The Companion to Juri Lotman


The volume explores the main facets of Lotman's work and his main ideas in the context of contemporary scholarship.

A Semiotic Theory of Culture

Editors: Marek Tamm, Peeter Torop

Juri Lotman (1922–1993), the Jewish-Russian-Estonian historian, literary scholar and semiotician, was one of the most original and important cultural theorists of the 20th century, as well as a co-founder of the well-known Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics. This is the first authoritative volume in any language to explore the main facets of Lotman’s work and discuss his main ideas in the context of contemporary scholarship.

Boasting an interdisciplinary cast of contributing academics from across mainland Europe, as well as the USA, the UK, Australia, Argentina and Brazil, The Companion to Juri Lotman is the definitive text about Lotman’s intellectual legacy. The book is structured into three main sections – Context, Concepts and Dialogue – which simultaneously provide ease of navigation and intriguing prisms through which to view his various scholarly contributions. Saussure, Bakhtin, Language, Memory, Space, Cultural History, New Historicism, Literary Studies and Political Theory are just some of the thinkers, themes and approaches examined in relation to Lotman, while the introduction and thematic Lotman bibliography that frame the main essays provide valuable background knowledge and useful information for further research.

The book foregrounds how Lotman’s insights have been especially influential in conceptualizing meaning making practices in culture and society, and how they, in turn, have inspired the work of a diverse group of scholars. The Companion to Juri Lotman shines a light on a hugely significant and all-too often neglected figure in 20th-century intellectual history.


Introduction, Marek Tamm (Tallinn University, Estonia) and Peeter Torop (University of Tartu, Estonia)
1. Lotman’s Life and Work, Tatyana Kuzovkina (Tallin University, Estonia)

Part I. Lotman in Context

2. Lotman and Saussure, Ekaterina Velmezova (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
3. Lotman and Russian Formalism, Mihhail Trunin (Tallinn University, Estonia)
4. Lotman and Jakobson, Igor Pilshchikov (Tallinn University, Estonia; UCLA, USA) and Elin Sütiste (University of Tartu, Estonia)
5. Lotman and Bakhtin, Caryl Emerson (Princeton University, USA)
6. Lotman and the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Merit Rickberg (Tallinn University, Estonia) and Silvi Salupere (University of Tartu, Estonia)
7. Lotman in Transnational Context, Igor Pilshchikov (Tallinn University, Estonia; UCLA, USA)

Part II. Lotman in Concepts

8. Language, Suren Zolyan (Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Russia)
9. Text, Aleksei Semenenko (Umea University, Sweden)
10. Culture, Mihhail Lotman (Tallinn University and University of Tartu, Estonia)
11. Communication, Winfried Nöth (Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil)
12. Modelling, Katre Pärn (University of Tartu, Estonia)
13. Narration, Wolf Schmid (University of Hamburg, Germany)
14. Space, Anti Randviir (University of Tartu, Estonia)
15. Symbol, Ilya Kalinin (Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia)
16. Image, Nikolay Poselyagin (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia)
17. Memory, Renate Lachmann (University of Constance, Germany)
18. History, Taras Boyko (University of Tartu, Estonia)
19. Biography, Jan Levchenko (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia)
20. Power, Pietro Restaneo (National Research Council, Italy)
21. Explosion, Laura Gherlone (National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Argentina)
22. Semiosphere, Peeter Torop (Tartu University, Estonia)

Part III. Lotman in Dialogue

23. Lotman and French Theory, Sergey Zenkin (Russian State Univresity for the Humanities, Russia)
24. Lotman and Deconstructionism, Daniele Monticelli (Tallinn University, Estonia)
25. Lotman and Cultural History, Marek Tamm (Tallinn University, Estonia)
26. Lotman and Literary Studies, Katalin Kroó (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
27. Lotman and New Historicism, Andreas Schönle (University of Bristol, UK)
28. Lotman and Cultural Studies, John Hartley (Curtin University, Australia)
29. Lotman and Popular Culture Studies, Eva Kimminich (University of Potsdam, Germany)
30. Lotman and Media Studies, Indrek Ibrus (Tallinn University, Estonia) and Maarja Ojamaa (University of Tartu, Estonia)
31. Lotman and Social Media Studies, Mari-Liis Madisson (University of Tartu, Estonia) and Andreas Ventsel (University of Tartu, Estonia)
32. Lotman and Memory Studies, Nutsa Batiashvili (Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia), James V. Wertsch (Washington University in St Louis, USA) and Tinatin Inauri (Free University of Tblisi, Georgia)
33. Lotman and Political Theory, Andrey Makarychev (University of Tartu, Estonia) and Alexandra Yatsyk (University of Tartu, Estonia)
34. Lotman and Life Sciences, Kalevi Kull (University of Tartu, Estonia) and Timo Maran (University of Tartu, Estonia)
35. Lotman and Cognitive Neurosciences, Edna Andrews (Duke University, USA)

Lotman in English: A Bibliography, Remo Gramigna (University of Tartu, Estonia)

Bloomsbury Publishing