Analyzing Performance provides conceptual tools for understanding a range of performance, including theater, dance, cinema, other audiovisual media, and mime. This richly illustrated book develops protocols for the analysis of performance at every level -- from the minute gestures and facial expressions of an actor to the social network in which theater is embedded -- and respects the importance of every aspect of performance, including actor, costume, space, time, music, and lighting. With a keen awareness of the roles of social context in the interpretation of performance, Patrice Pavis leads the reader from a purely formal analysis to a semiology and anthropology of performance, where spectator and actor are equally objects of study. Drawn from performance traditions and innovations all over the world, the book's many examples make critical techniques vivid and concrete.
Analyzing Performance will be essential reading for critics, scholars, students, and practitioners of theater, who will find that David Williams's elegant translation brings Pavis's insights within reach of English-language readers.
Patrice Pavis, Professor of Theater at Paris-VIII University, has written extensively and influentially on performance.
David Williams is Professor of Theater, Dartington College of Arts, Devon, England.
Recent debates surrounding the teaching of biology divide participants into three camps based on how they explain the appearance of the human race: evolution, creationism, or intelligent design. Biosemiotics discovers an intriguing higher ground respecting those opposing theories by arguing that questions of meaning and experiential life can be integrated into the scientific study of nature. This groundbreaking book shows how the linguistic powers of humans imply that consciousness emerges in the evolutionary process and that life is based on sign action, not just molecular interaction. Biosemiotics will be essential reading for anyone interested in the nexus of linguistic possibility and biological reality.
This first comprehensive, integrated analysis of MTV provides new ways to understand television and popular music narratives.
"Goodwin's approach is multidisciplinary, highly detailed, very perceptive-and it works. The industrial approach to music television favored here covers a lot of ground and provides the kind of clear, focused thinking so often lacking in other accounts of MTV." --Cinefocus
"This thoroughly researched and annotated book does a splendid job of geting to the heart of music television and its relationship with popular culture." --Popular Culture in Libraries
"Reasonably but firmly takes on the postmodern analysis of MTV as a pastiche of deliberately unmeaningful images and what are called in the trade 'blank parodies' of other 'texts.'" --Chicago Reader
"Goodwin achieves his ambition to 'advance and reframe' the debates around music video and music television" --Journal of Popular Music
"A smart book: it will have an impact on the debates surrounding popular culture." --Susan McClary
A pioneer in the field, Christian Metz applies insights of structural linguistics to the language of film.
"The semiology of film . . . can be held to date from the publication in 1964 of the famous essay by Christian Metz, 'Le cinéma: langue ou langage?'"—Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Times Literary Supplement
"Modern film theory begins with Metz."—Constance Penley, coeditor of Camera Obscura
"Any consideration of semiology in relation to the particular field signifying practice of film passes inevitably through a reference to the work of Christian Metz. . . . The first book to be written in this field, [Film Language] is important not merely because of this primacy but also because of the issues it raises . . . issues that have become crucial to the contemporary argument."—Stephen Heath, Screen
How we create and organize knowledge is the theme of this major achievement by Umberto Eco. Demonstrating once again his inimitable ability to bridge ancient, medieval, and modern modes of thought, he offers here a brilliant illustration of his longstanding argument that problems of interpretation can be solved only in historical context.
This book brings together the great majority of Barthes’s interviews that originally appeared in French in Le Figaro Littéraire, Cahiers du Cinéma, France-Observateur, L'Express, and elsewhere. Barthes replied to questions—on the cinema, on his own works, on fashion, writing, and criticism—in his unique voice; here we have Barthes in conversation, speaking directly, with all his individuality. These interviews provide an insight into the rich, probing intelligence of one of the great and influential minds of our time.
The Holocaust has bequeathed to contemporary society a cultural lexicon of intensely powerful symbols, a vocabulary of remembrance that we draw on to comprehend the otherwise incomprehensible horror of the Shoah. Engagingly written and illustrated with more than forty black-and-white images, Holocaust Icons probes the history and memory of four of these symbolic relics left in the Holocaust’s wake.
Jewish studies scholar Oren Stier offers in this volume new insight into symbols and the symbol-making process, as he traces the lives and afterlives of certain remnants of the Holocaust and their ongoing impact. Stier focuses in particular on four icons: the railway cars that carried Jews to their deaths, symbolizing the mechanics of murder; the Arbeit Macht Frei (“work makes you free”) sign over the entrance to Auschwitz, pointing to the insidious logic of the camp system; the number six million that represents an approximation of the number of Jews killed as well as mass murder more generally; and the persona of Anne Frank, associated with victimization. Stier shows how and why these icons—an object, a phrase, a number, and a person—have come to stand in for the Holocaust: where they came from and how they have been used and reproduced; how they are presently at risk from a variety of threats such as commodification; and what the future holds for the memory of the Shoah.
In illuminating these icons of the Holocaust, Stier offers valuable new perspective on one of the defining events of the twentieth century. He helps readers understand not only the Holocaust but also the profound nature of historical memory itself.
Taking as his point of departure Norbert Weiner’s statement that information is basic to understanding materialism in our era, Ronald Schleifer shows how discoveries of modern physics have altered conceptions of matter and energy and the ways in which both information theory and the study of literature can enrich these conceptions. Expanding the reductive notion of “the material” as simply matter and energy, he formulates a new, more inclusive idea of materialism.
Schleifer’s project attempts to bridge the divisions between the humanities and the sciences and to create a nonreductive materialism for the information age. He presents a materialistic account of human bodily experience by delving into language and literature that powerfully represents our faces, voices, hands, and pain. For example, he examines the material resources of poetic “literariness” as it is revealed in the condition of Tourette’s syndrome. Schleifer also investigates gestures of the hand in the formation of sociality, and he studies pain as both a physiological and phenomenological experience.
This ambitious work explores physiological analyses, evolutionary explanations, and semiotic descriptions of materialism to reveal how aspects of physical existence discover meaning in experience.
During the Enlightenment, Western scholars racialized ideas, deeming knowledge based on reality superior to that based on ideality. Scholars labeled inquiries into ideality, such as animism and soul-migration, “savage philosophy,” a clear indicator of the racism motivating the distinction between the real and the ideal. In their view, the savage philosopher mistakes connections between signs for connections between real objects and believes that discourse can have physical effects—in other words, they believe in magic.
Christopher Bracken’s Magical Criticism brings the unacknowledged history of this racialization to light and shows how, even as we have rejected ethnocentric notions of “the savage,” they remain active today in everything from attacks on postmodernism to Native American land disputes. Here Bracken reveals that many of the most influential Western thinkers dabbled in savage philosophy, from Marx, Nietzsche, and Proust, to Freud, C. S. Peirce, and Walter Benjamin. For Bracken, this recourse to savage philosophy presents an opportunity to reclaim a magical criticism that can explain the very real effects created by the discourse of historians, anthropologists, philosophers, the media, and governments.
Edna Andrews Duke University Press, 1990 Library of Congress P299.M35A5 1990 | Dewey Decimal 401.41
Edna Andrews clarifies and extends the work of Roman Jakobson to develop a theory of invariants in language by distinguishing between general and contextual meaning in morphology and semantics. Markedness theory, as Jakobson conceived it, is a qualitative theory of oppositional binary relations. Andrews shows how markedness theory enables a linguist to precisely define the systemically given oppositions and hierarchies represented by linguistic categories. In addition, she redefines the relationship between Jakobsonian markedness theory and Peircean interpretants. Though primarily theoretical, the argument is illustrated with discussions about learning a second language, the relationship of linguistics to mathematics (particularly set theory, algebra, topology, and statistics) in their mutual pursuit of invariance, and issues involving grammatical gender and their implications in several languages.
In Miniature Messages, Jack Child analyzes Latin American postage stamps, revealing the messages about history, culture, and politics encoded in their design and disseminated throughout the world. While postage stamps are a sanctioned product of official government agencies, Child argues that they accumulate popular cultural value and take on new meanings as they circulate in the public sphere. As he demonstrates in this richly illustrated study, the postage stamp conveys many of the contestations and triumphs of Latin American history.
Child combines history and political science with philatelic research of nearly forty thousand Latin American stamps. He focuses on Argentina and the Southern Cone, highlighting stamps representing the consolidation of the Argentine republic and those produced under its Peronist regime. He compares Chilean stamps issued by the leftist government of Salvador Allende and by Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. Considering postage stamps produced under other dictatorial regimes, he examines stamps from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. Child studies how international conflicts have been depicted on the stamps of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and he pays particular attention to the role of South American and British stamps in establishing claims to the Malvinas/Falkland Islands and to Antarctica. He also covers the cultural and political history of stamps in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Grenada, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela and elsewhere. In Miniature Messages, Child finds the political history of modern Latin America in its “tiny posters.”
In the first comprehensive treatment of Classic Maya patron deity veneration, Joanne P. Baron demonstrates the central importance of patron deity cults in political relationships between both rulers and their subjects and among different Maya kingdoms. Weaving together evidence from inscriptions, images, and artifacts, Patron Gods and Patron Lords provides new insights into how the Classic Maya polity was organized and maintained.
Using semiotic theory, Baron draws on three bodies of evidence: ethnographies and manuscripts from Postclassic, Colonial, and modern Maya communities that connect patron saints to pre-Columbian patron gods; hieroglyphic texts from the Classic period that discuss patron deity veneration; and excavations from four patron deity temples at the site of La Corona, Guatemala. She shows how the Classic Maya used patron deity effigies, temples, and acts of devotion to negotiate group membership, social entitlements, and obligations between individuals and communities. She also explores the wider role of these processes in politics, arguing that rituals and discourses related to patron deities ultimately formulated Maya rulership as a locally oriented institution, which limited the ability of powerful kingdoms to create wider religious communities.
Applying a new theoretical approach for the archaeological study of ideology and power dynamics, Patron Gods and Patron Lords reveals an overlooked aspect of the belief system of Maya communities.
In The Politics of the Superficial: Visual Rhetoric and the Protocol of Display, Brett Ommen explores the increasing reliance on images as a mode of communication in contemporary life. He shows that graphic design is a layered experience of images and space. Before images, viewers engage in the personal experience of aesthetics and individual identity. In space, viewers engage in the negotiation of meaning and collective belonging. Graphic design, then, fits the consumerist present precisely because it prompts viewers to differentiate between our collective commitments and individual sense of self.
Ommen argues, for example, that on viewing a billboard, a driver isn’t merely being exposed to a set of commercial messages or exhortations, but rather responding in a self-aware way that differentiates her from her collective associations like Democrat, Republican, rich, poor, Catholic, or Jewish.
By examining graphic design—as a profession, practice, and academic field—as the nexus for understanding visual display in public culture, The Politics of the Superficial develops two arguments about contemporary visual communication practices: first, that the study of visual communication privileges visual content at the expense of other dynamics, such as context; and second, that interpretations focusing on content conceal the most persuasive and subversive dimensions of the visual.
Wide-ranging and stimulating, The Politics of the Superficial ultimately posits that, far from serving as a communal oasis for public imagination, contemporary visual culture offers the possibility for politically engaged communication and persuasion while simultaneously threatening the health of public discourse by atomizing its constituent parts. It will serve as a vital contribution to the field of visual rhetoric.
In Reading the Figural, or, Philosophy after the New Media D. N. Rodowick applies the concept of “the figural” to a variety of philosophical and aesthetic issues. Inspired by the aesthetic philosophy of Jean-François Lyotard, the figural defines a semiotic regime where the distinction between linguistic and plastic representation breaks down. This opposition, which has been the philosophical foundation of aesthetics since the eighteenth century, has been explicitly challenged by the new electronic, televisual, and digital media. Rodowick—one of the foremost film theorists writing today—contemplates this challenge, describing and critiquing the new regime of signs and new ways of thinking that such media have inaugurated. To fully comprehend the emergence of the figural requires a genealogical critique of the aesthetic, Rodowick claims. Seeking allies in this effort to deconstruct the opposition of word and image and to create new concepts for comprehending the figural, he journeys through a range of philosophical writings: Thierry Kuntzel and Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier on film theory; Jacques Derrida on the deconstruction of the aesthetic; Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin on the historical image as a utopian force in photography and film; and Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault on the emergence of the figural as both a semiotic regime and a new stratagem of power coincident with the appearance of digital phenomena and of societies of control. Scholars of philosophy, film theory, cultural criticism, new media, and art history will be interested in the original and sophisticated insights found in this book.
Realism for the 21st Century is a collection of thirty essays from John Deely—a major figure in contemporary semiotics and an authority on scholastic realism and the works of Charles Sanders Peirce. The volume tracks Deely’s development as a pragmatic realist, featuring his early essays on our relation to the world after Darwinism; crucial articles on logic, semiotics, and objectivity; overviews of philosophy after modernity; and a new essay on “purely objective reality.”
A Rhetoric of Style
Barry Brummett Southern Illinois University Press, 2008 Library of Congress P99.4.S62B78 2008 | Dewey Decimal 302.2
Exploring style in a global culture
In A Rhetoric of Style, Barry Brummett illustrates how style is increasingly a global system of communication as people around the world understand what it means to dress a certain way, to dance a certain way, to decorate a certain way, to speak a certain way. He locates style at the heart of popular culture and asserts that it is the basis for social life and politics in the twenty-first century.
Brummett sees style as a system of signification grounded largely in image, aesthetics, and extrarational modes of thinking. He discusses three important aspects of this system—its social and commercial structuring, its political consequences, and its role as the chief rhetorical system of the modern world. He argues that aesthetics and style are merging into a major engine of the global economy and that style is becoming a way to construct individual identity, as well as social and political structures of alliance and opposition. It is through style that we stereotype or make assumptions about others’ political identities, their sexuality, their culture, and their economic standing.
To facilitate theoretical and critical analysis, Brummett develops a systematic rhetoric of style and then demonstrates its use through an in-depth exploration of gun culture in the United States. Armed with an understanding of how this rhetoric of style works methodologically, students and scholars alike will have the tools to do their own analyses. Written in clear and engaging prose, A Rhetoric of Style presents a novel discussion of the workings of style and sheds new light on a venerable and sometimes misunderstood rhetorical concept by illustrating how style is the key to constructing a rhetoric for the twenty-first century.
Rites of Realism shifts the discussion of cinematic realism away from the usual focus on verisimilitude and faithfulness of record toward a notion of "performative realism," a realism that does not simply represent a given reality but enacts actual social tensions. These essays by a range of film scholars propose stimulating new approaches to the critical evaluation of modern realist films and such referential genres as reenactment, historical film, adaptation, portrait film, and documentary. By providing close readings of classic and contemporary works, Rites of Realism signals the need to return to a focus on films as the main innovators of realist representation. The collection is inspired by André Bazin's theories on film's inherent heterogeneity and unique ability to register contingency (the singular, one-time event). This volume features two new translations: of Bazin's seminal essay "Death Every Afternoon" and Serge Daney's essay reinterpreting Bazin's defense of the long shot as a way to set the stage for a clash or risky confrontation between man and animal. These pieces evince key concerns—particularly the link between cinematic realism and contingency—that the other essays explore further. Among the topics addressed are the provocative mimesis of Luis Buñuel's Land Without Bread; the adaptation of trial documents in Carl Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc; the use of the tableaux vivant by Wim Wenders and Peter Greenaway; and Pier Paolo Pasolini's strategies of analogy in his transposition of The Gospel According to St. Matthew from Palestine to southern Italy. Essays consider the work of filmmakers including Michelangelo Antonioni, Maya Deren, Mike Leigh, Cesare Zavattini, Zhang Yuan, and Abbas Kiarostami.
Contributors: Paul Arthur, André Bazin, Mark A. Cohen, Serge Daney, Mary Ann Doane, James F. Lastra, Ivone Margulies, Abé Mark Normes, Brigitte Peucker, Richard Porton, Philip Rosen, Catherine Russell, James Schamus, Noa Steimatsky, Xiaobing Tang
The Semiotic Self
Norbert Wiley University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress P99.W55 1994 | Dewey Decimal 302.2
In this book, Norbert Wiley offers a new interpretation of the nature of the self in society. Current theories of the self tend to either assimilate the self to a community or larger collective, or reduce the self to body. In distinct opposition to these theories, Wiley makes the case for an autonomous self, a human being who is a repository of rights, a free and equal agent in a democracy consisting of other selves.
Drawing on a fresh synthesis of the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce, George Herbert Mead, and others, Wiley argues that the self can be seen as an internal conversation, or a "trialogue" in which the present self ("I") talks to the future self ("you") about the past self ("me"). A distinctive feature of Wiley's view is that there is a mutually supportive relation between the self and democracy, and he traces this view through American history. In finding a way to decenter the self without eliminating it, Wiley supplies an alternative to current theories of postmodernism, a much-needed closure to classical pragmatism, and a new direction to neo-pragmatism.
In Semiotics of Peasants in Transition Irene Portis-Winner examines the complexities of ethnic identity in a traditional Slovene village with unique ties to an American city. At once an investigation into a particular anthropological situation and a theoretical exploration of the semiotics of ethnic culture—in this case a culture permeated by transnational influences—Semiotics of Peasants in Transition describes the complex relationships that have existed between and among the villagers remaining in Slovenia and those who, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio. Describing a process of continuous and enduring interaction between these geographically separate communities, Portis-Winner explains how, for instance, financial assistance from the emigrants enabled their Slovenian hometown to survive the economic depressions of the 1890s and 1930s. She also analyzes the extent to which memories, rituals, myths, and traditional activities from Slovenia have sustained their Cleveland relatives. The result is a unique anthropological investigation into the signifying practices of a strongly cohesive—yet geographically split—ethnic group, as well as an illuminating application of semiotic analyses to communities and the complex problems they face.
This book offers a long-awaited unified and precise treatise on construction-based grammar. The approach to grammar presented here is the union of Berkeley Construction Grammar, as represented by the early work of Charles J. Fillmore and Paul Kay, with construction HPSG as pioneered by Ivan Sag, Carl Pollard, and others. The presentation of this theory in a detailed chapter by Sag presents the full outlines of a new approach to grammar. It reflects the confluence of two separate, although converging, traditions, and constitutes a novel synthesis.
Roland Barthes's critical writings promoted postwar movements ranging from the New Novel to the Parisian version of structural analysis. As a theorist, he was inspired in large part by semiology, the general science of signs set forth in the work of Ferdinand de Saussure. This volume presents a challenging variety of essays that elaborate and comment on specific elements in the evolution of Barthes's study of signs, from the revolutionary semiology of his 1957 Mythologies to the semioclasm and semiotrophy of such post-1960s' books as S/Z,The Pleasure of the Text, and A Lover's Discourse.
The nine essays of Signs in Culture have been organized to express the striking interplay of language and writing as the ethics of form Barthes first described in his 1953 Writing Degree Zero. Each essay serves as a pivotal critical exercise beginning with or departing from Barthes's writing. Each essayist thus engages an expanded semiology which inscribes the life of signs within the institutions and practices that literary critics, philosophers, and historians alike have seen as constituting the elements of a cultural study and critique.
In Talking Heads, Benjamin Lee situates himself at the convergence of multiple disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and literary theory. He offers a nuanced exploration of the central questions shared by these disciplines during the modern era—questions regarding the relations between language, subjectivity, community, and the external world. Scholars in each discipline approach these questions from significantly different angles; in seeking to identify and define the intersection of these angles, Lee argues for the development of a new sense of subjectivity, a construct that has repercussions of immense importance beyond the humanities and into the area of politics. Talking Heads synthesizes the views and works of a breathtaking range of the most influential modern theorists of the humanities and social sciences, including Austin, Searle, Derrida, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Wittgenstein, Peirce, Frege, Kripke, Donnellan, Putnam, Saussure, and Whorf. After illuminating these many strands of thought, Lee moves beyond disciplinary biases and re-embeds within the context of the public sphere the questions of subjectivity and language raised by these theorists. In his examination of how subjectivity relates not just to grammatical patterns but also to the specific social institutions in which these patterns develop and are sustained, Lee discusses such topics as the concept of public opinion and the emergence of Western nation-states.
Theory and Practice of Sociocriticism was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Edmond Cros is a leading French Hispanicist whose work is unique in Continental theory because it brings Spanish and Mexican texts into current literary debates, which have so far centered mainly on the French and German traditions. Equally distinctive is the nature of his work, which Cros terms sociocriticism. Unlike most sociological approaches to literature, which leave the structure of texts untouched, sociocriticism aims to prove that the encounter with "ideological traces," and with antagonistic tensions between social classes, is central to any reading of texts. Cros's method distinguishes between the "semiotic and "ideological" elements within a text, and involves the patient, exacting reconstruction of the concrete text from these elements, a process that enables the sociocritic to interpret its fault lines, its internal contradictions - in the end , its irreducibly social nature.
As its title suggests, Theory and Practice of Sociocriticism is structured in two parts. Its opening chapters analyze sociological theories of discourse, including those of Foucault, Bakhtin, and Goldman; in the second part, Cros applies theory to practice in readings of specific works: the film Scarface, contemporary Mexican poetry and prose (Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes), and the picaresque novel of the Spanish Golden Age. In their foreword, Jurgen Link and Ursula Link-Heer differentiate sociocriticism from other social approaches to literature and show how Cros's method works in specific textual readings. They emphasize his resistance to the reductive modes and "misreadings" that dominate much of contemporary theory.
Edmond Cros is a professor of literary theory and Hispanic studies at the Universite Paul Valery in Montpellier, France, and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Jurgen Link teaches at the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum and Ursula Link-Heer at the Universitat Siegen, both in West Germany.
To Destroy Painting
Louis Marin University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress ND1140.M3413 1995 | Dewey Decimal 750.1
The work of the eminent French cultural critic Louis Marin (1931-92) is becoming increasingly important to English-speaking scholars concerned with issues of representation. To Destroy Painting, first published in France in 1977, marks a milestone in Marin's thought about the aims of painting in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A meditation on the work of Poussin and Caravaggio and on their milieux, the book explores a number of notions implied by theories of painting and offers insight into the aims and effects of visual representaion.
Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time
Roman JakobsonKrystyna Pomorska and Stephen Rudy, Editors University of Minnesota Press, 1985 Library of Congress P49.J35 1985 | Dewey Decimal 808.00141
Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time was first published in 1985. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Roman Jakobson, one of the most important thinkers of our century, was bet known for his role in the rise and spread of the structural approach to linguistics and literature. His formative structuralism approach to linguistics and literature. His formative years with the Russian Futurists and subsequent involvement in the Moscow and Prague Linguistic Circles (which he co-founded) resulted in a lifelong devotion to fundamental change in both literary theory and linguistics. In bringing each to bear upon the other, he enlivened both disciplines; if a literary work was to a him a linguistic fact, it was also a semiotic phenomenon - part of the entire universe of signs; and above all, for both language and literature, time was an integral factor, one that produced momentum and change. Jakobson's books and articles, written in many languages and published around the world, were collected in a monumental seven-volume work, Selected Writings (1962 -1984), which has been available only to a limited readership. Not long before his death in 1982, Jakobson brought together this group of eleven essays—Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time — to serve as an introduction to some of his linguistic theories and especially, to his work in poetics.
Jakobson's introductory article and the editor's preface together suggest the range of his work and provide a context for the essays in this book, which fall into three groups. Those in the first section reflect his preoccupation with the dynamic role of time in language and society. Jakobson challenges Saussure's rigid distinction between language as a static (synchronic) system and its historical (diachronic) development - a false opposition, in his view, since it ignores the role of time in the present moment of language. The essays on time counter the notion that structuralism itself, as heir to Saussure's work, has discarded history; in Jakabson's hands, we see a struggle to integrate the two modes. In central group essays, on poetic theory, he shows how the grammatical categories of everyday speech become the expressive, highly charged language of poetry. These essays also deal with the related issues of subliminal and intentional linguistic patterns of poetry. These essays also deal with the related issues of subliminal and intentional linguistic patterns in poetry—areas that are problematic in structural analysis—and provide exemplary readings of Pushkin and Yeats. The last essays, on Mayakovsky and Holderlin, make clear that Jakobson was aware of the essential (and in these instances, tragic) bond between a poet's life and art. The book closes with essays by Linda Waugh, Krystyna Pomorska, and Igor Melchuk that provide a thoughtful perspective on Jakobson's work as a whole.
In a book of intellectual breadth, James Wertsch not only offers a synthesis and critique of all Vygotsky’s major ideas, but also presents a program for using Vygotskian theory as a guide to contemporary research in the social sciences and humanities. He draws extensively on all Vygotsky’s works, both in Russian and in English, as well as on his own studies in the Soviet Union with colleagues and students of Vygotsky.
Vygotsky’s writings are an enormously rich source of ideas for those who seek an account of the mind as it relates to the social and physical world. Wertsch explores three central themes that run through Vygotsky’s work: his insistence on using genetic, or developmental, analysis; his claim that higher mental functioning in the individual has social origins; and his beliefs about the role of tools and signs in human social and psychological activity Wertsch demonstrates how the notion of semiotic mediation is essential to understanding Vygotsky’s unique contribution to the study of human consciousness.
In the last four chapters Wertsch extends Vygotsky’s claims in light of recent research in linguistics, semiotics, and literary theory. The focus on semiotic phenomena, especially human language, enables him to integrate findings from the wide variety of disciplines with which Vygotsky was concerned Wertsch shows how Vygotsky’s approach provides a principled way to link the various strands of human science that seem more isolated than ever today.
In When Buildings Speak,Anthony Alofsin explores the rich yet often overlooked architecture of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire and its successor states. He shows that several different styles emerged in this milieu during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Moreover, he contends that each of these styles communicates to us in a manner resembling language and its particular means of expression.
Covering a wide range of buildings—from national theaters to crematoria, apartment buildings to warehouses, and sanatoria to postal savings banks—Alofsin proposes a new way of interpreting this language. He calls on viewers to read buildings in two ways: through their formal elements and through their political, social, and cultural contexts. By looking through Alofsin’s eyes, readers can see how myriad nations sought to express their autonomy by tapping into the limitless possibilities of art and architectural styles. And such architecture can still speak very powerfully to us today about the contradictory issues affecting parts of the former Habsburg Empire.
“The book itself as a production is spectacular.”—David Dunster, Architectural Review