Semiotics of Poetry

by Michael Riffaterre

"Beyond mimesis" might have been a fitting motto for this essay, which asserts that poetry works not through mimesis, the literary representation of reality, but through a semiotic process of displacement and transformation. Drawing on examples from 19th- and 20th-century French poetry (with translations), Riffaterre describes the structure of meaning in a poem . He argues for the self-sufficiency of a literary text and firmly establishes the dialectic between text and reader, between poetic and everyday discourse. The key term in his analysis is the hypogram, a preexistent word group—a cliche, stereotype, epithet , or even another literary work—from which poeticity is derived. Semiotics of Poetry is a lucidly argued and provocative book which will interest readers concerned with poetic and literary theory.


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    Indiana University Press
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    Bloomington, Indiana USA
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    Copyright © Trustees of Indiana University
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    Indiana University Press
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