This article proposes a biosemiotic reading of William S. Burroughs' The Wild Boys -A Book of the Dead (1971), showing how literature, by cutting up narrative structures and syntactical units, can fight the language virus' configuring of human vitality, just like bacteria uses CRISPR-Cas9 to cut-up the DNA code-chains of threatening viruses. We will see that, supported by the shared biosemiotic nature of literary texts and biological forms, this parallel extends beyond the metaphorical to reinsert literature within the realm of living processes.Cet article propose une lecture biosémiotique du roman de William S. Burroughs The Wild Boys -A Book of the Dead (1971), montrant comment la littérature, en coupant structures narratives et unités syntaxiques, peut combattre le "virus du langage" et les contraintes qu'il impose à la vitalité humaine. Cette tactique rappelle la manière dont certaines bactéries utilisent le CRISPR-Cas9 pour couper l'ADN de virus attaquants. Nous verrons que, en raison du caractère biosémiotique que partagent les textes littéraires et les formes biologiques, ce parallèle nous permet de réinsérer la littérature au sein des dynamiques du vivant.Certainly one of the most brilliant writers of the postwar period, William S. Burroughs' influence on the cultural avant-gardes of the late 20 th and early 21 st century is pervasive. He has been called the godfather of the Beat poets (Kerouac and Ginsberg were friends), an inspiration for the punk rock movement of the 1970s onward (David Bowie, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and Kurt Cobain all had their picture taken with him), and the first of the cyberpunk writers (such as William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, and Bruce Sterling). His influence is often attributed to the power of his subversive imagery and to his use of the cut-up technique, a formal innovation that gives its characteristic style both to Naked Lunch, first published in 1959 and the object of two censorship trials, and to the "Nova Trilogy" formed by the Soft Machine (1961), The Ticket that Exploded (1962), and Nova Express (1964).Following on their heels is The Wild Boys -A Book of the Dead (1971), which uses "cut-uplike" techniques in a slightly toned down manner.Subversion and experimentation are crucial to Burroughs' oeuvre. But they cannot be separated from its intense connection with the biological, with the experiences of aliveness it gives its readers. Of course, all literature is connected with the biological, as writing and reading are practiced by living entities (individual writers and readers, and their communities and cultures, co-evolving with entities and materials such as paper/trees and ink). Moreover, all literature expresses or creates fragments of vital experience; meaning-making and interpretation are embodied through the reader's neural simulation of sensory and emotional images, with its accompanying postural, muscular and visceral correlates (see work on embodied cognition such as Gallese and Lakoff 2005; or Boulenger et al 2009). These biological and physiologica...
The object of our paper is to examine how wine-related knowledge and practices play an important role in determining the respective flavour experiences of novice wine drinkers and sommeliers. We defend the idea that sensation is informed by knowledge, as it circulates in a cultural environment. Biosemiotics has developed appropriate concepts helping us understand how the same wine can generate diverging experiences. Within a biosemiotic framework, we consider wine flavours as relational, semiosic experiences produced by the convergence of sensorydiscriminative, motivational-affective and cognitive-evaluative factors. Drawing from fundamental biosemiotics we argue that these factors vary according to the creature and its simultaneously biological and cultural umwelt. We conclude by examining a series of empirical studies consolidating the idea that sensation is informed by knowledge and language.
This article explores the relations among three forms of representations (artistic, mental, and neural) and immersion, considered as an altered state of consciousness, in the context of literary reading. We first define immersive reading as an intensification of our embodied experience of literary representation, in accordance to neuropsychological studies about embodied cognition. We further consider the style of interpretation demanded by such immersive reading and its ethical and ecological underpinnings.
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