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|Title:||Early Film Semiotics and the Cinematic Sign|
|Authors:||Hewak, John P.|
|Abstract:||<p>This thesis explores the early attempts to extend semiotic theory to the study of the cinema, concentrating on the problem of the cinematic sign. The contributions of Christian Metz, Peter Wollen and Umberto Eco are discussed. Metz employs the language-based semiology of Saussure, whose conceptual framework is based on the arbitrary, conventional linguistic sign. Such a semiotic scheme cannot accommodate visual signs such as the cinematic image, which is considered to be motivated and natural. The language analogy encourages an identification of the semiotic sign with the linguistic sign, forcing Metz's semiotics to exclude the image as a basis for semiotic study. Wollen reassesses the nature of the image in light of Peirce's sign trichotomy of icon, index and symbol, which is based on the sign's relationship to its object. According to Peirce, a sign may be composed of all three sign aspects. Wollen argues that the image can be treated semiotically insofar as it is recognized to have symbolic or conventional as well as natural dimensions. Eco departs both from the language-based semiology of Saussure and from Peirce's idea that visual signs are naturally motivated by their object. He argues that all signs are conventional, and yet need not strictly resemble the linguistic sign. With Eco's contribution, the image can be considered a sign of the cinema. Semiotics appears to be a valid approach to the study of the cinema once semiotic signs are not identified with linguistic signs and visual signs are not identified with nature.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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