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Beautiful Theology

Signifying truth in more than words alone

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Words and Images 7


The next frame follows directly from the previous one:

Une image peut prendre la place d’un mot dans une proposition:

An image can take the place of a word in a proposition.

Right? We don’t need verbal signs exclusively to communicate linguistically (OK, I’m not sure “linguistically” applies in the strictest sense here; maybe someone can help me). That’s true, in this case, of pictorial representation, but also true of other sorts of non-alphabetic communication (this from W. J. T. Mitchell’s Iconology):

Words are part of a continuum from strictly alphabetic communication (which remains nonetheless graphically inflected) to non-alphabetic communication (which can never escape linguistic resonances) — but “words” don’t have a privileged claim on “meaning,” nor do they so constitute a paradigmatic instance of expression/meaning that we can afford to develop our hermeneutics on the basis of a linguistically-delimited model. Or, so say I, anyway.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Micah said...

This is another interesting one, in that by using the image the way he has, Magritte has invalidated the sentence. As you can see, the sun (as portrayed) is not covered by the clouds.

On the other hand, if he had drawn the sun covered by clouds, would it be clear that the image was supposed to be parsed simply as "sun"?

January 21, 2007 3:03 PM  

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