“Semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth: it cannot in fact be used “to tell” at all.” ― Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics
Did you read “A Semiotics Primer for Writers, Part 1“? In that post, I talked about the basics of what semiotics is, and a little about how it’s applied to writing. These links go to articles and sites that will explain further:
- David Chandler’s Semiotics for Beginners (1998) is online in its entirety here. This is a linguistics-based text that reads like college coursework from an old British professor, which some of you will hate and some of you will adore. It covers the history of the field and gives a foundation for later study to work from.
- Arthur Asa Berger’s Cultural Criticism: Semiotics and Cultural Criticism is only available for sale at used bookstores but Dartmouth has one of the intro chapters up here. His Signs in Contemporary Culture: An Introduction to Semiotics is also quite a good place to start, and is available on Amazon here.
- The Encyclopedia of Semiotics, edited by Paul Bouissac, Oxford U Press (1998) is available online here.
- A Theory of Semiotics (Advances in Semiotics), Umberto Eco (1976). My favorite! You can get it from Amazon here.
- Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language, Umberto Eco (1984). The whole thing is available here as a PDF. Also excellent.
Semiotics and Writing:
- Communication Theory/Semiotics and Myth, WikiBooks
- “The Theory of Signs and the Role of the Reader”, Umberto Eco (1981). Full article online as a PDF here.
- “Semiotics of Minimalist Fiction: Genre as a Modeling System”, Ibrahim Taha, University of Haifa. The full article is online here.
- Science Fiction, Semiotics Encyclopedia
- “Umberto Eco, The Art of Fiction No. 197” Paris Review
… and Advertising:
- “Semiotics and Copy-writing” by Andrius Grigorjevas, SemiotiX (Dec 2012)
- “The Semiotics of Advertising” Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey, St. Lawrence University
- “Visual Semiotics and Production of Meaning in Advertising” Visual Communication Division of AEJMC, Washington, DC, August 1995.
- Semiotics and Advertising at U of Vermont
… and Theater/Performance/Music:
- “Semiotics of the Theater“, The Academy
- “Musical Semiotics in the 1990s: The state of the art“, William Echard, SRB Review
- The Semiotics of Theater and Drama, Keir Elam (1980). Full book online as a PDF here.
- The Semiotics of Theater, Erika Fischer-Lichte, Indiana U Press (1992). Translated by Jeremy Gaines and Doris L. Jones. Available from Amazon here.
- Theatre Semiotics: Text and Staging in Modern Theatre, Fernando de Toro, U of Toronto Press (1995). Translated from the Spanish by John Lewis. Available from Amazon here.
- Performance Studies, Semiotics Encyclopedia
… and Film/Gaming:
- “The Semiotics of Consumption in Post-Apocalyptic Movies” John Pantzalis, Saint Leo University, U.S.A.
- “Star Wars Semiotics“, Joshua Glenn, HiLoBrow
- “The Semiotics of Media Images from Independence Day & September 11th 2001” Elliot Gaines, The American Journal of Semiotics (2001)
- “Umberto Eco and his legacy in open-world games” Brent Ables, Kill Screen
… and Early Childhood Education
- “Color as a Semiotic Resource in Early Sign-Making” Bobbie Kabuto
- SemiotiX – “A global information magazine. Its aim is to provide periodic snapshots of the situation of semiotic research in the world, with photos, editorials by, and profiles of, active semioticians, mini-reviews of books, state-of-the-arts at a glance, and selective publicizing of scholarly events.” Published by Semiotics Institute Online. They also offer online courses and an excellent archive of articles. They’re also working on an online semiotics encyclopedia here.
- Signata – a scholarly journal put out by the Université de Liège. It’s not available to the public online, but if you’ve got JStor or other academic access, you should find it there.
- Umberto Eco’s semiotics links page
- Google’s list of scholarly articles on “semiotics and fiction” is here.