LINGUIST List 11.891

Mon Apr 17 2000

Disc: Literary Semantics

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Lotfi, Re: Disc. : Literary Semantics

Message 1: Re: Disc. : Literary Semantics

Date: 15 Apr 2000 20:04:56 EDT
From: Lotfi <>
Subject: Re: Disc. : Literary Semantics

Jose wrote:
>The expression "Literary Semantics" makes me wonder. Do people in
>and linguists in particular still think that there is such a thing as
>semantics of Literature? Maybe it's a question of agreeing on what the
>pointer "semantics" tries to point to
>In any case, I cannot see how the analysis of a language property (or
>relationship, or whatever) can clarify the mental processes involved in
>producing and consuming the anthropological "product" we normally call
>Literature. For me it is as if we tried to explain the artistic
>of sculpture by a geological analysis of the material employed. Think
of a
>new Journal called "Sculptural Geology". Would that not strike you as
>something very very odd?

There is an importance difference between "Sculptural Geology" and
"Literary Semantics", however. It is possible to study the earth as
a concrete object of reserach as geologists do. It is not necessary (but
still possible) then to study the earth as it is materialised in another
domain of study. It definitely makes no sense to relate two things as
remotely related to each other as sculpture and geology. Language as
the subject matter of linguistic studies, on the other hand, is an
abstract entity that has to be necessarily embodied in a form of
discourse like conversation, ordinary writing, or literature. Then
literature is not a mere linguistic product; it's a form of expression
for language, too. And language begs a form of expression to come into
concrete existence. Then "literary Semantics" or in more general terms
"Literary Linguistics" is possible NOT as the study of the linguistics/
semantics of literature but that of language when expressed as such.
It is then more appropriate to compare "Literary Semantics" with
"Behavioural Psychology" (as the study of the human mind when expressed
in terms of behaviour) rather than "Sculptural Geology".
- --------------------------------
Ahmad R. Lotfi.
Chair of English Dept.
Azad University at Khorasgan,
Esfahan, IRAN.
- --------------------------------
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