Structuralist Criticism / Semiotics





·        Language Study before Saussure

·        Saussure—the arbitrary nature of the sign (1) and (2); associative relations


Structuralist thinking

·        Barthes on Mythologies

·        Text Box: “The structuralist activity involves two typical operations: dissection and articulation.”
	Roland Barthes, “The Structuralist Activity”(1972)

“...[using] linguistics not as a method of analysis but as the 
general model for semiological investigation…indicates how one should go about constructing a poetics which stands to literature as linguistics stands to language.”
	Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics (1975)
Barthes, from “The Structuralist Activity”

·        Lévi-Strauss on “original” myths

·        Science Envy?


Some Popular Culture examples

·        “Hook”—Blues Traveler (link to audio) 

·        Title of the Song”--DaVinci’s Notebook

·        The Fifteen Signs of Doomsday     

·        How to Report the News

·        Oscar-Winning Movie Trailer

·        Frindle

·        Foxtrot



·        Todorov on “the fantastic”                                                                                         

·        Propp on the Russian folk-tale                                                                          

·        Will Wright, Six-Guns and Society (1975)                                                                                                      

o       list of films                                                                                                                 

o      the traditional plot                                                                                                 

o      the “vengeance variation”

o      the professional plot

o      the “transition theme”

o      a summary



Taking it to the limit

·        Barthes, from S/Z: An Essay (trans. Richard D. Miller; New York, 1970)