Since the appearance of Lotman's
Poetics of the Artistic Text (1970) and
Universe of the Mind (1990), and Eco's
Introduction to Semiotics (1972), the investigation of the working of signs in language, the arts and the sciences has witnessed an ever-increasing impact on our understanding of human culture. In this book an attempt is made at developing a linguistic model for the semiotics of culture, and to apply this to the analysis of a number of Russian and Polish dramatic texts, mostly from the nineteenth-century. In the first five chapters such well known plays as Ostrovskij's
The Thunderstorm, Turgenev's
A Month in the Country and Gogol's
The Inspector-General are discussed, alternatively with Stowacki's
Fantazy and some of Fredro's comedies. Special chapters are devoted to the performance of drama, and to some urgent issues concerning the structure of semiotic space. The last and most lengthy chapter presents an outline of so-called text linguistics, here conceived as a variety of case grammar, duely revised for application to the analysis of drama and its non-verbal context. The book addresses itself to readers familiar with Slavic languages and interested in the relation between language and literary themes, and the place of drama in culture.