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186 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 66, NUMBER 1 (1990) hidden formalism' (193)—and to restore author and context without, on the other hand, falling into biographical determinism. C suggests that Spitzer correctly saw the dilemma but couldn't find the solution, falling back, for author/context , on the romantic abstract notion of a high aesthetic epistemology of context/production which is (unfortunately) detached from social behavior. In current criticism C sees directions congenial to Spitzer's search: in reader-response criticism, since its own internal logic leads it from a concern with factors of response to a concern with factors of production; in the reception theory of such German critics as Hans Robert Jauss and Wolfgang Iser, because of their 'break with the acontextual' (188); in the new historicism, because of its intertextual linking of literary work to the 'texts' of the social/ historical events and conditions of the author's time; and even in such disparate critics as Barbara Herrnstein Smith, E. D. Hirsch, and Morton Bloomfield, because their approaches all in some way acknowledge authorial intention. Most hopeful of all for C, however, is the 'modified speech act theory' (193) of Mary Louise Pratt, for her 'portrait of both reader and writer as socially constituted, yet socially constituting , allows a portrayal of author and context that is neither romantically individualistic nor psychologically deterministic, and it provides descriptive power more inclusive than that belonging to a scientific methdology' (189). Approaches of this type 'may not be exactly [the resolutions of stylistics' problems] that Spitzer would have chosen, but they follow the directions that his efforts first mapped out' (193). [TimothyC. Frazer, Western Illinois University.] Principles of semiotic. By D. S. Clarke. London & New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987. Pp. 164. Despite its title, this book is anything but an introduction to semiotics. Rather, as the spelling of the word "semiotic" suggests, it is an analytical monograph by a philosopher whose concern , as he says in his Preface, is to 'reestablish semiotic on the basis of principles more consistent with its past history and especially with the guiding ideas found in the writings of [Charles Sanders] Peirce and [Charles] Morris', and thereby to retrieve it from 'the tradition of European semiology (or "cultural semiotics")' interested mainly in literature, theatre, and film (ix). Having established in Ch. 1 ('Introduction') that 'semiotic as a sub-discipline in philosophy ... has been virtually ignored by the two main schools of the philosophy of language in this century' (11), Clarke continues with a brief 'History of semiotic' (Ch. 2). The close analysis constituting the remaining three chapters develops ideas of Clarke's own mentor, Charles Hartshorne , whose 'vision ofhuman experience being continuous with that found in all forms of life' Clarke considers 'exalted' (x). He begins with 'Natural signs' (Ch. 3) or 'natsigns '. Though natsigns are the oldest object of semiotic consideration (Clarke cites the discussion of medical symptoms by Hippocrates), his concern is a definition that distinguishes them clearly from linguistic signs: ? natsign may be defined as an event having significance for an interpreter which is not produced for the purposes of communication and whose interpretation does not require an inference from a linguistic generalization' (50); 'As signs without internal subject-predicate structure and without the features of signs used with intent to communicate , natsigns are logically primitive' (7172 ). Clarke's next logical step lies in signs used for 'Communication' (Ch. 4), or 'comsigns'. Much of the chapter takes issue with the formulations of other philosophers and is difficult to follow without detailed knowledge of their work. It concludes, however, with a useful 'review ofthe principal features of language' (96), which he considers to be semanticity, conventionality, semantic-field placement, duality of patterning, grammaticality, and displacement (temporal or spatial). Only the final feature is, in Clarke's view, uniquely characteristic of human communication : 'Once the displacement enabled by the subject-predicate structure ofsentences was achieved, man could anticipate and react to what was remote in time and space' (102). The book concludes with a discussion of 'Language' (Ch. 5) which is at once dense and, as the author admits, 'cursory and partial' (137). Clarke follows Morris in defining a lansign as 'any combination of morphemes capable...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 186-187
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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