and reconciling some of the conflicted readings of H. P. Lovecraft’s writings, Sondergard proposes that the author be read through the lens of his own idiolect rather than through interpretive systems constructed from referents external to Lovecraft’s often xenophobically self-referential perceptions. Modeling a semiotic system extrapolated from analysis of Lovecraft’s canon as well as of his life, the essay proceeds to employ it to reexamine “Herbert West—Reanimator,” a story that has been cited as evidence of the author’s racism.
187. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Julia Kristeva Thinking about Literary Thought
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To these rather restrained opinions, one must add the unremitting efforts of the media but also of academia—these powers and institutions are decidedly united—who aim to ridicule and discredit for ever more literary theory’s encroachment, or attemptedencroachment, of its authority on literature. It may seem paradoxical that such a sparing, abstract, or even, as they say, insignificant activity should elicit such an . . . eroticization. Why so much passion for such an elusive object? We must look back to the beginningsof theoretical thought in the area of arts and literature, in order to attempt to uncover the reasons for this apparent anomaly.
188. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Ibrahim Taha Heroism In Literature: A Semiotic Model
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The semiotic model that disregards the normative context represented by the protagonist examines how we can distinguish the three conceptions of heroism, namely hero, semi-hero, and anti-hero. What are the methodological criteria whereby we can follow the protagonist in the text from beginning to end? To answer them, this article tries to present a model made up of five stages/criteria which constitute a semiotic model by means of which the connection to heroism can be determined. These are: (1) motivation, (2) will, (3) ability, (4) execution, and (5) outcome. These stages can be logically classified into three categories: 1) Pre-action (the first three stages), 2) Action (the fourth stage), 3) Post-action (the fifth stage). The model proposed here suits all types of narrative and drama and all performance and film production arts.
189. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Douglas Jones Limiting the Unlimited: Eco’s Realistic Pragmatism
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Umberto Eco’s notion of an “open work” embraces a Peircean pragmatism in order to avoid the extremes of both a bounded authorial intent and an unbounded post-structuralism, but this brand of pragmatism does not succeed in providing objective constraints on interpretation due to an unnecessary commitment to a Saussurrean net of meaning signification. Eco’s arguments for this commitment fail upon simple phenomenological reflection, and the whole commitment proves to be unnecessary for Eco’s fruitful insights of the open work. Successful interpretation of an open work requires both intersubjectivity and actual presence.
190. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
John E. Henning Expanding Relationships: A Semiotic Description of Development in the Interpretation and Organization of Text
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This article examines the reading protocols of eleventh grade, primary school (USA) students for the purpose of better understanding their development in the interpretation and organization of text. Peirce’s description of thought as a triadic process is utilized to show how a continuous process of differentiation and integration leads to an increasingly sophisticated perception of context, organization and coherence within a text. More proficient student readers are simultaneously better able to distinguish more finely and to integrate more broadly across the text. For all levels of readers, it is in the interplay between differentiation and integration that meaning emerges.
191. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
William D. Melaney Rilke’s Semiotic Potential: Iconicity and Performance
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This article demonstrates how a new reading of Rilke’s poetry can provide a basis for comparing and contrasting the aesthetic approach to art and the language-based approach that foregrounds the role of metaphor and materiality in literary production. Lessing’s Laocoön is discussed in terms of an implied dialogue between painting and poetry, which, however, acquires a different valence when the Fifth of Rilke’s Duino Elegies suggests that poetry itself functions as a ‘metaphorical hypoicon’ allowing for shared meanings. My concluding remarks emphasize the importance of the performing self to a complete understanding of Rilke’s semiotic potential.
192. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Eduardo Neiva Language, Essence, Falsification: Critical Rationalism and the Grounds of Political and Rhetorical Discussion
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The paper examines the impact of the idea of falsification in Karl Popper’s philosophy of science to rhetorical and political discussion. The structure of language is considered as revealing an inescapable means of falsification. After criticizing the rhetorical tradition that goes way back to Platonic and Aristotelian essentialism, the paper concludes that critical negativity committed to solving social issues should be at the core of rhetorical interaction in any democracy. Falsification and not social unanimity is what empowers democratic practices.
193. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Thomas F. Broden In Memoriam: Jean-Marie Floch (1947-2001)
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One of a handful of truly pioneering figures in visual semiotics, Jean-Marie Floch elaborated an approach that combined an analysis of the basic perceptual qualities and compositional strategies of the image, with a study of the cultural and historical significance of its representational dimension. A key collaborator of A. J. Greimas, Floch situated his project within the theoretical framework of Paris semiotics, which he helped to develop. He positioned his visual studies of familiar cultural objects in proximity to cultural anthropology and the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss. His five published monographs explore abstract painting, art photography, Russian icons, magazine advertisements, and comic books.
194. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Henry G. Burger “Slitherites” or “Terrorists”?—Spin-doctoring the Combatants
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The Middle Eastern trouble continues, in part, from a jumbling of names for the two parties. But social science requires precise delineation as each belligerent streamlines a modus operandi. “Terrorist” commonly means “relating to what presently is causing terror”. Therefore, so to term those insurgents is to concede victory to them, without further struggle. One must map the nicknames for each of the tactical variants. In so doing, we find several dozen overlapping terms, such as identity thief, agent provocateur, and scorpion. Most analogies, however, are anthropomorphized by the characteristics of snakes. Therefore, some existing analogy for the insurgents would better be reimaged by terming them “slitherites”. Our Goal Is to Name the Phases of the Middle Eastern Struggle.
195. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Philip D. Dalton Voter Malaise and the Disruption of Truth and Timelessness
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The increasing awareness of the incommensurability between voters’ attitudes about voting and the reality of voting are contributing to the much written-about voter malaise which plagues U.S. elections. Voters who assume their role is to determine the ideal, right, or best candidate confront an election system in our current communication environment that attempts to market candidates to match voters’ ideals, while also providing a surfeit of information that both contradicts the ideal depictions while also making transparent the process by which candidates are packaged. This essay identifies four communication phenomena that contribute to this malaise: campaign transparency; bifurcation of issue and candidate; the abstracted nature of news content; and the glut of information that characterizes our present communication environment.
196. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Thomas F. Broden Image, Sign, Identity: Jean-Marie Floch and Visual Semiotics
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Two recently translated monographs by J.-M. Floch provide English-language scholars with a substantial sample of this original and prolific visual semiotician’s work. The articles making up the two volumes present and illustrate the methods and concepts that Floch developed: “figurative semiotics”, “plastic semiotics”, and “visual identities”. Privileging the close description of particular images, Jean-Marie Floch’s work systematically brings to bear a complex and explicit semiotic theory to the exploration of visual images. The books raise crucial questions for research in the visual arts, in marketing, in perception and cognition, and in intercultural communication. This essay describes the main procedures Floch proposes for analyzing visual images, examines his concept of a visual identity, and evaluates the two English editions and translations.
197. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Steven Long Hamartia Poetics in Dickens’s Bleak House
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This monograph first introduces a methodology called “hamartia poetics,” which explores how novels generate their own semantic conceptions of “sin.” A poetics of sin rests on four fundamental assumptions about narrative itself: (1) narratives present a transformation from one condition to another; (2) in narratives, states of being only “exist” as compared with others; (3) narrative makes possible the act of sin; and (4) the act of sin cannot exist without the possibility of combinatory transformation. Second, it applies hamartia poetics to Dickens’s Bleak House, arguing that the novel simultaneously establishes two codes of sin, but that these codes ultimately converge into one.
198. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Igor E. Klyukanov Tasking Textuality: Literary and Cultural Theory, Vol. 5
199. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
Richard Henry Critifiction: Postmodern Essays
200. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1/4
John Corner Constructing Clinton: Hyperreality and Presidential Image-Making in Postmodern Politics