Iconicity typological and theological

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The extensive writings on language of the Prussian &#8220;pansemiotician&#8221; Johan Georg Hamann (1730&#8211;1788) provide a rich field for inquiry. The icon of breathing in his &#8220;New Apology for the Letter H&#8221; is satirical yet finally theological in a richly allusive manner. Only 150 years later, in the form of James Joyce&#8217;s <i>Finnegans Wake</i>, its iconicity equally unexplored, would appear a work of genius as abtruse, its author as myriadminded and delighted with bawdy as Hamann. Within it lies another iconical &#8220;H&#8221;, the first initial of its omnifarious hero, equally concerned with breathing and the soul. Nothing in literary history formed the link we can see here; it is a matter of iconicity pure and simple.


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