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Medieval Identity: Subject, Object, Agency

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the formulation of an immanent theory of signs by focusing upon one specific aspect of prescholastics' engagement with semiotics, their discourse about and their manipulation of images. It deals with that prescholastic theories of image, in shunning the concept of image as mirror in favor of a consideration of image as imprint, articulated an awareness of the relationship between modes of iconic representation, the constitution of the subject, ego, and the construction of subjectivity. The chapter argues that the prescholastic re-interpretation of image as imprint marks a critical moment in the medieval history of representation since it was as an imprint, the seal, that the image first emerged within the field of social praxis. Seals as signs-in-action re-aligned resemblance away from the model toward the imprints that might be issued from a particular mold.

Keywords:images of identity; prescholastic theories of image; semiotics



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