The iconized letter

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This paper examines forms of iconization in the case of individual letters of the alphabet that use innovative techniques which depart from earlier methods of generating shaped poetry. The iconized letter is shown to function as a <i>sui generis</i> device deployed in individual poems and as the signature of entire literary movements. Contrasts are explored between the Cubo-Futurists&#8217; experiments with the Russian alphabet involving the iconic features of individual Cyrillic letters and French Lettrisme&#8217;s construction of shaped images based on multiple repetitions of single letters of the French alphabet in order to create multi-dimensional visual effects. The conclusion sets out a series of observations concerning the significance of the iconized letter for future semiotic approaches to shaped poetry in general.


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