Second Symposium on Iconicity
in Language and Literature
University of Amsterdam.
25-27 March 1999
Announcement and Call for Papers
As a follow-up to studies presented at the first symposiumheld in Zurich in March 1997, this international and interdisciplinary symposiumwill present a second series of detailed case studies, focussing on English and literarytexts in English. Again the scholarly aim of the second symposium will be the discoveryof iconicity (form miming meaning) in all circumstances in which language is created,ranging from the more purely linguistic (such as in children's acquisition of language,in the development of pidgins and creoles, in processes of language change such asgrammaticalisation)to the more literary uses of language. Iconicity itselfwill be explored on all levels(typographic, phonological, rhythmic, syntactic, structural, narrative, notionaletc.) and may range from the more 'imagic' or concrete to the more symbolic or grammaticalised.
We welcome proposals addressing any of these issues.Abstracts together with a brief c.v. should be sent to one of the addresses belowbefore
1 November 1998.
For further information, please contact:
|Dr. Olga Fischer|
Universiteit van Amsterdam
|Prof.Dr. Max Nänny|
Registration, Fees and Payment of Fees
Persons interested in taking part in this international and inderdisciplinary three-daysymposium should write to Dr. O.C.M. Fischer at the address below asking for a registrationform.
The fees for participants are: before 1 February 1999 HFL 150.-; afterwards HFL 200.-.Accompanying persons and students pay HFL 75.- for the whole conference. A one-dayattendence costs HFL 75.-.
Please transfer the total amount (Registration Form) in Dutch guilders to the girobankaccount no. 6688144 payable to Dr. O.C.M. Fischer, Engels Seminarium, Spuistraat210, NL-1012 Amsterdam (please, indicate ‘Iconicity Symposium’). Make sure that alltransfer costs/banking charges are paid at your end.
Those who have sent in their registration slip will be sent a flyer issued by CarlsonWagonlit Travel, who will book a hotel for you. They offer a number of hotels inthe middle range. If you prefer either a more expensive hotel, or a somewhat cheaperhotel, we recommend the following:
• Doelen Hotel
**** (see enclosed folder), room-rates ranging from hfl.300.-to hfl. 435.- for single/double rooms (venue of our Farewell Dinner)
• Piet Hein
***, Vossiusstraat 52-53, 1071 AK Amsterdam; tel.: +31.20.6627205;fax: +31.20.6621526; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; room-rates ranging from hfl. 135.-for a single room to hfl. 195.- for a double room with en suite facilities (whenyou book mention the university of Amsterdam because these rates are reduced ratesfor the university).
**, Plantage Middenlaan 17, 1018 DA Amsterdam; tel.: +31.20.6272714;fax: +31.20.6380293; room-rates ranging from hfl. 105.- to 155.- for a single/doubleroom with en suite facilities, and from hfl. 75.- to hfl. 105.- for a single/doubleroom without.
For these hotels you will have to make your own reservations. We urgently adviseyou to do this within the next few weeks as the high season in Amsterdam starts inMarch. For the Wagonlit hotellist the closing date is February 1.
Farewell Dinner and Boat Ride
We have made reservations at the Doelen Hotel for a farewell dinner on Saturday,27 March 1999, 19.00. The Doelen Hotel is a four-star hotel in the centre of Amsterdam,on one of the canals. It is the oldest hotel in Amsterdam, and it was here that Rembrandtpainted his ‘Nightwatch’, depicting the guards or ‘schutters’ that typically frequentedthis inn (doelen means ‘targets’). The price of hfl. 75.- for the four-course dinneris good value considering the location and the quality of food. Beverages will haveto be paid for individually.
We shall assemble at 18.00 by a boat stop and, having toured some of the ‘grachten’for about an hour, reach the hotel by boat. On the boat we will be offered an aperitif(both the boat ride and apéritif are included in the price of the dinner).It would be a fitting end to the conference if most of you were able to make a bookingand we could could say good-bye to each other after a dinner together.
Registration will take place at the Conference venue (P.C. Hoofthuis, Spuistraat132, Amsterdam; it is situated near the Dam-square, at ten-minutes’ walk from AmsterdamCentral Station), the building will be sign-posted:
• Wednesday, 24 March, from 17.00 to 19.00 hours
• Thursday, 25 March, from 8.30 to 17.00
Welcome Drink and Conference Warming
Early arrivals are offered a drink at the newly opened ‘Faculty club’, on Wednesday,24 March, at 18:00.
For the actual Conference Warming we will meet at an Indonesian Restaurant in thecentre on the same evening at 19.30 and have a simple (non-host) meal together.
Information on how to get into Amsterdam from the airport, on the exact locationof the venue, the registration-office, details on the whereabouts of the welcomerdrink and of the conference warming on Wednesday evening as well as the Symposiumprogramme will be sent out in February 1999.
Update: 24 November 1998
Wednesday, 24 March 1999 (Pre-Conference Events)
17.00—19.00 REGISTRATION: University 'P.C. Hoofthuis'
18.00 DRINKS: Faculty Club
19.30 Conference Warming: Restaurant 'Kantjil'
Thursday, 25 March 1999 (Single Sessions)
Chair: Andreas Fischer
09.20–10.00 Werner Wolf: 'The Emergence of Iconicity in Landscape Descriptions of English Fiction’
10.00–10.40 Max Nänny: 'Some Iconic Functions of Long and Short Lines in Poetry'
10.40–11.10 Coffee Break
Chair: Michael Webster
11.10–11.50 William Herlofsky: 'Good Probes: Icons, Anaphors, and the Evolution of Language'
11.50-12.50 PLENARY: Chair: Olga Fischer
Winfried Nöth: 'Semiotic Foundations of Iconicity in Language'
Chair: Jac Conradie
14.20–15.00 Olga Fischer: 'The Position of the Adjective in (Old) English from an Iconic Perspective'15.00–15.40 Earl Anderson: 'Old English Poetic Texts and Their Latin Sources: Iconism in Caedmon's Hymn and The Phoenix'
15.40–16.10 Coffee Break
Chair: John Pier
16.10–16.50 Wolfgang Müller: 'Iconicity and Rhetoric'
16.50–17.30 John White: 'The Semiotics of the mise en abyme: Aspects of the Iconic Super-Sign in Heraldry, Baroque and Modern Literature'
18.30 Apéritif Reception
Welcome by the Dean Prof. Dr. Karel van der Toorn
Friday, 26 March 1999 (Parallel Sessions)
• Session 1: Chair: Anne Henry
09.00–09.40 Michael Burke: 'Linguistic Shadowplay: Iconicity and Literary Emotion'
09.40–10.20 Adina Ciugureanu: ‘The Ideogram of Passion in Pound's The Cantos'
•• Session 2: Chair: Natalia Carbajosa Palmero
09.00–09.40 Frank Jansen & Leo Lentz: 'The Gerund as Iconic Expression of Simultaneous Acts in Dutch Recipes'
09.40–10.20 Jill Albada Jelgersma: 'Iconicity in Myth Making Texts: Simón Bolívar and Eva Perón
10.20–10.50 Coffee Break
• Session 1: Chair: Peter Verdonk
10.50–11.30 John Pier: 'Effet du réel and Iconicity'
•• Session 2: Chair: Michael Burke
10.50–11.30 Peter de Voogd: 'Sonicity in the Nausicaa Episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses'
11.30–12.30 PLENARY: Chair: Peter Verdonk
Wolfgang Dressler: 'Levels of Iconic Preferences in Language'
• Session 1: Chair: Earl Anderson
14.00–14.40 Piotr Sadowsky: 'The Sound as an Echo to the Sense: The Iconicity of English gl-Words'
14.40–15.20 Jean Peeters: 'Iconicity as a Dynamic Construct'
15.20–16.00 Jac Conradie: 'Structural Iconicity in Language Change'
•• Session 2: Chair: Peter de Voogd
14.00–14.40 Barbara Mann: 'Jewish Imagism: "A Few Don'ts"'
14.40–15.20 Robbie Goh: 'The Acne and the Ecstasy: The Iconicity of "Youth Culture"'
15.20–16.00 Ming-Qian Ma: '"Which Side of the Mirror Are You on?": Iconizing, Iconicity and the Poetics of the "Ectopic Eye" in Joan Retallack’s Afterrimages'
16.00–16.30 Coffee Break
• Session 1: Chair: Thomas Pollard
16.30–17.10 Simon Alderson: 'Chance and Imagination in Literary Iconicity'
17.10–17.50 Natalia Carbajosa Palmero: Renaissance Representational Aesthetics and the Verbal Icon: An Example from Shakespeare'
•• Session 2: Chair: William Herlofsky
16.30–17.10 Christina Ljungberg: 'Iconic Dimensions in Margaret Atwood's Poetry and Prose'
17.10–17.50 Anne Henry: 'Ellipsis Points as Icon of Literary Meaning'
Saturday, 27 March 1999 (Parallel Sessions)
• Session 1: Chair Wolfgang Müller
09.00–09.40 Loretta Innocenti: 'The Images of Nothingness in John Donne's "Nocturnall"'
09.40–10.20 Anna Maria Piglionica: 'Dickens's and Joyce's Visual Art'
•• Session 2: Chair: John White
09.00–09.40 Thomas Pollard: 'Telegraphing the Sentence and the Story: Iconicity in "In the Cage" by Henry James'
09.40–10.20 Michael Webster: ‘Magic Iconism: Defamiliarization, Sympathetic Magic, and Visual Poetry (Guillaume Apollinaire and E.E. Cummings)'
10.20–10.50 Coffee Break
Chair: Max Nänny
10.50–11.30 Ralf Norrman: 'On Natural Motivation in Metaphors: The Case of the Cucurbits'
11.30–12.30 PLENARY: Chair: Max Nänny
Jean Jacques Lecercle: 'Of Markov Chains and Upholstery Buttons: "Moi, madame, votre chien..."'
12.30–13.00 'Where do we go from here?'
18.00–19.00 BOAT RIDE to the Doelen Hotel
19.00 FAREWELL DINNER: Doelen Hotel
University of Amsterdam
Iconicity in Language and Literature
25-27 March 1999
University of Zurich
A B S T R A C T S
Iconicity in Myth-Making Texts:Simón Bolívar and Eva Perón
Jill Albada Jelgersma, El Dorado Hills
Myth-making appears in both oral and written language. Iconicity, both imagic anddiagrammatic, is a function of myth-making in written texts which influences meaningand the reader’s interpretation of the myths. My paper shows how iconicity functionsin two written texts, one poetic and one narrative, in the building of the mythsof Simón Bolívar and Eva Perón. In the case of Bolívar,the poetic text is “Memorias a Bolívar” (1963), by Paraguayan writer María-LuisaArtecona de Thompson, while the prose text is an excerpt from the novel by ColombianGabriel García Márquez, El general en su laberinto (1989). For EvaPerón, I have chosen the poem “Eva Perón” (1952), by Argentine writerJuan Francisco Giacobbe, and two excerpts from the novel Santa Evita (1995) by hiscompatriot, Tomás Eloy Martínez.
The diagrammatic iconicity in these four myth-building texts functions in the parallelism,or the repetition, with differences, of semantic units, which characterizes the poeticfunction (Roman Jakobson). In the prose texts selected, the parallelism is the elementof iconicity which breaks the linear, chronological referentiality of the narrativeand adds ambiguity, breaking with the traditionally heroic myths of both Bolívarand Evita. Surprisingly, in the two poems, where the poetic function prevails, thisiconicity sustains the heroic myths of the two figures. A semiotic-linguistic analysisof the function of iconicity in both the prose passages and the poems historicizesthe texts: the poems in the discursive field of heroic myth-building, the novelsin the field of ‘new historicism’ which challenges these myths.
While my analysis focuses on the texts in the original Spanish, my paper will begiven in English, with translations where necessary, and photocopies of relevantsections in both languages will be distributed.
Chance and Imagination in LiteraryIconicity
Simon Alderson, Hong Kong
“Whether it was from Chance, or Design, that these Verses, by their very Sound, representthe Thing they describe, is not worth enquiring.” (1711)
“Hence it is easy to imagine a resemblance of the sound to the sense in almost everything. But since this is wholly the work of the reader’s imagination, a writer dothnot need to give himself trouble about it.” (1777)
The role of iconicity in literature, particularly poetry, has long been debated andits value disputed. This paper focuses on the two oldest and strongest objectionsto literary iconicity that have been made: objections on the basis of chance andimagination. By ‘chance’ I mean the critical position that acknowledges iconicityin language but sees it as pervasive and therefore its occurrence in literature largelyaccidental. By ‘imagination’ I mean the critical position that rejects iconicityon the basis that it is largely a product of the reader’s imagination, and not objectively‘there’ in the text.
Both these objections rely on a principle of intentionality for locating and valuingliterary iconicity: that is, they assume the value of a form that is directly linkedto the expressed purpose and intention of the author. Part of my paper will explorehow critics and writers have historically dealt with these objections, and will payspecial attention to the eighteenth century. However, given modern theoretical shiftsaway from the dominance of the author over his or her texts, I also ask whether chanceand imagination may now be rehabilitated as principles of discovering and evaluatingliterary iconicity in texts. In what contexts and in what forms may iconicity besaid to possess literary value?
Old English Poetic Texts and theirLatin Sources: Iconism in Caedmon’s Hymn and The Phoenix
Earl Anderson, Cleveland
This paper explores the phenomena of iconism in two Old English poems that have (orseem to have) Latin sources, and compares the iconic passages with their counterpartsin Latin. In the case of Caedmon’s Hymn, ‘chronological’ syntactic iconism is foundin the poem’s allusion to the creation of the world, and also in Bede’s Latin ‘paraphrase.’Similarities in detail, in this case, support the view that the Old English poemis really just a poeticized Old English translation of Bede’s Latin. Several passagesin The Phoenix exemplify onomatopoeia and synaesthesia. In these, the Anglo-Saxonpoet seems to be suppressing mythological and topographical allusions in his Latinsource, the pseudo-Lactantian “De ave phoenice.” In place of learned allusions andsimiles, the Anglo-Saxon poet substitutes iconism as a sort of ‘separate but equal’aesthetic. At the same time, the poet develops a form of ‘thematic’ synaesthesiathat is not present in the Latin source: an implied and sometimes explicit comparisonof the Phoenix to a metal sculpture. Iconism thus takes its place as part of an artfullycrafted integration of artistry and theme in the poem.
Linguistic Shadow Play: Iconicityand Literary Emotion
Michael Burke, Amsterdam/Utrecht
In this paper I return to a couple of points pertaining to the notion of iconicityas a stylistic tool for the analysis of literary texts, as set out by Leech and Short(1981). One such point is that “the iconic force in language produces an enactmentof the fictional reality through the form of the text”. This “enactment”, they maintain,brings into being a whole new perspective “as readers, we do not merely receive areport of the fictional world; we enter into it iconically, as a dramatic performance”.What they seem to be suggesting is that when form mimes meaning, as it so often doesin literary (and for that matter non-literary) texts, the effect on the individualand socio-cognitive reader is not just limited to that of the perception of the bareiconic force. In addition, this process may tap into the cognitive, and for somescholars, by default, emotive, experiential world of the reader, pulling him, orher, into what Leech and Short refer to as the ‘dramatic performance’, a role inextricablyladen with emotive consequences. In the course of this paper I shall, thus, seekto explore this affective iconic phenomenon at diverse linguistic levels.
In the past, stereotypical theories on literary emotion have tended to centre on‘positive’ aspects of life, as reflected through genres, such as the traditionallove poem. It is my intention to depart from this inclination. The literary examplesthat I shall employ here emanate from a more ‘negative’ perspective, incorporatingsuch iconic phenomena as the syntactically repressive world of Paul Auster’s NewYork Trilogy, and the typographically disturbing domain of George Macbeth’s poem“Scissor-Man”.
It might be presumed that affective considerations can play no role in iconic analysesof literary texts. It shall be the aim of this paper to tentatively suggest otherwise.
The Ideogram of Passion in Pound’sThe Cantos
Adina Ciugureanu, Constanta
This paper has a twofold purpose: it is an attempt both to apply Fenollosa’s theoreticalreference to the Chinese ideogram to some of Pound’s cantos and to describe theirtextual and narrative structure as iconic. Just as the Chinese character analysedby Fenollosa can express abstract notions (redness) by juxtaposing icons (e.g. rose,sunset, cherry blossom, etc.), so can some of Pound’s cantos (or parts of them) becomean ‘ideogram’ of the abstract notion of passion and of its manifestations (revenge,punishment, etc.). Pound’s ‘ideograms’ are logopoeic (highly intellectual) and moreabstract than the Chinese ones: he juxtaposes parts of different mythical storiesthat have a common theme and/or superimposes the world of the gods on that of themortals on a similar topic. To the ‘ideogrammic’ technique, Pound adds an iconicrepresentation of the linguistic sign in its both imagic and diagrammatic manifestation.The examples used to support these ideas will be taken from Cantos I, II, IV-VII,IX. The relationship between the ‘ideogrammic’ technique and the ‘iconic’ dimensionof the text will also be emphasised.
Structural Iconicity in LanguageChange
Jac Conradie, Auckland Park
The concept of structural iconicity evokes questions like the following: (a) To whatextent is a sequence of linguistic units in agreement with sequences identifiablein reality (i.e. iconic) or in clear disagreement with it (i.e. anti-iconic)? (b)To what extent does the synchronic organisation of the grammar make use of iconicityor its lack, and (c) to what extent is iconicity or its lack a factor in languagechange?
(a) The match between structure and reality may be sought on various levels, e.g.within phrase structures, between syntactic phrases, or between clauses. While asequence such as subject - (verb) – indirect object may reflect a causative sequenceof agent - (action) - patient, and a sequence of conditional clause - main clausemay reflect the fact that the conditions for an action should be mentioned beforethe action itself, it may be worthwhile to pose the question as to whether modifier- head is more or less iconic than head - modifier (and at the same time SVO languagesmore or less than SVO languages).
(b) Iconicity need not only relate to a one-to-one relationship between grammaticalorder and reality, but on a higher level a grammatical construct, seen as a unifyingprinciple, may be employed for semantic grouping, as in the case of split infinitives(cf. to really work hard) - a previously tightly knit construction which now admitsnew elements. On an even higher level, anti-iconicity itself may be employed in sentencedecoding, cf. the adjacency of object and subject in: The child the woman found,signalling a subordinate clause.
(c) It may be hypothesized that anti-iconic sequences require special formal markingas compensation. Thus, the passive may require special process marking. The Old Englishweordan, ‘become’, which has since disappeared, was an unambiguous process marker.Marking with the continuous aspect, as in The house was being sold, has a disambiguatingfunction. Structures like The houses are selling, were, however, not tolerated forlong as they lack formal passive marking. The disappearance of mutative constructionsemploying the verb ‘to be’, as in: I am come, which are grammatical hybrids of theactive and passive, may be explained as a ‘tidying up’ of the relationship betweenactive and passive as iconic and anti-iconic causal sequences, respectively.
Levels of Iconic Preferences inLanguage
Wolfgang Dressler, Vienna
Since Jakobson’s mediation between Peircean semiotics and structural linguistics,more and more iconicity has been found in language, both in grammar and in actualtexts. This has led to more or less systematic linguistic classifications of typesof iconicity. These linguistic classifications have been backed up by semiotic classificationsof iconicity, which, however, all too often, prove to be non-discrete or overlapping.
Iconicity does neither represent constraints on language structure or on the compositionof texts nor rule-like regularities, but rather elementary prerequisites on the onehand, preferences on the other. Iconic preferences in language are cognitively based.Both their forms and their bases have to be modeled via a preference theory. Thus,this part of my contribution will start with a presentation of a preference theory,which is meant to demonstrate that much of the apparently great heterogeneity oficonic preferences stems from the heterogeneity of domains of language and of language-specificstructures. This demonstration allows us to elaborate a principled hierarchy of levelsof iconicity in language and allows some predictions on the probability that thepreference for iconicity materializes in certain ways in given domains. This approachis deductive and probabilistic and represents an effort towards ‘vertical’ classification,intended to be more explanatory than the usual ‘horizontal’ (partial) classificationsof iconicity in different domains (e.g. phonology, morphology, discourse etc.), whichare necessary but insufficient.
Psycholinguistic evidence from language processing (on-line and off-line), aphasiaand language acquisition is relevant and may give empirical support for at leastsome of the claims discussed. Finally, an attempt will be made to relate types oficonicity to levels of linguistic awareness, where stylistic and literary usage oficonicity might be seen as referring to a pole position of rather high awareness.
The Position of the Adjective in(Old) English from an Iconic Perspective
Olga Fischer, Amsterdam
In an earlier study (1998), I looked at the position that adjectives can take inOld English, and more specifically at the curious fact that most adjectives are non-recursive,i.e. they do not normally occur in a row in Old English, neither prenominally norpostnominally. Thus, a phrase like ‘a fussy old woman’ or, another stereotype, ‘adirty old man’, would not occur there. One of the conclusions I drew in that studywas that the mostly prenominal weak adjectives function like adjuncts in Old English,forming a compound as it were with their head noun, and that the mostly strong postnominaladjectives function like predicative adjectives.
On this occasion I would like to look more carefully at what the difference is betweenpost- and prenominal position, and whether there is any connection between position,the type of adjective used (weak or strong) and definiteness or indefiniteness ofthe entire Noun Phrase. I will look at other languages that, like Old English, showvariable position for adjectives, and I will suggest, following Bolinger 1952 and1967, that the adjective position in Old English is perceptually or iconically motivated.I will show that the variety in position indicates two different usages of adjectivesin Old English, and that the adjective as a category is not as clearly distinct yetas it will be later in Modern English. Weak adjectives, linked to prenominal position,are clearly more nominal in nature, whereas strong adjectives are closer to the verbalcategory. Both are iconically expressed, the first only by means of linear order,the second by means of both linear order (diagrammatic iconicity) and phonologicaliconicity (salience through stress). Finally, if there is time, I would like to havea brief look at the way adjective position is used in literary English texts.
‘The Acne and the Ecstasy’: TheIconicity of ‘Youth Culture’
Robbie Goh, Singapore
Certain forms of signification predominate in consumer middle-class culture and itstextual organs of the glossy magazines, the newspapers and popular literature. Thismaterialistic signification functions via essentially metonymic and indexical processes- the orthography of the brand name (e.g. Chanel, or Tiffany) resembling the productitself (e.g. the bag, or the pen), which has as one of its parts (clasp, clip orbadge) the stylized name, the product in turn forming a part of an accessorized ensemble,the ensemble suggesting a specific socio-economic world and lifestyle. The functionof this relatively abstract form of signification is to detach the sign from anyostensive link to the signified, and thus to create communities of shared values,goals and desires.
Working against this grain is a form of iconicity, one which mimes a youth ‘body’(both in the sense of a separate cultural corpus, as well as a physical corporeality)as biological process, scatology, instability and imbalance. Thus, for example, visualimages of the youthful body, where the human figure is foregrounded and made ‘palpable’by estranging it both from the background (which is often incongruous, obviouslysuperimposed, or distorted) and from the realist expectations of the interpreter(often by interposing a frame, screen, blot or blemish). In contrast, pictorial iconsin clearly adult upper middle class texts tend to de-realize the adult body as organicentity, in order to locate it in a set of abstract symbolic relationships (i.e. varioussocial, institutional and exchange groups).
This ‘youth culture’ thus created is not, of course, the actual difference of a realor ideological otherness, but a motivated differentiation on the part of mainstreamconsumer culture itself - the “impossibility of the real”, in Baudrillard’s terms(1981: 21). Iconic processes play a crucial role in this project, since they groundthe otherwise impossible differentiation in a concreteness and resemblance.
My paper will consider the functions and implications of this sort of iconic representationof the youth in examples taken from popular literature with a ‘dystopian’ bent, wherean attempt is made to invoke some critical clash between the subculture and the mainstream.Thus, for example, the use of orthography in the works of Irvine Welsh (now accountedsomething of an artiste of youth culture), where the presence of the youth body isoften marked by devices which mime a palpability that stands out from the ‘flow’of social reality. Welsh will for example use close strings of block capitals tocorporealize the youth speaker’s raw emotions, e.g. sexual orgasm, or (sometimesin combination with numbers) physical states and movements inspired by and mimingdrugs or rock groups (e.g. ‘NR G’ and ‘U4E’, Welsh 156). Other examples can be foundin newspapers and magazines, which often use different, asymmetrical and colourfulfonts (sometimes reinforced by marginal graphics and illustrations) to mark out thespace of ‘youth’ content within a larger and more mainstream text. In each case,orthographic iconicity serves in the first place to demarcate an almost physicalspace (a stage or floor, as it were) whose materiality thrusts it out from the seamlessincorporeality of ‘society’ (whose signs are homogeneous, uniform, and clearly symbolic);and in the second place, to mime a certain physical condition of restless movementfueled by bio-chemical urges.
A similar (macro-textual) form of iconicity is the narratorial or dialogic, especiallyin texts which attempt to position themselves at a critical distance from ‘mainstream’consumer culture - science fiction and horror are the most pertinent examples. AnneRice’s The Vampire Lestat, and the works of Orson Scott Card, are central to thisdiscussion. Here the iconic representation of youth often takes the form of illogicalsyntax and discursive incoherence, often accented by physical gestures; tersenessand contractions, to the extent that dialogue no longer has conventional prose signification,but (contextually inappropriate) iconic and figurative ones; and the associationof youth with the electronic commands and responses of virtual realities, for examplein the works of William Gibson.
Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila Faria Glaser (Ann Arbor:University of Michigan Press, 1981)
Orson Scott Card, the Ender Trilogy (pub. 1977, 1986, 1991)
William Gibson, Neuromancer (New York: Ace Books, 1986)
Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat (London: Futura, 1986)
Irvine Welsh, Ecstasy (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996)
Ellipsis Points as Icon of LiteraryMeaning
Anne Henry, Cambridge
Punctuation, as an icon of literary meaning, is often ignored. In this paper, I willexplore the development of one mark of punctuation, that is ellipsis points, ‘. ..’, examining the iconic impulses that determine its form, and demonstrating someof the ways it functions as an icon within literary texts.
I argue that to understand fully the iconic force of ellipsis as used in the nineteenthcentury, it is necessary to place it within a larger historical context. I will thereforebegin my paper by summarizing the early history of ellipsis marks. Whereas in manuscriptculture, scribes used blank space to signify textual absences, the development inprint of a visual symbol of omission seems contradictory. No new marks were innovatedfor this purpose, rather printers had to depend upon the type available in theirfounts. Yet, iconicity did act as a force within early markings of ellipsis, andby reference to the first symbol ‘- - -’, I argue that the broken series of rulesimitate the ‘broken’ or interrupted speech of dramatic characters.
By the early nineteenth century the use of discontinuous marks had almost entirelydisappeared from British literary texts, and the dash had become the predominantmark of the Victorian novel. I argue that this was largely due to the nineteenth-centurypreoccupation with historical continuity. The continuous black line was a symbolof solidity and cohesion, each line providing connection and guidance through thecomplexities of the narrative. Suddenly, however, at the end of the century, themark ‘. . .’ appears in the novels of a number of authors. I reveal that this wasused with deliberate iconic intention: modernism’s concern to disrupt the coherenceof the Victorian perspective was reflected even at the level of punctuation, as thedash was fragmented into three distinct points.
By tracing such slight variations in the presentation of ellipsis that occur overa broad historical period, this paper demonstrates that the iconic features of ellipsismarks do not decrease over time, but change, evolve, and are continually reassertedin literary works.
Good Probes: Icons, Anaphors,and the Evolution of Language
William J. Herlofsky, Nagoya Gakuin
A number of recent works by linguists, such as Steven Pinker’s (1994) Language Instinct,have attempted to provide plausible scenarios for the gradual evolution of language.Few, however, have tried to construct a formal model of the evolution from pre-symboliccommunication to symbolic thinking and language. It is the objective of the presentpaper to provide the beginnings of such a model, by attempting to depict the transitionfrom mimicry and iconic expressions in pre-symbolic mimetic culture (Donald 1991)to the symbolic reference of symbolic culture and modern human language (Deacon 1997).In this discussion, parallels between icons in real-world space, and anaphors insyntax space, will be identified and illustrated. After a simplified version of Chomsky’s(1981) Binding Principles is provided in section one, the primitive hominid referentialprogression from icons to symbols is briefly discussed in section two. In sectionthree, by rewriting the definitions of the terms ‘icon’, ‘index’, and ‘symbol’, thesereal-world-space referential associations are reformulated into the Principles ofReferential Association Binding, principles that are shown to be quite similar toChomsky’s Binding Principles. It is the hypothesis of the conclusion of this paperthat these Principles of Referential Association Binding may, in fact, have beenthe real-world-space predecessors to Chomsky’s syntactic-space Binding Principles.
The Images of Nothingness inJohn Donne's ‘Nocturnall’
Loretta Innocenti, Venice
The paper will consider the poetic use of iconicity in a specific historical andcultural context. The seventeenth century in English literature seems to offer aparticularly interesting example, since both an iconophilous and an iconoclasticattitude coexist, not necessarily within different forms of poetic expression. Theformer provides us with the pictorial effects of iconic poetry and with those textsin which form has a manifest and necessary link with meaning, while the latter isresponsible for challenging the poetics of pictorialism. Yet, some of the texts whichexplicitly refuse images and visuality paradoxically attempt to resemble their objectsin other ways, by means of different kinds of iconicity. Since the mimetic and evocativepowers of language are, as is generally acknowledged, the qualities proper to poetry,their total rejection appears impossible, and even iconoclastic tendencies cannotbut consider poetic expression as a motivated language. This, at least, can explainthe pervasiveness of iconicity, even in the presence of an opposing trend.
Two examples will be given: a passage from Milton’s Paradise Lost and Donne’s A Nocturnallupon St. Lucies Day. To represent Satan’s voyage through Chaos, i.e. through theuncreated and un-signifying, Milton attempts a description, not through images butthrough an expansion of the senses involved. Sight becomes insufficient to accountfor the experience of virtuality (the not-yet-being), and representation is achievedthrough the iconic recording of proxemic relations.
In A Nocturnall, Donne, dealing with a similarly ineffable topic – death –, doesnot resort to concrete images or signs as reminders of something absent, as the nameon the window or the book in his Valedictions. Here the poet makes use of words asconcrete objects, to render the abstraction of death, almost distilling the essenceof being – and of non-being – in a sort of verbal alchemy. The verbal can triumphover images, firstly by rejecting them as improper or weak, and then through lexicalcreation which emphasizes the nominal essence of words and their abstract signification.
In both cases, therefore, poetry overtly refuses to be iconic, and, notwithstandingthis, achieves a different sort of ‘likeness’ to its object.
The Gerund as Iconic Expressionof Simultaneous Acts in Dutch Recipes
Frank Jansen and Leo Lentz , Utrecht
One of the more exciting aspects of preparing a dish is that frequently one has todo two or more things simultaneously. However, this very fact is a source of problemsfor composers of recipes, who no doubt wish to make their texts as isochronic aspossible to the prescribed simultaneous acts by putting the instructions on paperin such a way that the reader would read them simultaneously, had not the linearityprinciple of language prevented this. This impossibility does not mean however, thatwriters have no ways to tie the instructions for the two simultaneous acts as tightlytogether as they could. Their favourite solution in the history of Dutch-recipe composingis the gerund, as, for instance, roerende ‘stirring’ in,
(1) voeg er roerende het tomatenwater bij
add here stirring the tomato water to
We have analysed simultaneous acts in more than 200 recipes from 1515 up to now,with a special focus on the gerund. We studied three aspects of these gerunds:
a Its syntactic position within the embedding sentence (as in (1)) or after it (asin (2)):
(2) En laat hem gaar braden met vuur onder en boven, wel op het bedruipen passende.
And let it to a turn roast with fire under and above, well of the basting takingcare
b The time-spans the gerund and the verb of the embedding sentence refer to in therecipes:
In (2) we have a complete overlap in time between the roasting process and the processof care taking. In (3) the stirring refers only to a few momentary actions duringthe long process of frying:
(3) laat alles samen (nu en dan roerende) lichtbruin fruiten
let everything together (now and then stirring) light brown fry
c The relative importance of both acts for the success of the preparation of thedish.
There is a large difference in this respect between the foregoing examples and (4):
(4) Maak er knedende een gelijk deeg van
Make there kneading an even dough of
In (4) the making and kneading are of equal importance: kneading is the way the pastryis made. In the other examples, the acts which are essential for the success of therecipe are depicted by the verb in the embedding sentence. The act of the gerund,on the other hand, is of less importance. It only optimalizes the product or smoothensthe process.
Our conclusion will be that the gerund within the sentence (which is the most frequentposition) is particularly apt to depict simultaneous acts of minor duration and importance.We think that the first semantic aspect is signaled in an iconic way by the preferredposition of the gerund inside the embedded clause. The second and third aspects aresignaled by the absence of tense morphology in the gerund. We will briefly compareour findings for Dutch to the way this simultaneity has been handled in English recipes,to see whether similar syntactic(ally iconic) solutions are used to solve the problem.
Of Markov Chains and UpholsteryButtons: “Moi, Madame, votre chien…”
J.J. Lecercle, Paris
The sentence “moi, madame, votre chien, si ça continue, ce n’est pas dansson cul ŕ lui que je vais le mettre, le mien, de pied” is taken as an instanceof emotional iconicity. Analysed first in terms of a rhetorical distorter, it isthen analysed in terms of the syntax of topic and focus. This is generalized to aconception of iconic syntax in terms of Markov finite state processes and Lacanianupholstery buttons.
Iconic Dimensions in Margaret Atwood’sPoetry and Prose
Christina Ljungberg, Zürich
The play with the relationship between form and meaning has always been characteristicof Margaret Atwood’s writing. Her interest in visual perception ranges from her useof mirror and reflection as metaphors of fragmentation and alienation of self toher own production of visual arts: her watercolours, cover designs, book illustrationsand collages. It is also evident in her close attention to words and word games,such as anagrams and palindromes.
In her writing, which centres on the revision and exploration of myths and literaryconventions, she frequently inverts literary forms and received images to questiontheir origins and functions. Already as early as 1961, Atwood uses iconic form inher poem “Pastoral Elegy” to ironically subvert T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. By shapingher poem into the icon of a butterfly to evoke metamorphosis and rebirth, Atwoodreplaces the negative aspects of contemporary sexuality described by Eliot by a fertilelandscape that asserts itself against Eliot’s sterile civilization.
Later poems that concern themselves with the dilemma about writing and experienceuse more sophisticated structural devices to achieve immediacy by involving the readerin the creative process. This also extends to the carefully crafted narrative structuresin her fiction that, in my view, contribute to the communicative effectiveness ofher writing. It is especially noticeable in The Robber Bride, which is a frame narrativecontaining three individual narratives where each forms a kind of palindrome in timeand space. With this elaborate narrative structure, which is a symmetrical patternof repetition by inversion (chiasmus) of temporal space, Atwood not only emphasizesthe constructed nature of storytelling but also uses this configuration as a meansto focus attention on the centred part of the narrative structure. By putting eachprotagonist’s childhood at the very centre of her particular narrative, she letsnarrative form enact meaning, iconically miming how childhood functions as a keyto the person’s character. The chiastic or ‘palindromic’ structure further emphasizesthe feeling of split subjectivity experienced by all three characters, who all havedual identities and have all changed names.
Jewish Imagism: “A Few Don’ts”
Barbara Mann, Princeton
The Second Commandment bans the making of images. This prohibition is the ‘origin’of Jewish culture’s ostensible antipathy toward art. Recent scholarship has critiquedthe accuracy of this view, while attempting to understand its relation to modernJewish identity. My paper addresses the implications of this supposedly aniconicsensibility for modernist Jewish writing.
The rhetoric of Ezra Pound’s seminal manifesto “A Few Don’ts of an Imagiste”, composedin what he called “the Mosaic negative”, implies the potentially transgressive natureof poems with a strong visual element. I argue that modernist Yiddish and Hebrewpoetry had a unique relation to this blending of word and image, given the above-mentionedtaboo on visuality, and their iconic tie to the Hebrew alphabet. An anxiety vis-a-visovertly symbolist, linguistic image-making was part of the sensibility of Hebrewand Yiddish modernist writers. This anxiety is exemplified in a pair of manifestosby two leading poet-critics – Reuven Ayzland’s Art and Profanation [Yiddish] (NewYork, 1925) and Abraham Shlonsky’s Icon [Hebrew] (Tel Aviv, 1924). These manifestosprivilege a certain kind of poetic language, whose figurative force derives fromits subversion of traditional Hebrew textual and hermeneutic norms. Both manifestosframe their argument in terms which explicitly challenge the authority of the SecondCommandment. My reading demonstrates the extent to which the rhetoric of the image-makingban informs Hebrew and Yiddish modernist appraisals of ‘the word itself.’
I then turn to a specific example from modern Hebrew literature. I argue that EstherRaab’s first volume Kimshonim (Tel Aviv, 1929) exhibits a ‘visual poetics’, thatis — a poetic praxis which seeks to mimic the three-dimensional effects of the plasticarts. Raab’s convuluted syntax, visual cues and manipulation of verb tense all exploitthe indeterminacy and multiplicity of meaning inhering in language. I read her landscapepoetry against that of her contemporary, Shlonsky. Despite Shlonsky’s metapoeticcall for a revolution in poetic language, his poetry remained adamantly ‘textual’in its use of figurative, allegorical language. My reading demonstrates how Raab’swork actually performs the ‘visionary’ quality which Shlonsky only theorized. Whilethe relationship between Shlonsky’s and Raab’s landscape work has often been drawnalong gender lines, this distinction may also be understood within the rubrik ofa textual vs. a visual poetics.
“Which side of the mirror areyou on?”: ‘Iconizing’ Iconicity and the Poetics of the “Ectopic Eye” in Joan Retallack’sAfterrimages
Ming-Qian Ma, Las Vegas
Alongside of the poststructuralist critique of the sign and language, there has emerged,since the 1970s, a particular kind of visual prosody in American avant-garde poetry.In direct contrast to the tradition of visual poetics foregrounding representation,as is evidenced, among many other examples, in the works of George Herbert, EzraPound, and e.e. cummings, this experimental praxis, commonly referred to as the ‘Languagewriting’ or ‘Language poetry’, articulates the tension between form and its ‘dis-content’,interrogating language itself as the discursive mechanism which, as Michel Foucaulthas observed, “has the power to represent its representation.”
American Language poetry, as such, engages a two-fold investigation best describedby Gilles Deleuze when he writes: “There is no link that could move from the visibleto the statement, or from the statement to the visible. But there is a continualrelinking which takes place over the irrational break or crack.”
Highly page-specific and non-linear, Language poetry thus presents a reversal ofthe traditional ocular paradigm by way of a typography that maps not the externalworld but the empirical, the structural, and the normative parameters within whichmirroring is itself made possible. Iconicity, in this sense, becomes self-mirroring,appropriated as the iconicity of its own iconic mechanism, bringing into visibilitywhat “we forget ... in order to pass from one word to the next” (Retallack). Designatingthe word as its site of investigation and exploration, iconicity in Language poetrytakes the form of an “ectopic eye” (Retallack) that examines the double play of theprefix “after-”, foregrounding the material diversity out of which conceptual unityis constructed.
The proposed paper will investigate the typography in Joan Retallack’s Afterrimages(1995) as the topography of iconicity in the context of the visual prosody of AmericanLanguage poetry and poetics.
Iconicity and Rhetoric
Wolfgang G. Müller, Jena
The language of rhetorical discourse is basically not different from that of ordinaryor natural discourse, but rhetoric uses language in a more organised, more structured,more formalised and also in a more expressive way which is targeted towards achievinga persuasive effect. It is quite obvious that in the attempt to achieve particulareffectiveness and persuasiveness rhetoric draws heavily on iconicity. This is perhapsthe reason why linguists exploring the iconic dimension of language have frequentlyreferred to examples from rhetoric such as Caesar’s famous dictum ‘Veni, vidi, vici’,which, with its syntactic form and its sound structure, is distinctly rhetorical.The proposed paper will proceed from a discussion of theoretical aspects of the problemof iconicity in rhetoric to an analysis of various forms and functions of iconicityin Shakespeare’s works, which have been called “the greatest achievement of classicalrhetoric” (George Kennedy). Devices to be discussed will be, among others, repetition,chiasmus, ellipsis, climax, and gradation. Ekphrasis as a rhetorical phenomenon inwhich iconicity is very conspicuous will receive special attention. A last problemto be discussed will be the question whether there is a difference between rhetoricaland poetic expression with regard to iconicity.
Some Iconic Functions of Longand Short Lines in Poetry
Max Nänny, Zürich
The line is the chief visual (and auditory) unit of poetry. Now, it can be shownthat poets since the Renaissance have made a frequent iconic use of typographic lineationto mime or re-enforce textual meaning. In my paper I shall focus only on some iconicfunctions of line-length in traditional texts since Shakespeare. I shall presentan array of illustrative examples from mainly pre-Modernist, traditional literarytexts, especially, but not exclusively, from 17th and 18th century poetry, and Ishall attempt a rough categorization of the various iconic uses the length of lineshas been put to.
First, I shall show how the long line has been employed as an icon of spatial length(metaphorically also of streams, lances, arrows or swords) or temporal length, ofspatial wideness (metaphorically of wings too), of spreading, stretching or swelling;of size or height (metaphorically also of royal and celestial grandeur). But I shallalso discuss the conspicuously long line as an icon of protrusion (metaphoricallyof the tongue as well), of excess, surplus or surpassing.
Turning to the short line I shall investigate a few cases in which it has been usednot only as an icon of a small object, narrowness, of constriction or shrinking butalso as an icon of solitariness, absence, loss, vacancy or of silence.
Finally, I shall consider how poets have, much more rarely, exploited the visualstaggering of line-length as a diagrammatic icon of change. I shall study how a successionof increasingly long lines may indicate growth, increase of volume or expansion andhow increasingly shorter lines may emblematize decrease or decline.
To my knowledge, this is the first attempt at discovering the iconic potential inherentin the visual length of poetic lines.
Semiotic Foundations of Iconicityin Language
Winfried Nöth, Kassel
The relevance of the semiotic theory of iconicity to linguistics was first discoveredby Roman Jakobson. More recently, the study of iconicity in language has become amajor topic of cognitive linguistics. It was Jakobson’s merit to extend the scopeof study to the three Peircean categories of imaginal, diagrammatic and metaphoriciconicity. In spite of more and more attention to the topic, the full extent to whichlanguage is iconic has not yet been sufficiently explored.
In the Jakobsonian tradition, linguistic iconicity has mainly been seen as a signans-signatumrelation, in which language appears as an icon of the world. In addition to suchexophoric (referential) modes of iconicity, however, endophoric iconicity has tobe considered. It consists of signans-signans relationships due to an iconic mappingof language forms in the domains of both langue (system) and parole (text). Iconicityfrom system to text is an effect of grammar, where the patterns of morphology andsyntax constitute diagrams whose structures tend to be mapped into texts. Iconicitywithin the system is apparent in patterns of sameness and opposition, which can beinterpreted as modes of symmetry and antisymmetry. Iconicity from system to systemplays a role in language change. There is iconicity from text to text in intra- andintertextual recurrences.
A still wider range of iconicity in language emerges when we consider Peirce’s theoryof the iconic nature of mental images and his theses that ideas can only be communicatedby means of icons and that new information can only be conveyed by the compositionof iconic signs.
On Natural Motivation in Metaphors:The Case of the Cucurbits
Ralf Norrman, Tampere
My paper starts out from the realization that when something from nature is usedfiguratively in language, then we are no longer necessarily in the Saussurean worldof the arbitraire. In a metaphor of this kind, the relationship between the syntagmaticand the paradigmatic has been changed, so that although our syntagmatic expectation(the expectation of some degree of similarity, or some other connection between thelinks in the syntagmatic chain) may stay the same, the choice of paradigm from whichto pick a word for a certain slot in the syntagm has been manipulated, and a drasticneed for a new decoding has been created. The recipient (listener or reader) basesthis decoding on the assumption that there will be some similarity-in-dissimilarity,or dissimilarity-in-similarity, despite the initial shock and puzzlement.
This mechanism explains why metaphors are understood the first time they are used.It also explains why some metaphors are more apt than others. The listener’s (reader’s)decoding in these cases turns into an exercise in Realsemiotik. In other words, toget to the bottom of what one’s interlocutor has meant, it is no longer sufficientto stay within language as a system of conventional and arbitrarily assigned meanings—aswe usually do even in the case of one category of metaphors, i.e. that large numberof metaphors which have ‘faded’ or ‘died’, and thus reentered the category of thearbitraire (and the thesei-framework). Instead you have to contemplate and analyzethe interrelation of actual real-world items.
At this symposium we are, I hope, not interested in ‘faded’ or ‘dead’ metaphors;such ‘faded’ metaphors should not be accorded any privileged status in our investigations.On the contrary, it should be our task, if I have understood this correctly, to studythat smaller area of language (such as the case that I am interested in), in whichmetaphors are constantly being born, live, but do not really ever ‘die’, becausethe meaning is intrinsic, and can, if need arises, be deduced forever anew, not fromhuman mastery of language, but from human perception of nature.
In my paper I shall present a number of hypotheses, and make a number of claims:that some metaphors are more apt than others; also that there are degrees in theexpressivity of such metaphors. Further that there may be (as in the case of thecucurbits) latently in existence a perfect semiotic matrix, with connotations whichhave not accumulated arbitrarily through the ages, and differently in different places,but connotations which are (in the main) intrinsic and inevitable, because of thephysiology of the plant family, and the similarity in human perception of these physiologicalfeatures.
Thus the main and overall hypothesis is that the semiotic role of the cucurbits asa symbol is the same through all ages, and everywhere in the world.
Renaissance RepresentationalAesthetics and the Verbal Icon: An Example from Shakespeare
Natalia Carbajosa Palmero, Salamanca
In theatre semiotics, theatrical signs are divided into icons, indexes and symbols(Peirce 1974). When we apply this division to historical contexts, we see how eachsign is foregrounded upon the others depending on the artistic tendencies of themoment. Accordingly, the icon is the Renaissance sign par excellence: the time whenman becomes a seeing subject, a spectator who looks at his/her own world as it isrepresented by means of the laws of similarity.
Renaissance artistic iconicity is reflected primarily in painting. But theatre, beingalso a visual spectacle, takes on the same kind of techniques. And here comes Shakespeare’stheatre on stage: relying on this new status of man as the looking subject and ofthe visual sign as a close representation of reality, he incorporates the verbalicon (Elam 1983) in his dramatic discourse, that is, making a rhetorical use of paintingwith words what is usually rendered visually: descriptions that observe Leonardo’sconcept of perspective, intricate landscapes visualized merely by verbal virtuosity,vivid descriptions of paintings ... it is the joint work of both techniques, verbaland visual, that makes such procedure an invaluable example of linguistic iconicity.Through concrete examples taken from Shakespeare’s plays, this investigation willattempt to show the workings of such a strategy in the context of Renaissance representationalaesthetics.
Anderson, Judith H. (1996) Words that Matter: Linguistic Perception in RenaissanceEnglish. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Debray, Régis (1994) Vida y muerte de la imagen: Historia de la mirada enOccidente. Barcelona: Paidós.
Dessen, Alan (1977) Elizabethan Drama and the Viewer’s Eye. Chapell Hill: Universityof North Carolina Press.
Dundas, Judith (1993) Pencils Rhetorique: Renaissance Poets and the Art of Painting.Newark: University of Delaware Press.
Elam, Keir (1980) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. London: Methuen.
Elam, Keir (1983) Shakespeare’s Universe of Discourse: Language Games in the Comedies.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Farmer, Norman (1984) Poets and the Visual Arts in Renaissance England. Austin: Universityof Texas Press.
Freedman, Barbara (1991) ‘Displacing a Spectator Consciousness: Theater, Psychoanalysis,and Renaissance Considerations of Representability’. In Freedman, Barbara, Stagingthe Gaze: Postmodernism, Psychoanalysis, and Shakespearean Comedy. Ithaca: CornellUniversity Press, 7-46.
Frye, R.M. (1980), ‘Ways of Seeing Shakespearean Drama and Elizabethan Painting’.SQ 30, 323-342.
Peirce, Charles Sanders (1974)La ciencia de la semiótica. Buenos Aires: Nueva Visión. Iconicity asa Dynamic Construct
Jean Peeters, Lorient
The notion of iconicity has often been used by advocates of the ‘substantialist’,‘natural’ and/or ‘cognitive paradigm’ to show that supporters of the ‘arbitrarinessparadigm’ fall wide of the mark when they try to account for many linguistic phenomenasuch as onomatopeia or reduplication. Yet, within the same substantialist paradigm,one finds divergences between those who, like Bouissac (1986: 198), consider thatamong the “three fallacies [that] seem to be particularly responsible for the inconclusivenessof the critiques of the traditional ‘definitions’ of iconicity [one] claims thatthere are degrees of iconicity, and that the signs which exhibit the greatest detailsare more iconic than the ones whose perceptual features are reduced to a minimum”and a majority who, like Givón (1985: 192), think that “the traditional, prototypicalicon and symbol are two extreme points on a scale that represents degree of abstractionor generalization.” Besides, in the very same substantialist paradigm again, thereare apparently differences concerning the directionality of iconicity as a relationof similarity. If for many researchers “the syntax of human language is not arbitrary,but rather is somehow isomorphic to its mental designatum” (Givón 1995: 48)- in other words language somehow reflects that which it stands for -, others holdthat with iconicity “we transfer a property of the sign onto the designatum” (Posner1985: 306). In the former definition the directionality of the iconicity relationshipis one that goes from the designatum to the sign, whereas in the latter quotationwe are made to understand that the sign imposes whatever similarity on its designatum.
In the present paper I will place myself in the framework of a theory called glossology.This approach posits that language functions dialectically and is made up of threecontradictory poles. The first one is the cognitive basis of language: the worldwe live in is first and foremost that of our different perceptions; our world isperceptually organised, it is not amorphous. The second pole is the re-analysis ofperception through a structural grid made of words, grammatical constructions, phonemes,etc. whose definition is structural and purely formal. The third one is more specificallyconcerned with the construction of meaning, not as a set of pre-established immediatelyretrievable ‘things’, but as a dynamic relationship between words and grammaticalconstructions, on the one hand, and the perceived world, on the other. Meaning isviewed, from this point of view, as an attempt by words and grammatical constructionsto be adequate to what we perceive. This definition of language is functionalistin so far as it posits that meaning is the final pole of a dialectic, and is cognitivelydetermined as well as lexically and grammatically organised. Using this approachand taking examples from English, I will try to show that linguistic iconicity, thatis the relation of similarity between the sign and its designatum, is but one aspectof the relational nature of meaning, and that the scale between more iconic/lesssymbolic elements and less iconic/more symbolic elements reflects the scale to befound in the dynamics of meaning and of language. One extreme way of meaningfullylinking the formal structure of language with its cognitive basis is by trying tomake perception adequate to the lexical and grammatical organisation of language(viz. the Jakobsonean arbitrary-looking ‘poetic function’ of language). The otherextreme way is by trying to render the lexical and grammatical organisation of languageadequate to perception.
Effet de réel and Iconicity
John Pier, Tours
Roland Barthes’ effet de réel is examined in terms of the semiotic trianglein order to show how the ‘concrete detail’ of the literary text presupposes a ‘directcollusion between the referent and the signifier’ that seeks to evacuate the signified,as though unmediated brute details were to function as signifiers rather than asreferents. While such a process (notwithstanding Barthes’ affiliation with glossematics)would suggest that what Peirce calls the ‘imaginal icon’ is identical with the originalrather than a copy of the original, it would seem that the effet de réel callsfor a gradation that includes the ‘imaginal’ icon, but also index and stimulus.
The effet de réel thus subtly re-introduces the question of motivation intothe textual sign. In a second development, I will seek to expand this point by lookingat Roman Jakobson’s ‘poetic principle’ in light of Peirce’s ‘diagrammatic’ iconicity,based on an analogy of relations—an aspect of sign theory whose relevance to linguisticcategories has come to be more appreciated in recent years, notably by the practitionersof ‘natural linguistics’, but also whose applicability to textual patterns and schemaappears in the form of Peirce’s ‘legisign’, providing a sort of ‘grid’ for representationby textual means. While poetic meter and prosody provide some of the most strikinginstances of textual iconicity, the diagrammatic features of narrative devices andcategories also merit consideration
Dickens’s and Joyce’s VisualArt
Anna Maria Piglionica, Lecce
The object of my notes is the description of some fragments of Dickens’s and Joyce’sprose. Perhaps it is obvious to say that reading is not a neutral ability, it isa complex process involving various elements: the sensibility and the culture ofthe reader, the scanning of the page, the recognition of graphemes which create alinguistic architecture at a visual and phonological level. During the act of readingwe see not only landscapes which are beyond the text (in this case language wouldbe only a transparent veil) but also, and perhaps first of all, we see a living architecturederiving from the relationship between linguistic elements, the punctuation marksand the empty spaces of the page. Such visual features, by interfering with the phonosymbolicvalency of the words and the extra-textual references, make interpretation an adventurewhich cannot be detached from the physicality of the words.
I am of the opinion that fancy, imagination, vision and dream are key words not onlyduring Romanticism, they belong to the very nature of any artistic process becausethey focus on the relationship (their etymology is at the basis of this concept)between seeing and speaking, observing and describing. Only through an intense contactwith a text do the still unsolved doubts about the concepts of ‘arbitrariness’ and‘similarity’ between the linguistic sign and the world, stimulate reflections aboutthe presence of the world, either linguistic or natural, with its high quotient ofarbitrariness, mutability, conventions, naturalness within a literary text. Are linguisticconventions always far from human perceptions? Are they always an expression of whathas been learned, apprehended with reference to a world that is only linguistic?
I am unable to give an answer from a strictly theoretical point of view. I can onlysuggest that in a literary text a meaning also emerges from an order of the wordswhich violates rules, i.e. violates what has been fixed by a social agreement, bya convention.
I will consider a passage from chapter 48 of Oliver Twist where the linguistic architecturedraws Sykes’ tortuous run on the page, while the high frequency of aspirate sounds,often marking proper names written with capital letters, suggests the variety ofthe landscape and the anxiety of the criminal in flight. I will also look at theincipit of chapter 10 of Hard Times, where the two words ‘Stephen Blackpool’ (thesubject of the long paragraph at the end instead of at the beginning) are squashedby sentences which reproduce one within the other; here the condition of the worker,crushed by enormous machines, acquires an exceptional relief thanks to the iconicuse of language.
An example from chapter 12 of Ulysses is the extraordinary use of asyndeton and polysyndeton,which control the time of reading. This suggests the dissolving views and close-upsof the avant garde films and reveals states of perception joined to the particularplace described by the text.
Telegraphing the Sentence and theStory: Iconicity in “In the Cage” by Henry James
Tomas Pollard, Almere
In Henry James’s “In the Cage” (1898) a telegraphist concentrates all of her imaginationon de-coding the telegrams of two aristocrats whom, she intuits, are having an affair.While she works in the “cage”, the window at the post office, she can fly the coopby trying to find out something about the aristocrats through her “extraordinaryway of keeping clues” (180). While she tries to order the haphazard details gleanedfrom the messages, James often uses the cage of the sentence to mimic how the telegraphistescapes her cage by fantasizing about the life of the young lovers. James’ iconicity,expressed in elliptical syntax and the structure of the plot, mimics the desperateattempt of a lower class telegraphist to collect enough information from the allusivetelegrams of two aristocrats to create a vicarious life.
A sentence on the unnamed telegraphist’s curiosity about the lady aristocrat, whosetrue identity is still being de-coded, mimics her projection of her own imaginativegaze onto the lady’s eyes:
To Cissy, to Mary, whichever it was, she found her curiosity going out with a rush,a mute effusion that floated back to her, like a returning tide, the living colourand splendour of the beautiful head, the light of eyes that seemed to reflect suchutterly other things than the mean things actually before them. . . . (180-1)
The eyes of Cissy or Mary “seemed to reflect such utterly other things”, especiallythe creative leaps made by the telegraphist about the affair between two strangersthat she and the reader can only verify at the story’s end. Reading the convolutedstory told by a limited omniscient narrator, who must complete the portrait of thelovers through the telegraphist’s chance contacts, reflects the act of waiting forthe last words of a telegram to complete a suspenseful message.
Like the letters in a telegram that, when collected, come together to form a setof decipherable words, James’ sentences often delay or prevent ‘intelligibility’by imbedding a prepositional phrase or dependent clause within the cage of the sentenceand placing the key to the sentence’s meaning at the end. For example, while theshort phrases surrounded by commas work on a visual level like the beeps and pausesin a telegraph transmission, James obscures the syntax in this case in order to imitatethe telegraphist’s distraction when counting the words in a message of the male lover:“And here it occurred, oddly enough, that if, shortly before, the girl’s interestin his companion [Mary or Cissy] had sharpened her sense for the messages then transmitted,her immediate vision of himself had the effect, while she counted his seventy words,of preventing intelligibility” (182). The structure of the sentence slightly hinderscomprehension and delays completion until the end. Here is another example: “Blurredand blank as the whole thing often inevitably, or mercifully, became, she could still,through crevices and crannies, be stupefied, especially by what, in spite of allseasoning, touched the sorest place in her consciousness, the revelation of the goldenshower flying about without a gleam of gold for herself” (188).
To be brief, many other examples will substantiate my claim that James consciouslymanipulates the structure of the plot and his sentences to reflect the telegraphist’scompulsive snooping in the cage and longing for mystery out of it. James recapturesher fantasies and narrow circumstances most evocatively in his improvisations inthe cage of the sentence.
The Sound as an Echo to theSense: the Iconicity of English gl-words
Piotr Sadowski, Dublin
Although semiotics and structural linguistics have always stressed the essentiallyarbitrary nature of the linguistic sign, scholars such as Otto Jespersen, EdwardSapir, or Roman Jakobson have consistently allowed for the iconic use of articulatedsounds, as in children’s talk or oral poetry. In fact, from the evolutionary pointof view we can distinguish at least the following main types of linguistic signs:
(1) emotive: the most archaic, non-representational, consisting of articulated soundsaccompanied by emotive responses to typical life situations such as survival, sexualbehaviour, search for food, group integration and so on;
(2) iconic: representational in the sense of intuitive, imitative and ‘natural’ associationbetween the sound shape of language and the physical properties of objects, states,and phenomena;
(3) arbitrary: non-representational, based on conventional relations between theauditory or visual form of the sign and its meaning, as in most historical spokenlanguages, in phonetic alphabets, and in systems of notation used in science, especiallyin mathematics.
The iconic use of language is often bound up with the emotive quality of certainsounds, as in sound symbolism of children’s talk, religious (‘mantric’) language,as well as poetry, especially of traditional metrical type with its heavy use ofthe evocative power of rhyme, assonance, repetition, and alliteration.
In the analytic part the paper will explore the sound-symbolic quality of Englishwords beginning with gl-: a consonantal cluster consisting of the ‘energic’, ‘explosive’voiced velar stop and the ‘smooth’, ‘soft’, and ‘light’ liquid /l/. The discussionwill focus on the synchronic analysis of the semantic fields of gl-words in the entireOld English, Middle English, and Modern English lexicons, and on the diachronic changesin the iconicity of gl-words. For example, even a cursory glance at the ModE setreveals the presence of the following main semantic fields: light and brightness(glare, glass, gleam, glimmer, glisten, glitter, glow, etc.); seeing and looking(glance, glare, glimpse, gloat, etc.); and quick, light movement (glace, glent, glide,glint, etc.). The lexical and semantic analysis will address the following questions:
S are the existing semantic fields of gl-words a result of random associations, historicaletymology, or non-random and non-arbitrary sound-symbolic connotations of these words;
S are there lexical connections between the distinguished semantic fields of gl-words;
S are there any developmental patterns in the iconicity of gl-words from Old to ModernEnglish; in particular, does the sound-symbolic quality decrease or increase withtime;
S is the iconicity of gl-words language specific or cross-cultural, and how doesit affect and is it affected by lexical borrowings etc.
The expressiveness and evocativeness of gl-words will also be tested by examplesfrom medieval alliterative poetry (mainly from the Pearl manuscript), whose mainmetrical device of stringing together words of identical initial sounds offers anopportunity of exploring the sound-symbolic value of gl-cluster in poetic language.
Sonicity in the Nausicaa Episodeof James Joyce’s Ulysses
Peter de Voogd, Utrecht
The audible counterpart of iconicity is ‘sonicity’, and it plays an important partin the stylistic experiment of James Joyce’s Ulysses. I distinguish between threetypes of sonicity: the quasi-realistic representation of a sound; the deliberatelyunrealistic anthropomorphic rendering of one; and formal onomatopoeia. In my paperI will briefly outline this, with examples. I will next place the Nausicaa episodeof Ulysses in context, and, limiting myself to instances where Joyce achieves hiseffects through the orthography of his text, discuss in close detail three shortpassages in the episode in which, as I hope to demonstrate, this variant of iconicityproper is particularly important.
Magic Iconism: Defamiliarization,Sympathetic Magic, and Visual Poetry (Guillaume Apollinaire and E. E. Cummings)
Mike Webster, Allendale
At first glance, one might think that iconicity is just another one of those devicesgrouped under the rather vague heading of defamiliarization. And one would not befar wrong: many iconic devices do indeed “make objects ‘unfamiliar’ . . . make formsdifficult . . . [and] increase the difficulty and length of perception” (Shklovsky12). Defamiliarization occurs in many guises: it may refer either to the content(what Shklovsky calls “objects”) or to the form (what Shklovsky usually calls “devices”)of a work of art. As Lee Lemon and Marion Reis remind us, defamiliarization “is notso much a device as a result obtainable by any number of devices” (5). Writers defamiliarizeform and content in different ways for many different reasons. According to Shklovsky,Tolstoy achieves “the sensation of life” (12) by describing “an object as if he wereseeing it for the first time” (13); others like Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy“bare the technique” as “an end in itself” (30). Still others like Duchamp may wantto question the institution of art or the status of the artist as source or ‘genius’,while others like John Cage may want to stage an event that changes the immediateenvironment (Perloff, Radical 27).
Iconicity, too, works through various devices to achieve various ends: as GeoffreyLeech says, “the possibilities of ‘form enacting meaning’ are virtually unlimited”(242). In their widest definitions, then, both figures or “principles” (Leech 235)achieve their effects by the operation of a principle (“making content and / or formunfamiliar” and “form enacting meaning”) through a variety of semiotic means. Themain difference between these two stylistic principles is this: defamiliarizationdevices and effects work by making the usual or natural seems unusual or unnatural,while iconic devices and effects work by making the unnatural (language, for example)seem natural, or motivated. One estranges the natural or the seemingly natural, whilethe other imitates the natural or the seemingly natural. Defamiliarization has todo with culture rather than nature, with art rather than life, with difference ratherthan similarity. On the other hand, iconicity is a figure based on its similarityto lifelike natural processes. Indeed, Leech calls iconicity “the imitation principle”(233).
Of course, imitation and similarity can also be alienating. As Roman Jakobson’s famousdefinition shows, poetry is based on similarity or ‘equivalence’ (rhyme, rhythm,etc.), while it nevertheless stresses non-referential aspects of language, and thusdiffers from ordinary language use. While traditional poetry introduces potentiallyalienating devices like rhyme and rhythm in the symbolic system of language, visualpoetry sets up a further tension between the two poles of the symbolic and iconic.Words work within the usual symbol system, while various visual and iconic devices(e.g., patterns, breaks in words, white space, various type-sizes, visual syntax)work to defamiliarize that system. Some visual poems defamiliarize the arbitrarysymbolic nature of language in a rather extraordinary way: by connecting with naturethrough sympathetic magic. For example, in Apollinaire’s poem “Coeur couronne etmiroir”, the poet ‘draws’ a magic circle of words around his own name. The wordsread: “Dans ce miroir je suis enclos vivant et vrai comme on imagine les anges etnon comme sont les reflets.” [In this mirror I am enclosed living and true as weimagine angels to be and not as reflections are]. The visual break-up of words intodiscrete syllables forces the reader into the slow, incantatory tone proper to thechanting of magic spells. It is the reader who activates the spell which transformsthe mirror into a halo or mandorla (or perhaps a laurel wreath)—which in turn transformsthe name inside into the poet’s living presence. Indeed, this sort of poetry is asort of charm, a word descended “from carmen, song” (Frye 278). Apollinaire invokesan ancient sort of sympathetic magic, which works by metonymic transfer, to presenthimself “vivant et vrai” to the reader.
Besides this example, the paper will discuss a few of E. E. Cummings’ nature poems,which use iconic and magic means to reinforce the identity of poet and nature. Inall cases I have studied, the magic can only be activated in the reading process,through metaphoric or metonymic means. As Frederic Jameson has pointed out, the twotypes of sympathetic magic (homeopathic and contagious) work by metaphoric and metonymicmeans (cf. Jameson 123, Frazer 11-12). One may say that homeopathic magic is iconic,while contagious magic is indexical. In practice, of course, the two magics blendand work together. But the crucial points are these: through magic, iconism connectsthe poem to the world of nature, while at the same time creating a defamiliarizingtension between icon and symbol. Most other defamiliarization techniques, however,call into question all sorts of cultural, natural, and aesthetic presuppositionswhile leaving the symbol system of language intact. It is the simultaneous interruptionof the normal language system and imitation of the natural that makes visual poetrya challenging genre to read.
The Semiotics of the miseen abyme: Aspects of the Iconic Super-Sign in Heraldry, Baroque and Modern Literature
John J. White, London
In choosing to develop further (for the purposes of literary semiotics) Martin Krampen’sconcept of the iconic ‘super-sign’,* I propose in this paper to concentrate mainlyon non-linear forms of organizational iconicity. In this respect, my approach isintended to mark a continuation of C.S. Peirce’s interest in iconicity as a formof similarity of relationships (as in diagrams, charts, models and certain formsof mathematical equations).
The paper’s starting-point will be André Gide’s discussion of the literaryphenomenon whereby a section of a text reflects, in miniature, certain features ofthe work as a whole. For this phenomenon Gide proposed the Old French heraldic termmise en abyme, meaning the conceit of having - usually at the center of a coat-of-arms- a miniature version of the entire crest. A preliminary presentation of such heraldicdevices will explore differences in degrees of isomorphism between miniature andwhole in different contexts and consider some of the general procedural differencesbetween heraldic and literary mise en abyme iconography.
The subsequent focus on material from two periods of literature - the seventeenthcentury and the modernist - is intended to bring out certain differences betweentwo radically different conceptions of iconicity. In the seventeenth century, therelationship between miniature and whole within the work will be seen to reflectthe wider conception of an iconic relationship between miniature (the work) and whole(the world) in terms of microcosm and macrocosm. The main implications of the ideaof the book, as an iconic super-sign signifying the world, qua God’s book of signsto mankind, will be considered. As a bridge to the modern illustrations, some ofthese ideas will then be explored in one of the key novels to bring together latemedieval conceptions of signification and modern Peircean semiotics: Umberto Eco’sThe Name of the Rose.
The second and main part of the paper consists of a semiotic analysis of examplesof the mise en abyme in twentieth-century literature, with the focus being mainlyon Kafka, Gide and the French nouveau roman. Instead of being part of a set of religiousand philosophical assumptions about the iconicity of the text-world relationship,the mise en abyme will now be seen to be essentially a form of aesthetic self-referentiality.
Within this framework of comparisons between the mise en abyme in heraldry and intwo distinct literary periods, illustrations will be considered which have been deliberatelychosen to bring out the variety of ways in which iconic super-sign relationshipscan be established in literary contexts.
Methodologically, the proposed paper represents an attempt at mapping MieczyzlawWallis’s thinking on super-signs as complex configurations of signs existing on ascale from schemata to pleromata** on to the general theory of the super-sign tobe found in Peirce, Krampen et al.
* ‘The Role of Signs in Different Sign Processes: Towards a Basis of Generative Semiotics’,Versus, 4 (1973), 116.
** Art and Signs (Bloomington, Indiana, 1975)
The Emergenceof Iconicity in Landscape Descriptions of English Fiction
Werner Wolf, Graz
My paper deals with landscape descriptions as a kind of (diagram matic) literaryiconicity in which verbal signs imitate, in the fields of semantics, thematic focusand discursive sequence, what has been em phasized by Gombrich and Eco as actualobjects of iconic similarity: not objects as such but structures and conventionsof perception.
Landscape descriptions have been an integral part of fiction since the days of Homer.Yet it was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that they showed amarkedly iconic quality in the sense mentioned above on a major scale. Previously,descriptions in fiction obeyed the constraints of the verbal medium rather than imitatingpatterns of perception: they tended to enumerate objects from an omniscient, externaland often static point of view and often took the form of lists which followed logicalor intertextual ordering principles rather than conditions and conventions of seeing.In contrast to this, fictional descriptions, in the latter part of the eighteenthcentury, belatedly began to imitate conditions of visual perception. Among thesethere was one which in painting had become conventional as early as in the Renaissance:visual perspective. Its emergence enhanced the experiential quality as well as thereaderly visualization of the described objects because verbal description now iconicallytried to imitate what was felt to be going on in perception.
Starting from the background of a non-iconic, ‘medium-oriented’ description, I willconcentrate on some landscape portraits in eighteenth-century English novels (seethe quotes following this abstract) and on their iconic, ‘perception-oriented’ qualities:the imitation of visual perspective (the rendering of the described objects and theirvisibility according to an imaginary and sometimes dynamized internal point of view);the correlation between textual and visual focus; the contiguity of discursive objectsmirroring contiguity in perception. I will also deal briefly with the cultural conditionsof this change towards iconic descriptions: the emphasis on subjectivity and aestheticillusion as well as the aesthetics of the sublime and the intermedial influence ofpainting.
1) Sir Philip Sidney. The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (1593). Ed. M. Evans. Harmondsworth:Penguin, 1977, I/7, p. 69 f.:
There were hills which garnished their proud heights with stately trees; humble valleyswhose base estate seemed comforted with refreshing of silver rivers; meadows enamelledwith all sorts of eye-pleasing flowers; thickets, which, being lined with most pleasantshade, were witnessed so to by the cheerful deposition of many well-tuned birds;each pasture stored with sheep feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambswith bleating oratory craved the dams’ comfort; here a shepherd’s boy piping as thoughhe should never be old; there a young shepherdess knitting and withal singing, andit seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work and her hands kept time to hervoice’s music. As for the houses of the country - for many houses came under theireye - they were all scattered, no two being one by the other, and yet not so faroff as that it barred mutual succour: a show, as it were, of an accompanable solitarinessand of a civil wildness.
2a) Henry Fielding. Tom Jones (1749). Ed. R. P. C. Mutter. Har mondsworth: Penguin,1966, I/4, p. 58:
It stood on the south-east of a hill, but nearer the bottom than the top of it, soas to be sheltered from the north-east by a grove of old oaks, which rose above itin a gradual ascent of near half a mile, and yet high enough to enjoy a most charmingprospect of the valley beneath.
In the midst of the grove was a fine lawn, sloping down towards the house, near thesummit of which rose a plentiful spring, gushing out of a rock covered with firs,and forming a constant cascade of about thirty foot, not carried down a regular flightof steps, but tumbling in a natural fall over the broken and mossy stones, till itcame to the bottom of the rock; then running off in a pebly channel, that with manylesser falls winded along, till it fell into a lake at the foot of the hill, abouta quarter of a mile below the house on the south side, and which was seen from everyroom in the front. Out of this lake, which filled the center of a beautiful plain,embellished with groupes of beeches and elms, and fed with sheep, issued a river,that, for several miles, was seen to meander through an amazing variety of meadowsand woods, till it emptied itself into the sea: with a large arm of which, and anisland beyond it, the prospect was closed.
2b) Fielding, Tom Jones, I/4, p. 59:
Reader, take, care, I have unadvisedly led thee to the top of as high a hill as MrAllworthy’s, and how to get thee down without breaking thy neck, I do not well know.However, let us e’en venture to slide down together, for Miss Bridget rings her bell,and Mr Allworthy is summoned to breakfast, where I must attend [...]
2c) Fielding, Tom Jones, I/4, p. 59:
It was now the middle of May, and the morning was remarkably serene, when Mr Allworthywalked forth on the terrace, where the dawn opened every minute that lovely prospectwe have before described to his eye.
3) Ann Radcliffe. The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). The World’s Classics. Ed. B. Dobr‚e/F.Garber. Oxford: OUP, 1980, II/5, pp. 225-227:
As the travellers [...] ascended among the pine forests, steep rose over steep, themountains seemed to multiply, as they went, and what was the summit of one eminenceproved to be only the base of another. At length, they reached a little plain, wherethe drivers stopped to rest the mules, whence a scene of such extent and magnificenceopened below, as drew even from Madame Montoni a note of admiration. Emily lost,for a moment, her sorrows, in the immensity of nature. Beyond the amphitheatre ofmountains, that stretched below, whose tops appeared as numerous almost, as the wavesof the sea, and whose feet were concealed by the forests - extended the Campagnaof Italy, where cities and rivers, and woods and all the glow of cultivation weremingled in gay confusion. The Adriatic bounded the horizon [...]
Towards the close of day, the road wound into a deep valley. Mountains, whose shaggysteeps appeared to be inaccessible, almost surrounded it. To the east, a vista opened,that exhibited the Apennines in their darkest horrors; and the long perspective ofretiring sumits, rising over each other, their ridges clothed with pines, exhibiteda stronger image of grandeur, than any that Emily had yet seen. The sun had justsunk below the top of the mountains she was descending, whose long shadows stretchedathwart the valley, but its sloping rays, shooting through an opening of the cliffs,touched with a yellow gleam the summits of the forest, that hung upon the oppositesteeps, and streaming in full splendour upon the towers and battlements of a castle,that spread its extensive ramparts along the brow of a precipice above. The splendourof these illumined objects was heightened by the contrasted shade, which involvedthe valley below. [...]
Emily gazed with melancholy awe upon the castle, which she understood to be Montoni’s;for though it was now lighted up by the setting sun, the gothic greatness of itsfeatures, and its mouldering walls of dark grey stone, rendered it a gloomy and sublimeobject. As she gazed, the light died away on its walls, leaving a melancholic purpletint, which spread deeper and deeper, as the thin vapour crept up the mountain, whilethe battlements above were still tipped with splendour. From those too, the rayssoon faded, and the whole edifice was invested with the solemn duskiness of evening.[...] As the twilight deepened, its features became more awful in obscurity, andEmily continued to gaze, till its clustering towers were alone seen, rising overthe tops of the woods, beneath whose thick shade the carriages soon after began toascend.
31 December 1999