Yuri Lotman's Birth Anniversary Marked

Yuri Lotman (1922-1993) Photo: Ülo Josing / ERR archive
2/27/2012 10:05 AM
Category: Culture

The 90th anniversary of the birth of philosopher Yuri Lotman on February 28 is being marked with conferences at two of the largest universities, as day-to-day work continues on Lotman's legacy. 

The struturalist's role as the founder of the Tartu-Moscow school of semiotics will be discussed at a two-day conference at Tallinn University.

"I am not certain the school would have developed without him," said member of the Estonian semiotics repository and Tallinn University teacher Piret Peiker. "Not the kind of Tartu-Moscow school we have today."

Born and educated in St. Petersburg, Lotman's career as a scholar began in Estonia due in part to the fact that he was Jewish and was not allowed to work in Russia in the late 1940s. He moved to Tartu in 1950. 

Tallinn University is the site of the Semiotics Repository based on the Lotman archive and library. It is still under construction as there are a huge number of documents to work through, including 18,000 letters sent to Lotman and his wife and collaborator Zara Mintz.

Peiker says the archive has turned up several previously unpublished manuscripts. And the repository has aso received distinguished semioticians conducting research - "One interesting visitor was Umberto Eco, who came to look at Lotman's drawings," said Peiker.

Kristopher Rikken

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