The beauty of life and the variety of signs

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This article offers a close reading of Guillaume Apollinaire’s ‘lyrical ideogram’ <i>La Cravate et la montre </i>(<i>The Tie and the Watch</i>, 1914): an analysis of the poem’s specific form of interaction between words and images which shows how the author probably intended it to be read, and a systematic approach to the semantic structure. ‘Time’ and ‘the human body’ are identified as the main isotopies and ‘life’ vs. ‘death’ and ‘linear’ vs. ‘circular’ conception of time as the most prominent oppositions, the latter being reflected also by the poem’s graphical structure which ‘quotes’ Marc Chagall’s <i>Hommage à Apollinaire</i>. A second important topic is the co-presence of different modes of signification – iconic and symbolic – which corresponds to Apollinaire’s metasemiotical reflections of that period, namely to his conception of ‘surréalisme’.


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