Cinema and Semiotic: Peirce and Film Aesthetics, Narration, and Representation

By Johannes Ehrat

© 2004

'Meaning' in cinema is very complex, and the flood of theories that define it have, in certain ways, left cinematic meaning meaningless. Johannes Ehrat's analysis of meaning in cinema has convinced him that what is needed is greater philosophical reflection on the construction of meaning. In Cinema and Semiotic, he attempts to resurrect meaning by employing Charles S. Peirce's theories on semiotics to debate the major contemporary film theories that have diluted it.

Based on Peirce's Semiotic and Pragmatism, Ehrat offers a novel approach to cinematic meaning in three central areas: narrative enunciation, cinematic world appropriation, and cinematic perception. Attempting a comprehensive theory of cinema – instead of the regional 'middle-ground' theories that function only on certain 'common-sense' assumptions that borrow uncritically from psychophysiology – Ehrat further demonstrates how a semiotic approach grasps the nature of time, not in a psychological manner, but rather cognitively, and provides a new understanding of the particular filmic sign process that relates a sign to the existence or non-existence of objects. Never before has Peirce been so fruitfully employed for the comprehension of meaning in cinema.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 670 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 2.1in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP000814

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2005

    From: $98.25

    Regular Price: $131.00

    ISBN 9780802039125
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2005

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Quick Overview

Based on Peirce's Semiotic and Pragmatism, Ehrat offers a novel approach to cinematic meaning in three central areas: narrative enunciation, cinematic world appropriation, and cinematic perception.

Cinema and Semiotic: Peirce and Film Aesthetics, Narration, and Representation

By Johannes Ehrat

© 2004

'Meaning' in cinema is very complex, and the flood of theories that define it have, in certain ways, left cinematic meaning meaningless. Johannes Ehrat's analysis of meaning in cinema has convinced him that what is needed is greater philosophical reflection on the construction of meaning. In Cinema and Semiotic, he attempts to resurrect meaning by employing Charles S. Peirce's theories on semiotics to debate the major contemporary film theories that have diluted it.

Based on Peirce's Semiotic and Pragmatism, Ehrat offers a novel approach to cinematic meaning in three central areas: narrative enunciation, cinematic world appropriation, and cinematic perception. Attempting a comprehensive theory of cinema – instead of the regional 'middle-ground' theories that function only on certain 'common-sense' assumptions that borrow uncritically from psychophysiology – Ehrat further demonstrates how a semiotic approach grasps the nature of time, not in a psychological manner, but rather cognitively, and provides a new understanding of the particular filmic sign process that relates a sign to the existence or non-existence of objects. Never before has Peirce been so fruitfully employed for the comprehension of meaning in cinema.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 670 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 2.1in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    'It would be difficult to find a scholar in communication, film, and cultural theory as conversant regarding Peircian semiotics as Johannes Ehrat. This richly argued book is truly compelling, and a valuable contribution to the field.'


    Floyd Merrell, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Purdue University

  • Author Information

    Johannes Ehrat is a professor extraordinarius in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction


    PART 1: On Signs, Categories, and Reality and How They Relate to Cinema

    1. The Use of Signs
    2. The Construction of Meaning
    3. Investigating Conduct as a Form
    4. The Categories of Behaviour
    5. The Categorial Form of Behaviour
    6. Logic of Relations
    7. The Metaphysics of Pragmaticistic Semiotic

    PART II: Semiotic and Its Practical Use for Cinema

    1. Cinema 'Is' a Class of Sign
    2. The Iconism of Cinema: A first Semiotic Approach
    3. (From Film Pragmatics to) The Pragmaticism of Cinema

    PART III: What 'Is' Cinema?

    1. Cinema 'Is' Syntagma
    2. Cinema 'Is' Sign Function
    3. Cinema 'Is' Percept
    4. Cinema 'Is' Moving Matter or Time
    5. What Cinema Becomes: Theory Objects Compared, Reconciled, Rejected
    6. Intermezzo: Cinematic Imagination of Godard's Je vous salue, Marie

    PART IV: Narration in Film and Film Theory

    1. The Narratological Question, Peirce, and Cinema
    2. The Semiotic of Narrative Time
    3. Cinematic Time
    4. Intermezzo: Two Kinds of Narrative Time in Dreyer's Order

    PART V: Narration, Time, and Narratologies

    1. Ricoeur’s Mimesis
    2. Heidegger’s Ekstasis
    3. Aristotle’s Poesis
    4. Greimas’s Semiosis
    5. Bordwell’s Formalism
    6. Olmi’s Genesi

    PART VI: Enunciation in Cinema

    1. Enunciation: From Vagueness to Generality
    2. Narrative Enunciation
    3. Rhetorical Enunciation in Cinema: Meaning in Figures
    4. Aesthetic Enunciation in Film

    Epilogue: Two Aesthetic Processes in Cinema
    Conclusion
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Filmography, by Director

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