Conversations with Lotman: Cultural Semiotics in Language, Literature, and Cognition

Edna Andrews


University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

Conversations with Lotman is a critical analysis of Russian cultural historian and theoretician Jurij Lotman's central contributions to the study of semiotics, including his writings on the "semiotics of culture" and the "semiotics of artistic space," and his efforts to model the production of cultural knowledge and how it is shared in any functioning semiotic space. Edna Andrews builds a narrative around Lotman's work by presenting the major principles of his cultural semiotic theory, including his doctrine of signs, his definition of the "semiosphere," and his modelling of communication as a means to create new knowledge and to share old knowledge.

Andrews also examines how Lotman's semiotic constructs relate to structuralist and post-structuralist semiotic theories, the work of other theorists of semiotics such as Charles S. Pierce and Thomas A. Sebeok, to twentieth-century Russian literary texts, and to the cognitive sciences. Andrews grapples with Lotman's difficult, sometimes contradictory, theories of human language, perception, and memory, offering semioticians the opportunity to read the first sustained study of Lotman's work in English.