The first issue of Hortus Semioticus is a collection of essays originally prepared for a course on the semiotics of the own and the alien . The essays cover a wide and diverse range of topics, yet they all address, in one way or another, the emergence of the distinction between the own and the alien and the ways it is maintained; throughout the papers, the necessity, conventionality and interpretation of the emergent boundaries are discussed. The authors of the papers you will find in this collection are mostly students of the Department of Semiotics at the University of Tartu. Many of them do not yet have an established field of research and thus the choice of specific topics was often driven by curiosity and intuition rather than by pre-established assumptions. Yet because of this it is all the more interesting to observe where the terminology of the semiotics of the own and the alien has proven to be fruitful.
The book was written at a tempo approaching the speed of light (300 000 km/sec). Reading it at an average speed of 2 pages per minute takes about 600 minutes, or approximately 10 hours. This is more or less the time it takes for a Boeing 747 to fly from Paris to New York, from Tallinn to Nairobi, from Kiev to Vladivostok, or from Bogota to Casablanca.
By traversing the book as the crow flies (i.e. line by line, without paying close attention to the curves of the letters), the reader must cover roughly 1,5 km. The distance to be covered in a diagonal reading is calculable using the Pythagorean Theorem in the form of the equation:x = n?a˛+b˛, where a and b are the height and width of the page and n the number of pages in the book.
The reading time includes one strong meal; coffee, tea and soft drinks are served on demand. Food is not included in the price of the book, nor can it be found between its pages. Yesterday’s fish cutlets are in the pantry, bottom shelf. Steamed vegetables, rice or French fries can be ordered separately. Beware of excessive gorging at the cost of reading.
This special issue of Hortus Semioticus is a collection of papers from the postgraduate workshop "Intermediality and Storytelling" (Tartu, October 17-19, 2008). The authors approach the issues of intermediality, mediation and storytelling from dif
ferent theoretical perspectives, drawing on recent developments in narratology, film theory and culture studies. Along with the papers by young scholars, we publish the interview with Distinguished Humanities Professor Brian McHale (The Ohio State University) who attended the workshop as a honorable guest and delivered a public lecture entitled "Narrativity and Segmentivity, or, Poetry in the Gutter"