Literary Discourse: A Semiotic-pragmatic Approach to Literature

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University of Toronto Press, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 489 pages
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At a moment when 'literature' threatens to be collapsed into other discourses, or to be subsumed by such terms as 'narrative' and 'genre, ' Jurgen Dines Johansen, although he recognizes its protean nature, focuses on literature itself as it relates to other discourses. Using the semiotic theory of the American philosopher Charles S. Peirce as the principal influence, Johansen applies, in a highly erudite fashion, psychoanalysis, psychology, literary hermeneutics, literary history, Habermasian communication, and discourse theory to literature, and, in the process, redefines it.

The text is divided into three major sections: an introductory exposition of the Peircean sign concept and the concept of discourse; an extensive discussion of various apexes of the semiotic pyramid; and a semiotic analysis of the hermeneutic problems of interpreting literature based on the theoretical work of Peirce, Habermas, and Gadamer. Such an ambitious project provides scholars not only with a pragmatic, multi-functional definition of literature but also with a thorough examination of the applicability of theory as it relates to analytic procedures.

 

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Contents

Literature?
3
The Todorov Hypothesis
10
From Sign to Dialogue
25
Discourse and Text
74
Literature as Imitation and Model
113
Selfrepresentation and Analogy in Literature
174
Subjectivity
228
The Interpreters
289
Interpreting Literature
353
CONCLUSION
415
Notes
433
Bibliography
457
Index
475
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Jørgen Dines Johansen is Professor of General and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Center for Literature and Semiotics at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense.

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