Sites of Sign-Production and Interpretation
Keywords:Philosophical Hermeneutics, Translational Hermeneutics, Hypertext, Interpretive Arc, The Waste Land
AbstractT.S. Eliot’s query in The Waste Land, “Who is the third who walks always beside you?” may be said to sum up the hermeneutic situation of any language act, whether of sign production or interpretation. Whereas traditional topoi of expressionist aesthetics, such as the artist’s subjectivity, empirical psychology, truthfulness, intentionality, etc. have become irrelevant in the heteroglottic discourse of the most famous dirge on the decaying West, Eliot’s awareness of the matrical role of cultural semiosis allows us to place him among the founding fathers of semiotic aesthetics. The anagnorisis episode in The Waste Land is one of appropriate reading of the body of Christ through knowledge of the crucifixion scene and associated symbolism.Rooted in the insights of Charles Peirce Sanders and Charles Morris, and enlarged by post-war contributors, such as Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, Michael B. Hardt, Richard Rudner, Foucault, Vattimo, Baudrillard and Deleuze, the semiotic, cultural materialist, or genetic approach to art makes interpretation dependent on a mediating third (Peirce: the Interpretant), which is variously related to context, regime of signification, episteme, schemata, generic convention, structure of feeling, triangulation of desire ...
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