Large Scale Stylizations

Begins 12:05pm

There are also ‘large-scale stylizations’ which Eco lists on page 239 of A Theory of Semiotics.  The listed ten range from literary and musical genres to kitsch art.  A symphony, for example, once experienced as a complex text with exposure and time is eventually received simply as music.  The need for analysis and scrutiny is reduced by repeated ‘listenings’.

[SS Is that even a word?  Seems really clumsy way to say that something becomes easier to understand the more times you hear it.]

Distinguishing between a large-scale stylization and an invention is ‘a decision’ that is made not by the sender but the addressee.  (p239)

[OS Well the sender of this inventive blog/blogged invention needs to leave to collect someone from the train.  Writing a PhD does not run as smoothly as a European train timetable!]

Suspended 12:14pm

Continued 2 days later at 1:05pm

[OS I was thinking about the way I am reading Eco’s A Theory of Semiotics, and notice that when I approach it page-by-page I ‘get’ the detail, but ‘feel’ I miss something.  When I approach it in blocks, then detail fades a bit but something larger is grasped.  This is not a question about research methods, but more about the ‘role of the reader’.  Eco has written at length about this subject in his book The Role of The Reader.  Texts are not only generated, but also interpreted.  I am becoming aware of the various roles through this Phd process.  What I am noticing is the way I generate this text (one of three for my Phd) will effect how it is interpreted.  The way I read Eco’s work does, and is, affecting my understanding and formatting choices in how I present my interpretations.  Eco’s A Theory of Semiotics is formatted over 354 pages (including notes, references and bibliography).  It is not only ‘divided’ into 4 chapters, but it also has sub-headings within each.  Chapter 2 has 15 sub-headings.  It’s a chunky work.  Blogging is a format that seems to fit.]

Eco sums up his section on stylizations by saying: “Thus stylizations are catchreses of previous inventions, super-signs that could and should convey a complex discourse (being a text) and indeed almost take on the function of proper names.”  With time, experience and successive exposure a ‘text’ that was once received as difficult (a ratio difficilis) can be acquired simply (a ratio facilis). (p 240)

Vectors on the other hand have features that combine with features of other systems to make up an expression.  Their features are not combinable with features of the same system.  The examples of the ‘pointing finger’ and ‘arrow’ are used by Eco to illustrate how kinesic configurations and spatial dimensions can combine to provide a feature of movement and direction.  A pointing finger and an arrow suggest a direction and movement toward something.  But the addressee does not physically move or follow the direction. (p 240)

Eco suggests that we ‘free’ the term ‘direction’ from spatial connotations so we can see the other features of vectors. There is also direction in an increasing or decreasing vocal pitch.  The way a question is intoned can produce a vectoralization.  The meaning of the phrase /John Beats Mary/ is changed completely if the direction in the system is changed by repositioning the proper names.  In this sense the vector of the phrase makes its meaning understandable.  Vectors are neither signs nor complete expressions, but are “productive features” that combined with others contributes to expressions. (p 241)

Ends 2:26pm

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