Literature, Criticism, and the Theory of Signs

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Following Peirce in his non-reductive understanding of the theory of signs as a branch of aesthetics, this book reconceptualizes the processes of literary creation, appreciation and reading in semiotic terms. Here is a carefully developed theory of what sort of criteria serve to distinguish apposite from inapposite readings of literary works-of-art. Given Peirce's triadic account of signification, it enlarges Aristotle's view of mimesis as expressive making into an understanding of literary works as deliberatively designed sign-systems belonging to Peirce's eighth class of signs. In parallel with Bakhtin's account of the dialogical nature of literary work (and its success in exposing misreadings of Dostoyevsky), this work categorizes in precise theoretical terms what is wrong with the non-dialogical readings which treat Plato's dialogues as doctrinal tractates. As a study in literary theory finally, and on the basis of apt distinctions between exhibitive, active, and assertive judgments, this book re-demarcates and distinguishes the discipline of literary criticism from that of literary theory, and both of these from the work of literary creation itself.
[Semiotic Crossroads, 7]  1995.  x, 168 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Preface
ix
Introduction: A Guide to the Project
1
Chapter 1. Bakhtin, Dialogism, and Plato's Dialogues
11
1 The Dialogical nature of Dostoyevsky's Narratives
11
2 The Dialogical Nature of Speech and Thought
16
3 Dialogical Poetics in Dostoyevsky and Plato
18
4 Problems in Bakhtin's Poetics
21
5 The Voices That We Hear in Plato's Dialogues
24
Chapter 2. The Text, the Work, and the Reader
30
1 The Need for Text-Reception History and an Aesthetics of Reading
30
2 Peirce's Account of Interpretants and their Signs
33
3 The Generic Identity of the Literary Work, and Its Design
39
4 The Mode of Judgment of the Work, and of Its Responsive Articulation
45
Chapter 3. Deconstruction as Poetics
54
1 Deconstruction and the Sense of Structure
54
2 Deconstructive Attitudes toward Writing
57
3 Dialogism and Sophism, Logicism and Creative Rationality
61
4 The Aesthetics of Non-Graphicist Deconstruction
67
Chapter 4. The Modes of Judgment and the Nature of Criticism
74
1 Reprise on the Semiotic Approach to Literary Significance
74
2 The Poetics of Aristotle and Buchler
78
3 Poetic Responsiveness as the Model of Valid Reading
81
4 Mimesis as Re-enactment and Expression
84
5 Assertive, Active, and Exhibitive Judgment
88
6 Reading as a Communicative Interaction
91
7 Testing Peirce's Semeiotic: The Problem of Metaphor
96
Chapter 5. The Contexts of Reading
104
1 Flawed Texts, Flawed Readings
104
2 The Transactional Nature of Critical Reading
108
3 Poststructural Criticism, Modernism and Postmodernism
112
4 Context-Determined Misreadings
116
Chapter 6. The Semiotics of Reading
122
1 The Reader
122
2 The Critic
126
3 On the Dependency and Autonomy of Criticism
130
Appendix: Ten Classes of Signs
136
Bibliography
140
Index
150
Subjects

Literature & Literary Studies

Semiotics
BIC Subject: DSB – Literary studies: general
BISAC Subject: LIT000000 – LITERARY CRITICISM / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  95005028