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April 9, 2007

de Man showed me the sign

de Man, ''Semilogy and Rhetoric'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

The reproduction of signs has come loose in this article.

"The interpretation of the sign is not, for Pierce, a meaning but another sign; it is a reading, not a decodage, and this reading has, in its turn, to be interpreted into another sign, and so on ad infinitum" (367).

Basically, one sign gives birth to another. Within de Man's essay, it is described to us that a sign is not the thing but a meaning derived from teh thing by a process called representation. The sign entertains with its object. Readers are to interpret the signs in order to comprehend the meaning it is conveying.

de Man spoke of Pierce who laid the philosophical foundation for modern seminology, the study of signs as signifiers. Pierce stressed the distinction between grammar and rhetoric in his celebrated and so suggestively unfathomable definiton of the sign (367).

Posted by Denamarie at April 9, 2007 6:07 PM

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Comments

Good point. Signs keep "giving birth" as you said. I described it like those Russian dolls that open until they keep getting smaller and smaller. The meanings get more and more narrow as we ask and answer questions. It's up to us to ask the right questions.

Posted by: Erin at April 10, 2007 12:07 PM

I absolutely agree that the meaning is more of a process than a simple interpretation most times, and I agree with Erin on the "Russian Doll" theory, considering how we find one meaning, which leads to another meaning, which leads to another meaning. At the same time, we must not overlook an intentional meaning that is lying right on the surface. I think that de Man is missing the simplicity of interpreting literature, but at the same time, that is the basic conventions of poststructural criticism I guess. That is the only issue that I have had with poststructural criticism so far, but I do admire the ambiguity as an unraveling of meaning from de Man. Also, the use of connotation and denotation in literature is a convention of this theory that I think is more than useful to this arguement. If we are going to search everywhere in the text for meaning, we need to look EVERYWHERE, including on the surface, and what lies underneath.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at April 12, 2007 4:39 PM

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