College Writing: Teacher's Book by Dorothy E. Zemach, Lisa A. Rumisek

By Dorothy E. Zemach, Lisa A. Rumisek

Collage Writing: Teacher's booklet

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36 Within this semiotic universe, the material object is transformed completely to the realm of exchange value. There is no point to the detail in bourgeois realism aside from its function within the world of signs, its message that it is the trace of the real. The ornament does not dress the object; it defines the object. We find an analogy to our position in Guy Debord's critique of the spectacle forms of what might be termed the semiotics of late capitalism. "It [spectacle] is not a supplement to the real world, its added decoration.

Memory, at once impoverished and enriched, presents itself as a device for measurement, the "ruler" of narrative. Thus near-sightedness and far-sightedness emerge as metaphors for understanding, and they will be of increasing importance as this essay proceeds. Interior Decorations Nostalgia's longing for absolute presence in the face of a gap between signifier and signified reminds us that narrative is a signifying phenomenon made up of another signifying phenomenon: language "means" before narrative takes it up.

Our terror of the unmarked grave is a terror of the insignificance of a world without writing. The metaphor of the unmarked grave is one which joins the mute and the ambivalent; without the mark there is no boundary, no point at which to begin the repetition. Writing gives us a device for inscribing space, for inscribing nature: the lovers' names carved in bark, the slogans on the bridge, and the strangely uniform and idiosyncratic hand that has tattooed the subways. Writing serves to caption the world, defining and commenting upon the configurations we choose to textualize.

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