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Signs of Culture: Simulacra and the Real


Wojciech Kalaga and Tadeusz Rachwal

Baudrillard’s culture of simulation destroys our sense of paramount reality. It has created, as Chris Rojek puts it, a "huge refugee camp in which viewers, dissociated from place and community, are caught up in global indexing and dragging processes which no one controls." What is thus also, perversely, inscribed within the cultural landscape is a nostalgia for authenticity, for the dissimulated spaces and places which, though no longer there, stimulate their semiotic reconstructions and reproductions. And yet "[t]he possibility of lying is the prioprium of semiosis," as Umberto Eco has once remarked. Truth and falsity are inherent in the sign and in representation generally, subverting the tertium non datur principle. This book is an attempt to unmask representation, to see through the signs of the real, and through the real itself, at the realm of simulation. Those signs are not only signs of what they signify, but also signs of culture, of the cultural real which the articles included in the volume try to penetrate from various theoretical and philosophical perspectives.
Contents: Krzysztof Knauer: Baudrillard, America, and White Mythologies – Tomasz Kowalewski: Postmodernity and Nostalgia for Rural Life and Community: Constructions and Fabrications – Tadeusz Rachwał: Innocence, Beauty and the Scholar. On Exploration of Beautiful Scenes (with a Short Trip to Bali) – Geoff Ridden: Finding a Voice for Mourning: Elegies for Diana, Princess of Wales – Katarzyna Więckowska: ‘The stories we are made of.’ Defining women through genres of popular fiction – Elżbieta Rokosz-Piejko: Gold Mountain People - Chinese American «Strangers» in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Prose – Marek Wilczyński: The Cracks in the Walls. Lovecraft’s Hyperreality of New England – Ewa Borkowska: The «Culture» Of Simulation – David Malcolm: Telling the Real in Contemporary British Fiction – David Jarrett: Regions in Cyberspace: A Postmodern Reading of the Map of Manchester – Maciej Nowak: Ironist’s Preys. Simulating/Dissimulating Senses in Don Juan – Andrzej Wicher: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Quarrel with Modernity. Some Reflections on Tolkien’s Practical Philosophy – Marta Zając: Only Differences Can Resemble Each Other, or On Folds – Małgorzata Nitka: Jeremy Bentham and the Anatomy of Spectacle – Leszek Drong: Simulatory Representation and Iconographic Substitution – Jacek Gutorow: Simulacra as Icons (five annotations) – Debra Benita Shaw: Virtually Human: Replication & Subjectivity in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner – William Beard: Clint Eastwood as a Virtual Hero – Paweł Polit: Lacanian Psychoanalysis and the Possibility of the Subject in the Work of Bruce Nauman.