Simon Franklin, professor of Slavonic studies, University of Cambridge. Sponsor: CREES.
To read is to see, and writing is a form of visual representation, a system of graphic signs. The primary significance of these graphic signs is linguistic: they can be decoded as language. But their visual qualities also allow other levels of signification. The mode of verbal display can convey far more than just the verbal message. This is not just a matter of graphic design, of aesthetics and taste. The non-verbal implications of verbal display can be more eloquent and in some ways more profound than the primary verbal message. This lecture provides, in the first place, a broad overview of principal developments in verbal display in Russia over the past several centuries; and, secondly, a sample of ‘in-depth’ case studies which illustrate not just the general truisms of verbal display anywhere, but specific and recurrent features of Russian culture.