Orchestrating these and other diverse characters into his multilayered semiotic adventure, Eco has created a superb cerebral entertainment.
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The book includes new findings in cognitive semantics relating to rhetorical figures such as hyperbole, gradation and accumulation. Cognitive semantics has focused so far on metaphor. This book fills the gap and gives an account of other rhetorical figures. It contains also a historical review of major theories of the sublime by Pseudo-Longinos, Boileau, Burke, Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and others, i.e. it spans a period from the first century AD till twentieth century. The authors answer the question how is it possible to present the unpresentable. It is an attempt to outline and develop a model of the rhetoric of the sublime. The model consists of three elements: antimimetic evocation of the unimaginable, a mimesis of emotions and figures of the discourse of the sublime.
The books argues in favour of non-cartesian semantics which takes into account not only reason but also emotions, especially very intensive ones. However, the authors also express reservations regarding omnipresent rhetoric of the sublime. They follow those thinkers in the human history who argued against fanaticism and in favour of tolerance and empathy. The book is an original result of an interdisciplinary and international collaboration, lasting many years, between a cognitive scientist and a linguist and literary scholar.
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"... draws on philosophy, linguistics, sociology, anthropology and aesthetics and refers to a wide range of scholarship... raises many fascinating questions." —Language in Society
"... a major contribution to the field of semiotic studies." —Robert Scholes, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
"... the most significant text on the subject published in the English language that I know of." —Arthur Asa Berger, Journal of Communication
Eco’s treatment demonstrates his mastery of the field of semiotics. It focuses on the twin problems of the doctrine of signs—communication and signification—and offers a highly original theory of sign production, including a carefully wrought typology of signs and modes of production.