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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2007, Issue 165


Semiosis, art, and literature

Barend van Heusden
Published Online: 2007-07-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/SEM.2007.036


The ‘state of literature’ in a visual culture is analyzed against the background of a theoretical semiotic framework based upon the distinction between three types of signs: one-place images, two-place symbols, and three-place structures. It is argued that literature is linguistic mimetic meta-representation. The semiotic perspective allows us to deal, in a productive way, with a number of key issues in literary theory (such as ‘literariness,’ literature versus entertainment, and literary diachrony). Moreover, a methodology for the study of literature and the arts in culture is proposed, consisting of three complementary approaches or ‘strategies’: the phenomenological, the hermeneutical, and the empirical.

Keywords: semiosis; culture; art; literature; entertainment; mimesis

About the article

Barend van Heusden

His research interests include the semiotics of culture and cognition and the semiotics of art. His recent publications include ‘Cassirers Ariadnefaden — Anthropologie und Semiotik’ (2003); ‘A bandwidth model of semiotic evolution’ (2004); ‘Torn between two (autonomous) lovers: Mimesis and beauty in modern art’; and ‘Künstlerische Prägnanz’ (in press).

Published Online: 2007-07-31

Published in Print: 2007-06-19

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2007, Issue 165, Pages 133–147, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/SEM.2007.036.

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