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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 2015, Issue 207


Icarus ignored: Riffaterre and Eagleton on Auden’s Musée des Beaux Arts

John A. F. Hopkins
Published Online: 2015-07-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0049


In his 2007 book dealing with poetry in English, Terry Eagleton sacrifices integrity on the altar of the popularizing impulse. His partial analysis of an Auden poem also treated by Michael Riffaterre reveals the advantages of a semiotic approach, which can show how images on the textual surface signify indirectly by pointing to an underlying matricial structure. The author’s expanded version of Riffaterrian theory accounts for the added complexity conferred by two matrices, each founded on a proposition. In sum, Eagleton’s employment of a traditional “lit-crit” approach – with its prose-based preoccupation with surface details – fails to identify the semiotic structure of the poem as a signifying totality.

Keywords: Riffaterre; Eagleton; Auden; indirect signification; matricial structure; interpretant


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-07-17

Published in Print: 2015-10-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2015, Issue 207, Pages 185–200, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0049.

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