Literature, Drama & Film

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    The Sound-Symbolic Quality of Word-Initial Gr-Cluster in Middle English Alliterative Verse
    (The Modern Language Society of Helsinki, 2001) Sadowski, Piotr
    Sound symbolism or linguistic iconicity, is based on the assumption that language contains instances of a natural, imitative, non-arbitrary connection between the form of the linguistic sign and its meaning. At the same time the main thrust of modern, that is, post-Saussurean linguistics strongly supports the essentially arbitrary nature of the linguistic sign, a position that has acquired the status of a dogma among most linguists. But as early 1922 Otto Jespersen seriously considered sound symbolism as a legitimate, if peripheral function of language (1922: 396-411). And after him Edward Sapir (1929:225-239) and later Roman Jakobson (1987 [1979]:182-196) were likewise drawn to the idea of a more natural reciprocity between sound and sense, especially in poetic language. In recent years the orthodox view of the nature of the linguistic sign has been more comprehensibly challenged in a cross- cultural and cross-linguistic collaborative study of sound symbolism edited by Leanne Hinton et al. (Hinton 1994), and most recently in Earl R Anderson’s A Grammar of Iconism(1998), where the author, writes that while structuralists were right to insist that all linguistic are arbitrary, they were wrong to leap to the conclusion that no linguistic signs are non-arbitrary: iconic or sound-symbolic signs, as partially resembling their referents, are composed of both arbitrary and non-arbitrary features (1998:29).
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    Towards systems semiotics: some remarks and (hopefully useful) definitions
    (SemiotiX New Series, 2010-03) Sadowski, Piotr
    Investigations into semiotic theory typically begin with the fundamental question: what is a sign? A definition is then offered, usually quoted from an established authority (such as C. S. Peirce), to get the argument started. But an a priori definition immediately begs a basic methodological question: how does the author of such a definition know that he or she is right? How did C. S. Peirce for example know that a sign is what his celebrated definition (Peirce 1998: 135) says it is. He may well have been right but he gives us no proof of that. His and similar ex cathedra definitions used in semiotics are often little more than intellectual opinions and intuitions presented to the reader to be accepted on faith, but they are not logical conclusions deriving from clearly stated premises. So how else can we arrive at a logically valid and possibly useful understanding of signs?
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    Literature as interaction : a systems model of literary composition and reception
    (Konstanta Publishers, 2000) Sadowski, Piotr
    can it be reduced to a selected element or types of elements. For example, a reduction of literary meaning to a single factor: be it the socio -economic conditions in which the text is produced (as in Marxist criticism), the author's intimate personal history (as in Freudian criticism), the intrinsic aesthetic qualities of the text itself(as in Criticism), or the reader 's subjective, associative response to the text (as in deconstructive criticism), betokens a fragmentary and therefore reductionist approach literary meaning. In an integrative model postulated by systems science the literary process is viewed as consisting of interrelated systems involving the author and reader as autonomous systems3, with their personalities, life hi stories, and literary competences; the text as a linguistic medium of communication possessing its structure; and the socio-cultural environment in which both the author, the reader, and the text are immersed, with every system involved affecting and being affected by all the others'. Systems constituting empirical reality interact Cor are coupled) with one another by exchanging information and energy', the process that of necessity affects all systems involved.
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    Spenser’s 'golden squire' and the 'golden Meane': numbers and proportions in Book II of the Faerie Queene
    (AMS Press Inc, 2000) Sadowski, Piotr
    The essay interprets Spenser's arithmetical and geometrical metaphors of temperance in their primary, mathematical sense, and argues that the 'golden squire' used to measure out a 'mean' of temperance refers to the masonic triangle, particularly the so called 'golden' or 'royal' square, based on the Golden Section 0.618, used widely in medieval architectural design. The Golden Mean as a geometrical representation of temperance is first used in Book II in the description of the mutual relations between the three sisters and their male partners in the Castle of Medina, and later in the famous and notoriously obscure stanza on the geometrical design of he Castle of Alma. Here the Golden Section diagram is found to contain all the geometrical and numerological elements from the design of the Castle, thus reinforcing its significance as an architectural emblem of the human body and soul internally harmonized through temperance.
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    Androgyny and (near) perfect marriage : a systems view of the genders of Leopold and Molly Bloom
    (Northern Illinois University, 2010) Sadowski, Piotr
    The essay seeks to analyse the nature of the marital relations between Leopold and Molly Bloom from Joyce’s Ulysses in the light of the spouses’ respective psychological genders. The analysis is underpinned by systems theory of gender, according to which gender is not so much a social construct as a genetically motivated and fairly stable element of personality. Thus in Joyce’s characterisation of the Blooms Leopold appears to represent the androgynous man, with Molly as an example of the androgynous woman. This means that despite the obvious difference in biological sex both spouses possess analogous psychological genders, which accounts for a fair degree of psychological compatibility between them, despite their temporary sexual crisis. Indeed, Leopold’s and Molly’s internal monologues betray their mutual emotional closeness, affectionate understanding and tolerance of each other’s foibles, and pride at each other’s sexual attractiveness.