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In this groundbreaking book, Riffaterre provides the key to all modern poetry which signifies indirectly, that is through sets of symbols whose meaning does not appear on the surface of the text.
Please consult my 1994 book (Presentation et critique de la theorie semiotique litteraire de Michael Riffaterre, Sophia Univ. Press, Tokyo), which expands the theory to enable it to account for the binary underlying structure of modern poetry, and shows how the semiotic triad of text, intertext, and interpretant produce a radically innovative contrast with the sociolectic context of the porn.
J A F Hopkins (Ph.D.)
Riffaterre was a major theorist, a Comparative Literature scholar and a semiotician (rather in the sense of Peirce, Barthes and Eco than in the sense of Greimas and the Paris school). His Semiotics of Poetry, written and first published in English, has been translated to other languages than French, it is intended for all competent and investigative readers of lyrical poetry. Its apt and subtle combination of semiological, historical, aesthetic and psychoanalytic approaches makes it one of the four or five fundamental resources on the topic, along with the such of Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity. His approach is compatible and can well be complemented with Francesco Orlando's Freudian theory of literature. It is also witty in many places and free from jargon, unless one considers as jargon any formulation of concepts. A highly recommended book to all serious students of lyrical poetry who want to enjoy it more rather than confine it to the realm of "mystery".