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Indiana University Press


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Universe of the Mind
A Semiotic Theory of Culture
Yuri M. Lotman
Introduction by Umberto Eco
Translated by Ann Shukman

A major book by one of the initiators of cultural studies.

Universe of the Mind is an ambitious, complex, and wide-ranging book that semioticians, textual critics, and those interested in cultural studies will find stimulating and immensely suggestive." —Journal of Communication

Soviet semiotics offers a distinctive, richly productive approach to literary and cultural studies and Universe of the Mind represents a summation of the intellectual career of the man who has done most to guarantee this." —Slavic and East European Journal

Universe of the Mind addresses three main areas: meaning and text, culture, and history. The result is a full-scale attempt to demonstrate the workings of the semiotic space or intellectual world. Part One is concerned with the ways that texts generate meaning. Part Two addresses Lotman’s central idea of the semiosphere—the domain in which all semiotic systems can function—presented through an analogy with the global biosphere. Part Three focuses on semiotics from the point of view of history.

A seminal text in cultural semiotics, the book’s ambitious scope also makes it applicable to disciplines outside semiotics. The book will be of great interest to those concerned with cultural studies, anthropology, Slavic studies, critical theory, philosophy, and historiography.

Yuri Mikhailovich Lotman is the founder of the Moscow-Tartu School and the initiator of the discipline of cultural semiotics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780253214058
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 03/22/2001
Series: Second World Series
Pages: 302
Sales rank: 899,364
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Yuri Mikhailovich Lotman is the founder of the Moscow-Tartu School and the initiator of the discipline of cultural semiotics.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Unberto Eco

Notes to Preface

Part One: The Text as a Meaning-Generating Mechanism

1. Three Functions of the Text
2. Autocommunication: ‘I’ and ‘Other’ as Addressees
3. Rhetoric as a Mechanism for Meaning-Generation
4. Iconic Rhetoric
5. The Text as Process of Movement: Author to Audience, Author to Text
6. The Symbol as Plot-Gene
7. The Symbol in the Cultural System
Notes to Part One

Part Two: The Semiosphere

8. Semiotic Space
9. The Notion of Boundary
10. Dialogue Mechanisms
11. The Semiosphere and the Problem of Plot
12. Symbolic Spaces
1. Geographical Space in Russian Medieval Texts
2. The Journey of Ulysses in Dante’s Divine Comedy
3. The ‘Home’ in Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
4. The Symbolism of St. Petersburg
13. Some Conclusions
Notes to Part Two

Part Three: Cultural Memory, History, and Semiotics

14. The Problem of the Historical Fact
15. Historical Laws and the Structure of the Text
16. An Alternative: Culture Without Literacy or Culture Before Culture?
17. The Role of Typological Symbols in the History of Culture
18. Can There Be a Science of History and What Are Its Functions in the Cultural System?
19. Conclusion
Notes to Part Three


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