Gerasimova S.А. Frontispiece as a Representative of Emblematicity in the Encyclopedia by D. Diderot and J. D’Alembert


Svetlana A. Gerasimova

Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Senior Lecturer, Department of the French Language and Didactics, Moscow City University

Malyy Kazennyy Lane, 5b, 105064 Moscow, Russia

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Abstract. The research, which results are presented in the paper, coincides with current issues related to the scientific discourse space investigation and relates to the subject sphere of semiotics. The article analyzes the pragmatic significance of one of the circumtext elements of the 18th century French Encyclopedia – the frontispiece, meaningful for a potential reader to understand the reference book as a whole. It is proved that in the architectonic-pragmatic division of the work the frontispiece plays a significant role due to a strong pre-text position, fulfilling a prospective function in orienting the addressee. Being a part of this reference edition, the para-text element precedes the language component of the text, joins the word and shapes a semiotic unity. It is specified that the Encyclopedia comes across as a multimodal text, where scientific knowledge is coded by verbal and iconic text. The structural-semantic relations of the iconic and verbal components of the Encyclopedia as a multimodal text are described. Frontispiece being a visual component carries out a semasiological connection with a verbal sign, denoting related subject-matter associations. It is proved that the role of the frontispiece is to expand and deepen the content of the verbal component of the 18th century largest reference edition. The semantic relations between the frontispiece and the text are realized through a visualized symbolic image, which explicates their connection within the whole book.

Key words: field of communication, multimodality, frontispiece, engraving, the Encyclopedia by D. Diderot and J. D'Alembert, allegory, academic text.

Citation. Gerasimova S.А. Frontispiece As a Representative of Emblematicity in the Encyclopedia by D. Diderot and J. D'Alembert. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2, Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2018, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 151-159. (in Russian). DOI:

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