Structuralism and Semiotics

Structuralism and Semiotics

Structuralism and Semiotics

Structuralism and Semiotics

Synopsis

Published in 1977 as the first volume in the New Accents series, Structuralism and Semiotics made crucial debates in critical theory accessible to those with no prior knowledge of the field. Since then a generation of readers has used the book as an entry not only into structuralism and semiotics, but into the wide range of cultural and critical theories underpinned by these approaches.It remains the clearest introduction to some of the most important topics in modern critical theory. A new afterword and fresh suggestions for further reading complete this new edition.

Excerpt

No doubt a third General Editor’s Preface to New Accents seems hard to justify. What is there left to say? Twenty-five years ago, the series began with a very clear purpose. Its major concern was the newly perplexed world of academic literary studies, where hectic monsters called ‘Theory’, ‘Linguistics’ and ‘Politics’ ranged. In particular, it aimed itself at those undergraduates or beginning postgraduate students who were either learning to come to terms with the new developments or were being sternly warned against them.

New Accents deliberately took sides. Thus the first Preface spoke darkly, in 1977, of ‘a time of rapid and radical social change’, of the ‘erosion of the assumptions and presuppositions’ central to the study of literature. ‘Modes and categories inherited from the past’ it announced, ‘no longer seem to fit the reality experienced by a new generation’. The aim of each volume would be to ‘encourage rather than resist the process of change’ by combining nuts-and-bolts exposition of new ideas with clear and detailed explanation of related conceptual developments. If mystification (or downright demonisation) was the enemy, lucidity (with a nod to the compromises inevitably at stake there) became a friend. If a ‘distinctive discourse of the future’ beckoned, we wanted at least to be able to understand it.

With the apocalypse duly noted, the second Preface proceeded . . .

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