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Introduction

Since the late 1960s, the death of the sign has been announced any number of times, but the sign refuses to die.1 The would-be reign of free-floating signifiers has not laid to rest the fundamental issues of the theory of
the sign and sign production, and in many ways they remain the same
issues that Plato broached in such texts as the Cratylus, the Phaedrus, the
Republic, and the Sophist: those associated with the concepts of imitation,
representation, adequation and simulation - i.e., mimesis. But if there is
any way in which discussions of mimesis over the last two decades differ
markedly from earlier debates, it is in the centrality accorded the question
of power and the sociopolitical dimension of semiosis.2 In volume one of
Mimesis in Contemporary Theory, contributors often addressed the issue of
power and signs, but only as it related to the literary and philosophical
debates on mimesis. In this, the second volume of Mimesis in Contemporary Theory, all of the essays take as their primary concern the nexus of
semiosis, mimesis and power.
It is useful to distinguish two basic periods in the history of mimesis
and semiosis in the West, the first inaugurated by the Platonic articulation
of the representational theory of the sign, and the second by the advent of
modern structural and semiotic theory. Plato himself presents no systematic theory of the sign,3 but in his discussions of language, writing and literature he establishes the fundamental terms of the continuing debate on
mimesis in semiotics. In the Cratylus, Socrates takes up the question of the
relation between names and objects and argues that "the name is an imitation [mimema] of the thing," that "names rightly given are the likenesses
and images [eikonas] of the things which they name" (430b, 439a).4 Such
images are only partial imitations of things and not their doubles (432a-d),
and hence knowledge of names must be subordinated to knowledge of
things (439a-c), yet a natural relation still exists between them. Writing, by
contrast, is unnatural, says Socrates in the Phaedrus, a dead simulation of
living speech which bears the same relationship to words as painting does
to actual things (275d-e).5 In the Republic, Socrates says that painting (as

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well as tragedy) is an imitation "of a phantasm" or "appearance as it


appears" rather than an imitation of reality or truth (598b), and here he is
clearly drawing on the distinction made in the Sophist between the image
or likeness (eikori) that resembles the original it imitates and the semblance (phantasma) that only mimics or mimes its model without bearing
any true resemblance to it (236a-c). Writing, like painting and tragedy, is a
form of bad mimesis, a simulation that creates false resemblances, whereas speech exemplifies good mimesis, a true resemblance that is properly
subordinated to the model it copies. One may say in general, then, that for
Plato signs are of two sorts, images (or icons) and simulacra (or phantasms), and that both are governed by mimesis.
In this double sense of mimesis as faithful imitation and as deceptive
mimicry one can discern the contestation of what Spariosu has usefully
termed prerational and rational mentalities in ancient Greece.6 Mimesis in
its older meaning seems to have been allied with ritual, dance, music and
play, with performances in which mythic and divine forces are not so much
represented as brought into presence through their (re)enactment. Mimesis in this prerational sense is one with "the non-imitative, ecstatic or 'dionysian' movement of Being."7 In Plato one finds a later, rational conception
of mimesis as imperfect representation or imitation of inaccessible Being,
as well as a negative characterization of prerational mimesis as hollow
simulation and misleading appearance. Far from being a disinterested
classification of signs, Plato's differentiation of icons and phantasms marks
a struggle for domination, an effort both to replace the unmediated,
amoral power of prerational mimesis with the mediated, truth-grounded
power of rational mimesis, and to dislodge myth, poetry and rhetoric from
their positions of authority and establish in their place the sovereignty of
philosophy.
In Plato, then, one can discern the trace of three different conceptions
of mimesis - as prerational unveiling, as rational representation, and as illusory simulation. The triumph of representational mimesis in Plato marks
the end of a power struggle and the inception of a tradition in which
power is seen as external to the proper use of signs. And although Plato's
thought on signs is modified and occasionally rejected by later writers, his
understanding of mimesis and its relation to semiosis remains dominant in
Western thought about the sign into the nineteenth century.8 It is only with
Peirce, Saussure and modern structural and semiotic studies that the Platonic concept of the mimetic sign comes under systematic attack, and that
the question of power's relation to the sign emerges as a pressing concern.

INTRODUCTION

Within Peirce's classification of signs, limited space is provided for


mimesis (specifically, in the concepts of the sinsign and icon), but the representational model is decidedly challenged in his insistence that "a sign is
something by knowing which we know something more," i.e., that every
sign functions through its interpretant, which in turn is specified through a
second interpretant and so on in a process of unlimited semiosis.9 In a
complementary fashion Saussure undermines the correspondence theory
of signs by bracketing the question of reference, positing the arbitrary relation between signifier and signified, and proposing a differential concept
of the sign. Such fundamental postulates lead many contemporary semioticians to conclude, as does Umberto Eco, that "semiosis explains itself by
itself: a sign does not "designate any object, but on the contrary conveys a
cultural content" which is determined by its relations with other cultural
contents, its referential or extensional purport being incidental to its function as a sign.10 The emphasis in such thought is on semiosis as sign production, which may be seen as a demystified mutation of the prerational
conception of mimesis as unveiling or "monstration." This anti-representational theory of the sign can lead to a quietistic formalism, but it also
makes possible a critique of social codes as arbitrary impositions of cultural values and norms, and thereby reveals the centrality of the issue of representation as a mode of power. It is toward this end of social critique that
Roland Barthes' ground-breaking Mythologies (1954) is directed, and
much subsequent work in French semiology clearly follows this example.
Yet if the works of Peirce and Saussure make possible a non-representational account of semiosis, they also problematize the very notions of
signs and sign systems, as Derrida and others have shown. If signs are related through unlimited semiosis, if sign systems are structures of differences
with no positive terms, then there is no way to delineate the limits of a
semiotic system or to determine a center around which such a system
might be structured.11 The domain of general semiotics, as Eco argues,
must therefore be conceived of as a rhizomatic encyclopedia rather than a
hierarchical dictionary, as a labyrinth rather than a Porphyrian tree.12 The
sign itself, at least in its Saussurian guise, cannot remain stable, as Derrida
has argued at length. On the one hand, signifier and signified are as inseparable as two sides of a single sheet of paper; on the other, the very existence of a signified suggests "the possibility of thinking a concept signified
in and of itself, a concept simply present for thought, independent of a
relationship to language, that is of a relationship to a system of signi-

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fiers."13 If one denies the existence of "transcendental signifieds," then


every signified is also a signifier, and the sign can have only a provisional
coherence. Further, if the sign functions through its differential relations
within an unlimited and shifting network of signs, then it is neither identi
cal with itself nor present to itself, but always marked by the changing
trace of what it is not, where it is not.
What Derrida's critique of the sign leads to is a general semiotics of
Platonic bad mimesis, a conception of signs as simulations of themselves
that mime their identity while remaining other. What distinguishes the
Derridean simulacral sign from the structural-semiotic sign as arbitrary
product is its unresolvable yet unavoidable participation in the logic of
representation. For Derrida, the sign is a suspect concept, but it is one we
can no more dispense with than we can the notion of representation, for
both are part of the very fabric of our language and our habits of thought.
The stability of the sign is like a Kantian transcendental illusion, some
thing that involuntarily asserts itself whether we wish it to or not. At best
we can adopt an interminable strategy of sabotaging identities and equiv
alences and turning faithful icons into duplicitous phantasms, finding piv
otal terms such as supplement, diffrance,pharmakon and gram that infect
neat taxonomies and unsettle hierarchical binary oppositions. Hence Der
rida argues in a parallel fashion that mimesis is inescapable in our concep
tion of language and literature and that any effort to imagine a purely antimimetic text will only reinstate further metaphysical presuppositions.
Mimesis, he notes, comes in two forms (which I have labeled rational and
prerational): as "a relation of homoisis or adaequatio between two
(terms)" and as "the presentation of the thing itself, of nature, of the
physis that produces itself, engenders itself, and appears (to itself) as it
really is, in the presence of its image, its visible aspect, its face."14 Litera
ture cannot be entirely dissociated from mimesis, for if the concept of a lit
erary work as an adequate imitation of reality is bound to a metaphysical
notion of truth, the alternative of an entirely self-contained and nonmimetic work is equally metaphysical, since the work then is self-present
and productive of truth in another guise - "not, of course, truth in the
form of adequation between the representation and the present of the
thing itself, or between the imitator and the imitated, but truth as the pres
ent unveiling of the present: monstration, manifestation, production, altheia" (Dissemination, pp. 205-206). Thus Derrida sees no alternative but
to follow the example of Mallarm, who in Mimique "preserves the differ-

INTRODUCTION

ential structure of mimicry or mimesis, but without its Platonic or metaphysical interpretation," and "maintains (and maintains himself in) the
structure of the phantasma as it is defined by Plato: the simulacrum as the
copy of a copy. With the exception that there is no longer any model, and
hence, no copy" (Dissemination, p. 206).
As commentators are increasingly recognizing, Derridean deconstruction is not a mere exercise in autoreferential play, but a form of critique
that regards metaphysical oppositions and referential codes as structures
of power which simulacra help undo (if only temporarily). In this treatment of representation as power, deconstruction shares common ground
with much poststructural theory, and the opposition of coercive signs and
destabilizing simulacra finds echoes in several well-known dichotomies,
e.g., Deleuze and Guattari's (re)territorialization and deterritorialization,
Kristeva's symbolic and semiotic, and de Certeau's strategies and tactics.15
This contestatory understanding of simulacra, however, is not shared by
Jean Baudrillard, who has perhaps done more than any contemporary
theorist to promote the concepts of simulation and simulacra. For Baudrillard, simulation is not an unsettling force of critique but the central cultural fact of our postmodern condition. Ours is the age of the hypersign, he
believes, a postindustrial, information- and consumption-regulated culture
of universal mediation (most obviously through the media of television,
radio, film and print) in which the real has disappeared and been replaced
by signs that only point to other signs and thereby produce a simulated
reality effect, or hyperreal.
No more mirror of being and appearances, of the real and its concept.
No more imaginary coextensivity: rather, genetic miniaturization is the
dimension of simulation. The real is produced from miniaturized units,
from matrices, memory banks, and command models - and with these it
can be reproduced an infinite number of times.... In fact, since it is no
longer enveloped by an imaginary, it is no longer real at all. It is a
hyperreal, the product of an irradiating synthesis of combinatory
models in a hyperspace without atmosphere.16
In Baudrillard's view, the celebration of simulacra does not subvert representational norms, but simply articulates what has already taken place.
And though he is attuned to the power of simulation and the politics of
postmodern dissuasion, he posits no privileged ground or activity that

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would make possible any challenge to the reign of hypersigns. For Baudrillard, in short, Platonic bad mimesis is the only game in town.
With Peirce and Saussure, then, a systematic critique of the representational sign becomes possible, but it is evident that such a critique does
not dispense with the question of mimesis. Mimesis as representation may
be challenged, but prerational mimesis as unveiling finds echoes in structural theories of semiosis as sign production, and Platonic bad mimesis as
simulation figures prominently in poststructural thought on the sign. And
whether the concept of the sign reinforces or subverts referential semiotics, whether simulacra are tools of critique or symptoms of postmodernity, whether we are trapped in the age of metaphysics or engulfed in the
hyperreal, the problematic of power and mimesis remains central to contemporary theories of semiosis. The essays in this volume treat a diverse
range of subjects, from Greek rhapsodes and Renaissance painting to
Peircean semiotics and postmodern malls. The methods are varied and the
perspectives on many counts incommensurable. But in all of these studies,
the social force of signs and the complex manifestations of mimesis as
power recur as central preoccupations.
The contest of prerational and rational mimesis is the subject of Spariosu's study of Plato's Ion, a dialogue in which, says Spariosu, "Plato mimics
or stages a trial against poetry and in favor of rational philosophy, with all
the ambiguous, double effects that one can expect from such self-conscious staging." The rhapsode Ion is the representative of the prerational
values of unmediated power, poetic enthusiasm and Dionysian frenzy;
Socrates, of course, is the spokesman for rationality. But what Spariosu
demonstrates is that Socrates not only understands but also acts in accordance with prerational values. It is Socrates who provides the dialogue's
most articulate account of poetic madness and its magnetic effect on audiences, and it is Socrates who assumes the rhapsode's role in reciting Homer. More importantly, Socrates resorts to sophistic techniques throughout the dialogue, thereby honoring the very prerational mentality he seeks
to combat. Yet, suggests Spariosu, if Socrates does not see the contradictions between his position and his performance, perhaps Plato does.
Perhaps the dialogue's staging of the conflict between poetry and philosophy allows the two worlds of prerational and rational mimesis to coexist,
if only briefly and uneasily. Perhaps at least in the Ion, Plato sees the poet
both as divinely inspired actor/performer and as imposter who simulates
others' thought and knowledge.

INTRODUCTION

Whatever the ambiguities of the Ion, the fundamental mimetic bias of


Plato is clear: language should be purified of the hypnotic distortions of
the rhapsode and rhetorician and used as a faithful vehicle for the development of a disinterested thought. In this sense the Petrarch that Mazzotta presents is a decidedly anti-Platonic writer, even though Petrarch himself recognizes Platonic philosophy, Roman eloquence and Christian dogma as the cornerstones of his work. Mazzotta states that his aim is to chart
Petrarch's thought "as well as to define his sense of the value of knowledge, and how knowledge is related to power." Thought for Petrarch is
not selfless or inherently benevolent, but tied to an individual's subjectivity
and history, and hence a necessary component of a life of "steady moralintellectual self-examination." Rhetoric, far from distorting thought, constitutes the domain of history, moral choice and persuasive force within
which thought may proceed. But the force of thought, the force that puts
thought in motion, that serves as its outer limit and its inner orientation, is
love. What Mazzotta argues for, in short, is the existence of a Petrarchan
erotics of thought, in which love "brings about a provisional self-forgetfulness, induces self-analysis, threatens the order of the mind, is outside of all
thoughts and becomes the object of all thoughts." That which binds the
elements of self and history in such erotic thought is language, whose
repository of figures of the will and figures of thought allows it to function
as "the voice of desire as well as the place of a common memory." Thus
for Petrarch, history, thought, the self and desire are all perfused with the
power of signs.
The limits of signs and their powers of intimation are the subjects of
Marin's study of three paintings of the Annunciation by Filippo Lippi, Fra
Angelico and Piero della Francesca. In these paintings Marin finds a
mutual interrogation of the visual and the verbal, an inquiry into the complementary boundaries of figuration and enunciation. The Annunciation is
an invisible speech-act, but also the advent of the miraculous Word that
can only point silently toward the mystery of its secret. It is the moment of
the Incarnation, when, in St. Bernardine of Siena's words, "eternity comes
in time ... the unfigurable in figure, the untellable in the tale, the ineffable
in words, the uncircumscribable in place, the invisible in vision." The three
quattrocento artists whom Marin examines paint that mystery by visually
representing ineffability and invisibility, thereby at once challenging and
recognizing the metaphysical dimension of the sign. All three are in Marin's analysis theologians who treat images and words as divine revelations,

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but also semioticians who recognize the finite nature of signs. Paradoxically, their representation of the limits of painting and speech, of the failure of signs to figure the infinite, is what finally serves as the sign of divine
power.
Infinite semiosis and the limits of signs are also the topics of King's
study of Peirce, which approaches the mimetic relations of literature to
the world through an examination of binarism and the Peircean sign. King
sees in Peirce's semiotic realism an effective challenge to the stability of
any dualistic opposition, for Peirce's triadic conception of the sign, his
understanding of semiosis as ceaseless process, and his holistic "synechism" serve "to expose binaristic categories for what they are, at least in
part - namely, rhetorical gestures." King argues, however, that if for
Peirce unlimited semiosis destabilizes all binarism, a surreptitious dualism
emerges in his evolutionary metaphysics. Peirce admits the fallibility of all
hypotheses within scientific discourse (the privileged domain of knowledge
for Peirce), and hence the infinite nature of scientific semiosis, but he
never entertains the possibility that science itself may be fallible. Thus he
can assert that the world is evolving from chaos to order and from the nonconscious to the conscious, and that semiosis has its limit in the eventual
establishment of a comprehensive scientific knowledge and, in Peirce's
words, "a complete reign of law." In Peirce's thought, then, the disruptive
power of the sign is finally harnessed by the dualistic opposition of science
and world.
If Peirce tries to constrain the unsettling effects of his theory of the
sign, the contemporary French philosopher Gilles Deleuze seeks to exploit
and extend them in his theory of cinema, which I discuss in my essay on
Deleuze's semiotics of le visible and l'nonable, of "that which can be
seen" and "that which can be said." Like Marin, Deleuze probes the complementary limits of images and words, both in his account of the power
relations that make semiosis possible and in his description of the sonic
and visual "matter" that filmmakers shape into individual films. In Deleuze's remarks on linguistics and his book on Foucault, one can discern
the contours of a model of sign production that posits two separate but
interacting planes of power configurations, one of which generates forms
of visibility, the other forms of enunciation. In his books on film, Deleuze
treats the visual and the verbal as separable levels, but as parts of "a plastic mass, an a-signifying and a-syntactic matter" rather than configurations
of power. Peirce's classification of signs guides Deleuze in his description

INTRODUCTION

of this matter, but by combining Peirce with Bergson Deleuze is able to


destabilize Peirce's categories and make experimental, non-representational films the center of his entire semiotics of cinema. Although apparently unrelated or contradictory, Deleuze's two approaches to signs - as
elements of a semiotic matter and as products of configurations of power
- reinforce each other, the one describing the visual and sonic material
that semiosis may shape or fashion, the other the processes that work on
that material and give it a particular form.
Brooks' focus, in her study of the painter Anselm Kiefer, is less on the
configurations of power that produce signs than on the signs of power
themselves - specifically, those that fascism marshals in support of its
regime and that Kiefer revives in his neo-modern art. The cult of the
strong personality, the hero as divine being, the iconography of lofty
superiority and aggressive, "blood and soil" nostalgia - all dominate Nazi
propaganda, and all reappear, Brooks argues, in a revival modernist transmutation in Kiefer's paintings. Through signs fascism seeks to simulate
power, to substitute for genuine authority a theater of might. Its nostalgic
myths serve as feverish attempts to counteract crises of mastery and belief
in cultural metanarratives. Our postmodern era lends itself to the aestheticized politics of fascism, and Brooks cautions that any revival of modernist forms brings with it the danger of a resuscitation of fascist modes of
representation. Thus she concludes that "so long as artists like Kiefer take
ideologically loaded materials as the subject of their work, critics should be
prepared to practice the kind of nonformalist Ideologiekritik that such art
demands."
In certain ways postmodernism forms the background against which
Brooks' critique takes shape, and in the last three essays of this volume
postmodern art and culture come to the fore as the center of investigation.
Like Hal Foster, who distinguishes an "oppositional postmodernism" from
a merely relativist, formalist version of the movement,17 Cornis-Pop insists
that the innovative fiction of postmodern writers such as Federman, Sukenick, Coover, Acker and Hauser is not simply self-referential, but also critical of the ideologies of representation. Such fiction transgresses the
boundaries of the codes of the real, yet recognizes the unavoidable necessity of using those codes in the narrative process. These postmodern
works, Cornis-Pop argues, "dramatize a genuine crisis of articulation, a
suspicion of mass-produced messages. The prevailing topos of recent fiction is not 'unanxious fictionalization,' but a queasy awareness of cultural

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fabrication." At once citation, critique and subversion of ideological cultural signs, such fiction employs a radical mimesis of process that interrogates both the writer's production of literature and the social, semiotic
construction of the world. Hence for Cornis-Pop "postmodernism in this
version is not a flight from ideology, but a self-problematized ideological
construct."
How that ideology functions, i.e., what specific power effects the signs
of popular culture induce in the postmodern era, is the issue addressed by
Black and Herron, both of whom take the body and simulacra as their
point of departure. Black notes the emergence in contemporary culture of
two incommensurable representations of the body: one discursive and regulated by the health and medical professions, the other visual and controlled by the media, fashion and advertising industries. In both cases, the
body is derealized, either converted into text or displayed as autoreferential simulacrum. Yet the discursive and nondiscursive orders of representation remain separate (Dr. Ruth talking about sex while Brooke
Shields shows it) and at times contradictory (health experts warning about
AIDS and promiscuity while advertisement images sell through constant
sexual solicitation). In the postmodern age, the visual body dissolves into a
world of aestheticized and eroticized surface appearances, whereas the
textual body is absorbed by a post-transgressive order in which law and
transgression are not dialectically opposed but interchangeable. As a
result, concludes Black, "we inhabit a world of mixed signals where every
message is bound to be turned into its opposite, subverted by the very
medium that embodies it."
Herron, like Black, sees the media-generated images of the body as
central to postmodern culture, and he examines such images in the context
of the specific circuit of power represented by the shopping mall. The mall
is like television: immediately accessible and ironically egalitarian, a locus
of instant gratification and service consumption rather than deferred reward and object possession. What the mall offers its shoppers "is the body
itself, in the dress of its five senses," which shoppers receive as a message
through the services they consume. The mall, however, performs a dissuasive violence on the body, converting all sensual experience into the
single medium of marketable and controllable visual images. Here lies the
function of simulacra, as components of a particular economy of images
and violence, of bodies and power. And according to Herron the most
appropriate response to the reign of simulacra is not to be found in the

INTRODUCTION

11

academic discourse of apocalyptic or celebratory anti-referentiality, but in


popular culture itself, where the collective imagination finds ways of humiliating vision and returning the body to the experience of all five senses.
The postmodern era has induced a crisis of the sign, one in which the
nature of representation and its participation in networks of power have
emerged as problems of pressing and obvious importance. In a sense,
these problems have long been with us, in Plato's Ion, in Petrarch's
thought, in quattrocento painting. But it is the age of mechanical reproduction, of hypersigns and simulacra, that exacerbates these issues and
clarifies their contours. This crisis may induce a range of responses - fascist revivalism, cultural critique, popular resistance, contestatory artistic
experimentation - but the problem will not go away. The essays of this volume offer no comprehensive solution to the question of power's proper
relation to the sign, but they do furnish local accounts of the continuing
problematic of mimesis and semiosis that has taken shape in contemporary culture and theory.

Notes
1.

For a concise account of the attack on the sign, see Oswald Ducrot and Tzvetan
Todorov, Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Sciences of Language, tr. Catherine Porter
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1979), pp. 349-365. For a reasoned
response to this attack and a defense of the concept of the sign, see Umberto Eco,
Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press,
1984), pp. 14-45.

2.

The importance of power in contemporary thought about the sign is evident in


Marshall Blonsky's useful summary of tendencies in recent semiotic research in On
Signs (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1985), pp. xv-xix.

3.

According to Tzvetan Todorov, the first true semiotician in the West is Augustine.
For an account of the history of the formation of a general semiotics, see his Theories of the Symbol, tr. Catherine Porter (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1977), especially pp. 15-59.

4.

All citations of Plato are from The Collected Dialogues of Plato, ed. Edith Hamilton
and Huntington Cairns (Princeton: Bollingen, 1961). For an illuminating history of
theories of the natural relation between words and their meanings, see Grard
Genette, Mimologiques: Voyage en Cratyle (Paris: Seuil, 1976).

5.

Jacques Derrida of course has exhaustively examined the status of writing in Plato
in his essay "Plato's Pharmacy," in Disseminations, tr. Barbara Johnson (Chicago:
Chicago Univ. Press, 1981), pp. 61-171.

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6.

See Spariosu's Introduction to Mimesis in Contemporary Theory: An Interdisciplinary


Approach. Volume I: The Literary and Philosophical Debate (Philadelphia and
Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1984), i-xxiv, his forthcoming God of Many Names:
Play, Art, and Power in Hellenic Thought. From Homer to Aristotle, as well as his contribution to this volume.

7.

Spariosu, Mimesis in Contemporary Theory, p. iii.

8.

The Stoics, of course, seem to have developed a non-representational theory of the


sign, but the influence of their thought has been limited and any reconstruction of
their doctrines, given the minuscule corpus of extant Stoic texts and commentaries,
remains hypothetical at best. For a succinct account of the Stoic view of signs and
meaning, see Andreas Graeser, "The Stoic Theory of Meaning," in The Stoics, ed.
John M. Rist (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1978), pp. 77-100.

9.

On the Peircean interpretant and unlimited semiosis, see Umberto Eco, A Theory of
Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1976), pp. 68-72. One of the clearest
and most concise introductions to Peirce's theory of the sign remains David Savan's
An Introduction to CS. Peirce's Semiotics, Part 1 (Toronto: Toronto Semiotic Circle
Monographs, Working Papers and Prepublications, 1976).

10.

Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, pp. 71,61.

11.

I am of course summarizing Derrida's well-known argument in "Structure, Sign,


and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," in Writing and Difference, tr.
Alan Bass (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1978), pp. 278-293.

12.

Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language, pp. 46-86.

13.

Jacques Derrida, Positions, tr. Alan Bass (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1981),
p. 19.

14.

Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, tr. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago


Press, 1981), p. 193. For further deconstructive explorations of the logic of mimesis,
see also Derrida's "Economimesis," Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe's "Typographie,"
and Jean-Luc Nancy's "Le Ventriloque," in Mimesis des articulations (Paris: Flammarion, 1975), pp. 57-93, 167-270, and 273-338, and Lacoue-Labarthe's L Imitation
des modernes (Paris: Galile, 1986).

15.

See, for example, Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, LAnti-Oedipe (Paris; Minuit,
1972) and Mille plateaux (Paris: Minuit, 1980); Julia Kristeva, La Rvolution du langage potique (Paris: Seuil, 1974); and Michel de Certeau,Arts de faire: l'invention
du quotidien, 1 (Paris: 10/18,1980).

16.

Jean Baudrillard, "The Precession of Simulacra," tr. Paul Foss and Paul Patton, in
Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation, ed. Brian Wallis (New York: New
Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984), p. 254.

17.

Hal Foster, ed., The Anti-Aesthetic (Port Townsend, Wash.: Bay Press, 1983), p. xi.