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Plotting Gothic$
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Stephen Murray

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226191805

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226191942.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

The Production of Meaning

The Production of Meaning

(p.133) 6 The Production of Meaning
Plotting Gothic

Stephen Murray

University of Chicago Press

This chapter matches material production with the production of meaning: the power of the cathedral to communicate through a language of conventional signs and to lead us to a world beyond. Amongst our three witnesses it is with Abbot Suger that we negotiate the passage from the material to the immaterial. Our exploration of the production of meaning is further facilitated through the intervention of Durandus, bishop of Mende, the most informative source on the ways that the material church represents the spiritual. We proceed to examine four topoi or commonplaces: the etiological myth of forest origins, the way that meaning is conveyed as one building points to another, the notion of Gothic as radical rationalism or modernism and the ontological myth of the Gothic cathedral as an image of heaven.

Keywords:   production of meaning, conventional signs, passage from material to immaterial, Durandus, Bishop of Mende, etiological myth, ontological myth, rationalism, modernism

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