ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Third Meaning

The Third Meaning GPD IT is. too early to say the last word on Arkhipov's visit to China. Probably the time when we can say anything definitive on it might never come. The Soviets and the Chinese talk almost compulsively in an involved language about each other. Their talk seems to carry several meanings. Talking about Eisenstein's film 'Ivan the Terrible' the famous French critic Roland Barthes had talked about "the third, meaning" which several Eisenstenian frames conveyed to him. He called it the "third meaning" or the "obtuse meaning". Barthes takes recourse to geometry in his famous essay entitled "The Third Meaning". He says, "An obtuse angle is greater than a right angle: an obtuse angle is of 1000, says the dictionary; the third meaning also seems to me greater than the pure, upright, secant, legal perpendicular of the narrative, it seems to open the field of meaning totally ...". It would seem that when it comes to Sino-Soviet dialogues it is this obtuse or third meaning which is perhaps more important than the other meanings, although, we are sure, admires of Barthian criticism would be shocked at this, what must appear to them, flippant play with the master's categories.

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