By Thomas A. Sebeok
255 paper again publication on Semiotic Inquiry.
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Extra info for American Signatures: Semiotic Inquiry and Method (Oklahoma Project for Discourse and Theory)
Of course the temporal dimensions of my harlequin braid enfold but a moment in history. Of forty thousand antecedent generations of humans, less than one-thousandthabout a century and a halfproduced the actors in this domestic saga. The first one hundred years or so of this period are already a matter of more or less detailed, if nonetheless controversial, record, on which this essay may throw a different light. As to the most recent third, I remain, if not an altogether innocent bystander, at least one living witness.
The burden of this particular account is to depict in rough-hewn fashion the story of semiotics in this country, past and present, and perhaps to extrapolate cautiously from the known to the unknown. I intend to stay clear of a rigid chronology here, relying instead on the quasicinematic principle of flashbacks and flashforwards, transporting my reader as and where appropriate within the confines of my own tenaciously associative memory. So the following narrative will on occasion proceed by rapid projection of discrete snapshots of persons, ideas, incidents, and maybe of dreams as wellonto the reader's mental screen.
Fig. 1-2 Garrick Mallery. (Photo courtesy Smithsonian Institute) < previous page page_28 next page > < previous page page_29 next page > Page 29 While Johnson's work was semiotic in every respect except its terminology, Mallery, whom Georges Mounin dubbed "a born semiologist" (1985:73), was a semiotician au pied de la lettre. He employed both the technical nounnote its spelling (Sebeok 1985b:5152)and the adjective freely and with astonishing accuracy and versatility. ) In 1880, for example, Mallery characterized his own writings as native semiotics (reprinted in Umiker-Sebeok and Sebeok 1978:8).
American Signatures: Semiotic Inquiry and Method (Oklahoma Project for Discourse and Theory) by Thomas A. Sebeok