TRAMES 4, 3, 1999
Valdur Mikita. Life as narrative: a bridge between psychology and semiotics
University of Tartu
This article attempts to find an answer to the question why people sometimes
attempt to build up their biography according to the typical canons of
an artistic text. This article analyses the nature of such a literary autobiography
in the light of the ideas of Eric Berne, Mikhail Rozin, Yuri Lotman and
Jerome Bruner. Berne believes that this situation conveys negative psychological
reactions, for usually an individual is unable to accomplish the life scenarios
worked out by himself in co-operation with his closest friends and relatives.
Rozin states that the organisation of one's own life according to the distinguishing
principles of a work of art is a manifestation of the creative element
in the human being. Lotman analyses human biographies from the point of
view of cultural semiotics, pointing out that an autobiography as a work
of art is not determined by psychological, but rather by cultural factors.
Jerome Bruner discovers connections between models of cultural psychology
and the narrative description of human life.
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