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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 23, Issue 1/4, 2007

Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt

Tim-hung Ku
Pages 303-336

Psychoanalytic Semiotics and the Interpretation of Dream Paintings
An Example from Salvador Dali

The present paper is divided into two parts. Part one is an attempt to reconstruct the semiotic models of Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis, in which concepts from De Saussure, C. S. Peirce, Jakobson, Lotman, Eco are drawn for mutual illumination and synthesis. Psychoanalytic semiotics is considered a particular area and discipline in semiotics, aiming at the unconscious dimension of the subject. Lacan could be considered a post-structuralist revision and extension of Freud. Part two is an application of psychoanalytic semiotics to the interpretation of dream painting, focusing on the Dali example. Essential issues in psychoanalytic semiotics of dream painting are explored in the Dali example, such as dream indexes, dream mechanisms, self-portraits as imago and icon, and psychoanalytic Nirvana as a recovery and memory of a non-alienated subject. My reading of Dali demonstrates the possibility of a convergence of semiotics, psychoanalysis, and art criticism.

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