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When students only have read a few poems, in exclusively academic contexts, they often approach poetry with what the li...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Return of Motivation

Saussure (not "de Saussure," idiot theory anthologist) defined the sign as arbitrary, yet a significant part of structuralist theory explores the opposite perspective: Benveniste's "The Nature of the Linguistic Sign" and possibly his work on Baudelaire, Genette's Mimologiques... This is the return of the repressed, the repressed being the idea of the motivated sign. Literature itself is based on the ideas that literary forms, the particular way in which something is expressed, are not arbitrary. Structuralism can only function as a method of analysis by overturning Saussure's most basic principle.

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