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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 16, 2019

Hi-Fi, Lo-Fi, No-Fi, and Wi-Fi Interpretation

Massimo Leone
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

The article seeks to establish a dialog, from a semiotic point of view, with the grand cartography of methods in literary criticism proposed by Prof. Zhang Jiang in his famous essay “Imposed interpretation.” While acknowledging that Prof. Zhang Jiang identifies the most crucial weak points of the semiotic methodology, the article nevertheless takes these criticisms as occasions to improve the approach of semiotics, as regards especially the following oppositions: diagrammatic over-schematization versus quest for a more judicious application of the method; overenthusiastic adoption of mathematical formulas versus cautious cross-fertilization between humanities and scientific thought; frantic pursuance of theoretical uniformity versus humble acceptance of literary idiosyncrasies; fundamentalist proclamation of the self-reliance of the text versus thoughtful consideration of the evident links between the text and its contexts. This new theoretical approach, wherein traditional semiotics improves itself in dialog with Prof. Zhang Jiang’s criticisms, is exemplified with reference to the concept of interpretive fidelity, which is categorized into different levels and dimensions of adhesion between the textual structure and the discourse of the meta-language interpreting it: hi-fi, low-fi, no-fi, and wi-fi interpretation.


So spake the Seraph Abdiel faithful found, Among the faithless, faithful only hee; Among innumerable false, unmov’d, Unshak’n, unseduc’d, unterrifi’d […] (John Milton 1667, Paradise Lost: 5.896–9)


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Published Online: 2019-08-16
Published in Print: 2019-08-27

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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