Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Theory of Semiotics” as Want to Read:
A Theory of Semiotics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Theory of Semiotics

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  907 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
..". the greatest contribution to [semiotics] since the pioneering work of C. S. Peirce and Charles Morris." --Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

..". draws on philosophy, linguistics, sociology, anthropology and aesthetics and refers to a wide range of scholarship... raises many fascinating questions." --Language in Society

..". a major contribution to the field of sem
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 1st 1978 by Indiana University Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Republic by PlatoThe Prince by Niccolò MachiavelliCritique of Pure Reason by Immanuel KantMetaphysics by AristotlePhenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
92nd out of 172 books — 124 voters
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinManufacturing Consent by Noam ChomskyGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Ecological Rift by John Bellamy FosterExcellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz
Foreign Policy's Top 100 Public Intellectuals (2008)
33rd out of 84 books — 39 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,588)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Miss Ravi
یه نفری رو میشناسم که میگفت آدمها ممکنه چیزهای زیادی بدونن اما از اون دونستههاشون چیزهای خیلی کمی رو واقعاً «بفهمند». خیلی هم روی این فهمیدن تاکید داشت. من وقتی این کتاب رو خوندم و از همون اوایل یاد حرفهای اون آدم افتادم و فهمیدم که چقدر این کتاب رو نمیفهمم. با وجودی که میدونم داره چی میگه.
بعضی صفحات رو دو سه باری خوندم، نه اینکه تاثیری نداشت ولی روی کلیّتش برام نتیجهی زیادی نداشت. واسه همین نمیتونم الان امتیازی به این کتاب بدم. کسی که این کتاب رو پیشنهاد داد بهم، تاکید کرد که ازوناست که یه بار
Mar 24, 2007 Conrad rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Contains one of the best jokes I know. To paraphrase:

Two worn-out dogs with mangy coats run into a third dog on the streets of Moscow. This third dog has a gorgeous, shiny coat, and appears well-fed. The two dogs walk up to the third and ask, "How the hell did you get so much food? We're starving out here!" The third dog goes, "Well, there's this doctor Pavlov who runs this psychology institute. I walk in and he puts me in a warm room and rings a bell. All I have to do then is drool a little, an
Jan 26, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Definitely targeted an an audience already familiar with linguistics theory - be prepared to use your dictionary and favorite translation program.

Deep, systematic theory of semiotics that breaks down into theories of code production and theories of sign production.

I used it in a graduate class as an intro to semiotics and it was way too specialist and detailed for the purposes for which we needed it. I think, after discussion, that my students still got a lot out of it as it enabled us to talk a
Sep 11, 2010 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of language philosophy as the perfect counter point in which to observe what language does do rather than to meditate on how it does it. The other thing that is so refreshing about Eco is just how readable he is at the same time as conveying a great many very difficult concepts: Eco has no need to disguise ideas in murky rhetoric because he is a genuine intellectual who understands a great many complex phenomena.

There are of course many
Maria Maniaci
Impenetrable. But that's probably me and not him--he's brilliant, but I'm new to this and this is not a primer. I read it because I had to, at about 10 pages per hour, and they were very long hours.

It's a pet peeve of mine when someone is in essence lecturing on a topic and they slip in and out of foreign languages for paragraphs at a time, then go on to build their own arguements on the untranslated text. Of course if you're reading this of your own voilition, maybe you've already read everyth
Jun 27, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
Extremely technical and demanding, not to mention a bit dry, this book is worth the effort if you are interested in philosophy of language and understanding ideas. I read it in a class on semiotics so I imagine it would be even harder flying solo. I have heard "misreadings" is more indicative of Eco's personality and writing than this book is.
Robert Foschia
May 11, 2015 Robert Foschia rated it liked it
Do you need to know the intricacies of every counter- point Eco thinks if in terms of his theories? Hold this book two inches from your face because it demands you abandon the world. The last line is the only useful tidbit
Kirk Lowery
Jul 24, 2011 Kirk Lowery rated it it was amazing
Shelves: linguistics
Before there was linguistics, there was semiotics.
Mar 31, 2016 Ricky rated it did not like it
Reading this book is a professional obligation. It is tormenting me. I am simply not convinced by this theory. I have read pages and pages and do not understand what this field is about. I think it is acacemic bullshit. I should get round to reading one of his novels.
Monica Castillo
It wasn't a hard reading, but of course you have to know about semiotics already. I found the notes and the introduction very helpful on how to read the book. I enjoy only the very firsts chaptera then it got a little boring and very technical but again, this is not a novel.
Mar 29, 2014 James rated it really liked it
I won't say this is going to make a great movie.... And by all means avoid giving it as an anniversary gift to all but the most cerebral social misfits. But for those of who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing we like.
Rebecca Wood
Apr 29, 2010 Rebecca Wood rated it liked it
This was a difficult read, I didn't finish it all the way and had to return it to the library. Many of the terms were not defined and had to be learned from repeated context. It is not an introductory book on the subject, but an argument developed in detail within the field. It was thought provoking, but I can't really recommend it as a good book to read while nursing - ACK!?! what on earth was I thinking!?!

I blogged about how this book relates to art:
Apr 09, 2014 Claudia rated it it was amazing
A must for anyone studying Semiotics or Linguistics. Not a novel !
Rufinus Egho
i mant to download

Don Hackett
Mar 19, 2016 Don Hackett marked it as to-read
I picked up a cheap used copy, read the first few pages, and found them dense. I like the idea of semiotics, reading the signs around us, but this may prove too technical for me.
Ioannis Savvas
Πρόκειται για ένα εξαιρετικά απαιτητικό βιβλίο. Ο αναγνώστης πρέπει να είναι εξοικειωμένος με τη φιλοσοφική σκέψη και αντίληψη, καθώς και με θέματα γλωσσολογίας.
Feb 02, 2010 Catalina rated it really liked it
Muy buena obra de Eco....La semiótica se define como el estudio de los signos, su estructura y la relación entre el significante y el concepto de significado. Los alcances de la semiótica, de la misma manera que su relación con otras ciencias y ramas del conocimiento, son en extremo amplios
Jun 02, 2013 George rated it liked it
Най-трудно завършената книга, която съм чел.
Изключителна широта на опита за систематизиране на семиотиката в един-единствен трактат.
Но определено не е за хода, които тепърва ще "се учат" какво е семиотика.
Sol Salinas
Feb 02, 2008 Sol Salinas rated it really liked it
On symbols and meanings, the authoritative text. Would recommend any/all books by U. Eco
Umberto G. C.
yeah, uhm, Eco's irony is always so crassly insistent______but EHY, good.
Bye Bye Eco ! Merci pour tout ! -_-"
hiiiiiiiii "FINISH WITH THAT" !!!!"
Dec 26, 2009 Bryce rated it really liked it
I'm going to go back and read Hjemslev before trying this again...
Jesus Saldivia
This book's located in my "horror" shelf. I hated it.
Mario Peimbert
Aug 02, 2011 Mario Peimbert rated it liked it
Pretty difficult book if you're starting in linguistic.
Sep 17, 2013 Alex rated it liked it
Semiótica. ¿Qué más puedo decir al respecto?
Colby Coombs
May 01, 2016 Colby Coombs rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Excruciatingly hard to understand [dimmy]
Machala Machala
May 05, 2012 Machala Machala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book but a difficult read.
Sal Coraccio
Nov 05, 2015 Sal Coraccio rated it liked it
This book makes me feel sooo stupid.
Kartika Lukita
Aug 31, 2013 Kartika Lukita rated it really liked it
penanda & pertanda :)
Michael A.
Jul 08, 2011 Michael A. rated it it was amazing
This is my current challenge.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 86 87 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Elements of Semiology
  • Semiotics: The Basics (The Basics)
  • Structuralism and Semiotics
  • Limited Inc
  • Course in General Linguistics
  • The Jargon of Authenticity
  • Speech Genres and Other Late Essays
  • The System of Objects
  • The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction
  • The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures
  • The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings Volume 1: 1867-1893
  • Proust and Signs: The Complete Text
  • The Future of the Image
  • Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation
  • The Imaginary
  • Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition
  • Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics
  • Under the Sign of Saturn: Essays
Umberto Eco was an Italian writer of fiction, essays, academic texts, and children's books, and certainly one of the finest authors of the twentieth century. A professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco’s brilliant fiction is known for its playful use of language and symbols, its astonishing array of allusions and references, and clever use of puzzles and narrative inventions. His pe ...more
More about Umberto Eco...

Share This Book

“Semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth: it cannot in fact be used "to tell" at all.” 18 likes
“C’è una nota storiella che narra come due cani si incontrino a Mosca; l’uno è grasso e ben pasciuto, l’altro magro e affamato. Il cane affamato domanda all’altro: “come fai a trovare da mangiare?” e l’altro, con abilità zoosemiotica, risponde: “facilissimo. Ogni mattina a mezzogiorno vado all’Istituto Pavlov e mi metto a sbavare; ed ecco che a quel punto arriva uno scienziato condizionato che suona un campanello e mi porta un piatto di zuppa”.” 1 likes
More quotes…