Reading Translational Semiotics Hermeneutically: Juri Lotman’s Культура и взрыв and Wilma Clark’s Culture and Explosion Imagined Icotically as a Single Translingual Text

Douglas Robinson

Hong Kong Baptist University


Juri Lotman offers an intriguing “two-language” principle for the study of signs, which effectively requires translation as a disruption of the unificatory regimes of individual semiospheres; and yet, problematically, he doesn’t channel his own theorizing of the semiosphere through translation, with the result that his theorizing tends to gravitate toward truth-telling, and so toward unification and stabilization. This article both argues for a stereoscopic reading of Lotman’s Культура и взрыв (‘Kul’tura i zryv’) and Wilma Clark’s English translation Culture and Explosion, as a second-best application of the two-language principle to Lotman’s cultural semeiotic, and illustrates some of the consequences for the semiotic study of such a reading.


translation, hermeneutics, semiosphere, culture, explosion, dissipative system, stereoscopic reading, translinguality

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Robinson, D. (2018) “Reading Translational Semiotics Hermeneutically: Juri Lotman’s Культура и взрыв and Wilma Clark’s Culture and Explosion Imagined Icotically as a Single Translingual Text”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (20), pp. 8–31. doi: 10.15290/cr.2018.20.1.01.

Douglas Robinson 
Hong Kong Baptist University