Cinema and Semiotic: Peirce and Film Aesthetics, Narration and Representation (Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication Series)

Cinema and Semiotic: Peirce and Film Aesthetics, Narration and Representation (Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication Series)

by P. Johannes Ehrat, SJ

Hardcover(2nd ed.)



'Meaning' in cinema is very complex, and the flood of theories that define it have, in certain ways, left cinematic meaning meaningless. Johannes Ehrat's analysis of meaning in cinema has convinced him that what is needed is greater philosophical reflection on the construction of meaning. In Cinema and Semiotic, he attempts to resurrect meaning by employing Charles S. Peirce's theories on semiotics to debate the major contemporary film theories that have diluted it.

Based on Peirce's Semiotic and Pragmatism, Ehrat offers a novel approach to cinematic meaning in three central areas: narrative enunciation, cinematic world appropriation, and cinematic perception. Attempting a comprehensive theory of cinema – instead of the regional 'middle-ground' theories that function only on certain 'common-sense' assumptions that borrow uncritically from psychophysiology – Ehrat further demonstrates how a semiotic approach grasps the nature of time, not in a psychological manner, but rather cognitively, and provides a new understanding of the particular filmic sign process that relates a sign to the existence or non-existence of objects. Never before has Peirce been so fruitfully employed for the comprehension of meaning in cinema.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802039125
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 03/28/2005
Series: Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication Series
Edition description: 2nd ed.
Pages: 670
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.29(h) x 2.07(d)

About the Author

Johannes Ehrat is a professor extraordinarius in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana.

Table of Contents



PART 1: On Signs, Categories, and Reality and How They Relate to Cinema

  1. The Use of Signs
  2. The Construction of Meaning
  3. Investigating Conduct as a Form
  4. The Categories of Behaviour
  5. The Categorial Form of Behaviour
  6. Logic of Relations
  7. The Metaphysics of Pragmaticistic Semiotic

PART II: Semiotic and Its Practical Use for Cinema

  1. Cinema 'Is' a Class of Sign
  2. The Iconism of Cinema: A first Semiotic Approach
  3. (From Film Pragmatics to) The Pragmaticism of Cinema

PART III: What 'Is' Cinema?

  1. Cinema 'Is' Syntagma
  2. Cinema 'Is' Sign Function
  3. Cinema 'Is' Percept
  4. Cinema 'Is' Moving Matter or Time
  5. What Cinema Becomes: Theory Objects Compared, Reconciled, Rejected
  6. Intermezzo: Cinematic Imagination of Godard's Je vous salue, Marie

PART IV: Narration in Film and Film Theory

  1. The Narratological Question, Peirce, and Cinema
  2. The Semiotic of Narrative Time
  3. Cinematic Time
  4. Intermezzo: Two Kinds of Narrative Time in Dreyer's Order

PART V: Narration, Time, and Narratologies

  1. Ricoeur’s Mimesis
  2. Heidegger’s Ekstasis
  3. Aristotle’s Poesis
  4. Greimas’s Semiosis
  5. Bordwell’s Formalism
  6. Olmi’s Genesi

PART VI: Enunciation in Cinema

  1. Enunciation: From Vagueness to Generality
  2. Narrative Enunciation
  3. Rhetorical Enunciation in Cinema: Meaning in Figures
  4. Aesthetic Enunciation in Film

Epilogue: Two Aesthetic Processes in Cinema




Filmography, by Director

What People are Saying About This

Floyd Merrell

'It would be difficult to find a scholar in communication, film, and cultural theory as conversant regarding Peircian semiotics as Johannes Ehrat. This richly argued book is truly compelling, and a valuable contribution to the field.'

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