On the Essence and Relevance of the Work on Semantic Oppositions in Creative Writing

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The article examines one of the most significant aspects of artistic text analysis promoted by Yuri Lotman: incorporating semiotic oppositions into the practice of analysis. We will attempt to research into this undoubtedly powerful resource and its potential based on the understanding of the advantage of using oppositions for answering the numerous questions posed by a particular cinematic text, no matter what type, genre or style it belongs to, in other words, we are talking about universal units and analytical mechanisms.

Any given artistic text always represents a certain hierarchy of spaces. These spaces are in turn associated with a specific type of boundaries. It means that if a text entails an array of spaces we are dealing with a similar array of borders, or more precisely, a hierarchy of borders. But even if everything happens in a single space, this does not mean that the number and significance of the borders are dramatically reduced. The system of boundaries can be extremely complex, bizarre and paradoxical, since it easily combines within itself. Along with explicit, ostensive physical boundaries, there are those of the opposite type: invisible, but particularly felt and experienced (quite often in modern films these sensations are not fixed by consciousness). Somewhere in this system of visible and invisible boundaries lies the main semantic boundary of the text, which eventually acquires (or is deliberately given) the mental form of one or another semantic opposition. And in this context, any text is also a hierarchy of semantic oppositions. The challenge, especially for a modern analyst, is that despite the active tendency associated with the conscious tricks of modern directing to knowingly and at the same time very accurately “lay” into the structure of the text and strategically convincingly implement the “wrong reading” of the text, to be so attentive and sensitive to the language of the text (and the text opens up exclusively in the horizon of the language), in order to avoid straying from the “path” and ending up in the “ditch” (not without the help of the director's discourse) and try to discover, explicate and single out the only basic semantic opposition, from the complex of others, which ensures the process of revealing the semantic potential of the text, even if it results in the discovery of the director’s concealed intention, as they say, to “throw off” the analyst “to the understudy”.

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Klyueva Lyudmila

доктор искусствоведения, доцент ВАК, профессор кафедры киноведения ВГИК

Институт кино и телевидения (ГИТР), кафедра экранных искусств

Author for correspondence.
Email: helga_an@list.ru


  1. Lotman YU.M. (1998). Ob iskusstve [About art]. Sankt-Peterburg: Iskusstvo, 1998. 702 р. (In Russ.).
  2. Eyzenshteyn S.M. (2002). Metod [Method]. T. 2. Tayny masterov. Moskva: Muzey kino; Eyzenshteyn-tsentr, 2002. 661 p. (In Russ.).

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