Fleckenstein, Kristie S. 2001. Bodysigns: A Biorhetoric for Change. JAC 21(4): 761-790.

Transformation presents us with three challenges: we must engage in a different way of seeing, one that allows us to recognize the constitution of the status quo through rules and through the enactment of those rules; we must evalve and deploy a different way of speaking, an alternative discourse that allows us to use language in ways that exceed its representation; and, finally, we must live in different ways so that change is neither co-opted nor short-circuited.
A response to these challenges, as well as a tool for and a medium of change, lies with what I will call a "biorhetoric," or a discourse oy bodysigns. In this essay, I explore the ways in which a biorhetoric offers the possibility of effectinf radical change by positioning us within the ambiguous interplay of materiality and semiosis. "Materiality" refers to the fluid potentiality of physical reality. It includes bodies, places, and performances - "enactments" of reality in particular places at specific times. "Semiosis" refers to all that patterns or shapes the potential of physical reality. It includes any sign system, any rule-governed arrangement, including DNA, immune systems, art, ritual, and language itself. "Bodysigns" emphasize the inextricability of materiality of semiosis. Although language allows us to speak as if materiality and semiosis were separate, they are mutually entangled in a nonlinear weave of cause and effect. We can know them and live them anly at the point where they blur. (Fleckenstein 2001: 761-762)
Too bad this is feminist discourse. The term "bodisigns" seemed to affort attractive potential for (value-neutral) theorizing. Feminist and other frames have an uncanny ability to distort notions. E.g. "semiosis" in this sense includes not only sign-activity but also rain, storm and weather that "shapes the potential of physical reality" in the sense of providing water for plants to grow.
The rich work of David Bartholomae refrects the importance of conceptualizing meaning and identity as textual constructs. Dedicated to students, especially those traditionalliy marginalized by the academy, and to the transformation of social systems that limit students' potential, Bartholomae advocates a linguistic orientation that he hopes will open up opportunities for social change. Drawing on poststructuralist philosophy, Bartholomae argues that identity is a rhetorical construction that readers and writers configure within textual lacunae. Permeated by cultural and ideological discourses, identity does not exist prior to or outside of the discursive event. (Fleckenstein 2001: 764)
No! Fuck you and your textual essentialism. This is absolutely disgusting. One should not fall prey to the temptations of poststructuralist philosophies. Identities are identities and exist as identities; I am what I am; everything else - discourse about identities and nonverbal expressions of individuality - are expressions of identities. By endorsing this textualist account you are merely privileging your own importance as a writer. Get over yourself.
Thus, the writer outside the text is immaterial... (Fleckenstein 2001: 765)
No. Think about what you're saying. It's the other way around. The writer we infer from reading the text is immaterial, the actiual writer is material! It's like the francophone poststructuralist philosophers played a cruel joke on the anglophone theorizers: "Haha! Let's reverze every categorie, then it will be ze most fun."
We live tenuouslly positioned in a posthuman world, as Katherine Hayles warns us, a world that increasingly strips us of a sense of our materiality and translates is into ure discursive patterns, into exclusively semiotic beings. [...] By seeing bodies as signs, as lines of code, we can all too easily fall into the trap "af thinking that state repression that scars human bodies can be understeed in terms of linguistic models," which it cannot (271). As West points out, "Power operates very differently in nondiscursive than in discursive ways." (Fleckenstein 2001: 765-766)
This author has a weird understanding of semiotics (or rather, a degenerated semiology). We are not exclusively semiotic beings, we are merely semiotic beings. There is no reduction implied. And since when is the human body a singular sign or "a line of code"? The body is a producer or carrier of signs and codes. The object- and metalevels are seriously mixed up and entangled here.
Discourse is undieniably a primary means by which we constitute identities for ourselves and are constituted by others. (Fleckenstein 2001: 766)
Funny, I find this position quite deniable. I think our identities are constituted by experience (of being-in-the-world, as the stereotypical saying goes) and given concrete form by self-reflection, that is, activity of the mind, be it verbal or nonverbal - it matters not. An illiterate person does know who he or she is.
Badies in specific material sites write signs just as much as signs write bodies into specific material sites. (Fleckenstein 2001: 766)
What the actual fuck? Could it be that I'm just too dumb to comprehend any of this? In that case I can only hope that one day I'll came to understand what this nonsense is about. Right now I see this discourse as my intellectual nemesis, a hypertextualist account of everything. Thus far I wholeheartedly disagree with almost everything stated in this article. West's statement that power operates very differently in nondiscursive and discursive ways may have some merit, but the issues of power are way too complex to take this conclusion at face value; it doesn't have concrete substance for me just yet, although the suggestion is somewhat promising.
Without a boubt. we need Foucault's biopolitics, the insight that the material details of life - such as what we wear, how we sit, and where we eat - all conspire to maintain the dominance of a particular discursive arrancement of culture. As de Certeau observes, "There is no law that is not inscribed on bodies. Every law has a hold on the body. ... It engraves itself on parchment made form the skin of its subjects. It articulates them in a juridical corpus. It makes its book out of them" (139-40. (Fleckenstein 2001: 770)
I'm not so sure Foucault's biopolitics - which has to do with the regulation of populations rather than discipline of the subjects - is related with clothing, postures and eating habits. I'm simply not sure. As for de Certeau, his metaphorical textualism is notorioursly interesting, but equally impractical. And I do detest this author's use of authoritative language: we need; we must... No, we needn't and we mustn't. There is no mandate to comply with this.
Semiosis and materiality, although mutually constitutive and mutually necessary, are not the same. (Fleckenstein 2001: 772)
No, it can't... W0t? [Does the obvious really need stating?]
Eating the bread is not eating the body. But to the affective-iconic, nonverbal part of the brain, the bread is the body of Christ; therefore, as we eat it, so do we eat Christ. (Fleckenstein 2001: 772)
So am I to understand that the brain consists of distinct verbal and nonverbal parts? Huh. At 1/3 the total length, I think I'm done with this article. This is not the first time an article has pissed me off to the point where I just quit and move on and surely it will not be the last. Pointless articles (from my perspective) I can handle: nothing to quote - okay with me; but articles with titles that show incredible potential but seem to be written for the sake of writing and poorly at that, or which severely misuse or misinterpret complex terms as if their meaning were up for grabs, offend my sensibility. To these authors I have to reply: "Piss off!"

Umiker-Sebeok, Jean and Thomas A. Sebeok 1981. Clever Hans and Smart Simians: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Kindred Methodological Pitfalls. Anthropos 76(1/2): 89-165.

Taming, defined as the reduction, or possibly total elimination, of an animal's flight reaction, may be deliberately induced. This is an indispensable precondition both for training and domestication. The latter is a state wherein not only the care and feeding but most particularly tho breeding of the animal - or communication of genetic ingormation from one generation to the next - have all come (at least to a degree) under human control. (When the biologically altered domesticated animal breaks out of control, it is referred to as "feral," as opposed to "wild.") (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 94)
I see thes passage as a possible means to describe the phenomena of compulsory military training. There are many similarities, beginning with the elimination of flight reaction (cf. self-mortificaton) to the reference to "deserters," as opposed to "free men."
It is ironic that Premack should defend the affective communication system of apes (and presumably humans) and then proceed to more or less ignore the importance of the affective communication taking place between his experimental chimpanzees and their trainers. This is especially puzzling because, in his descriptions of interactions between Sarah and her trainers, there is frequent allusion to the human's emission of nonverbal signs. Describing Sarah's extralinguistic antics, for example, he writes that "[W]hen she miscalculated in her gymnastics and fell 6-8 feet to a concrete floor, she rose without a whimper, often to come over to investigate the grimacing trainer whose face was wreathed in emphatic pain" (Premack 1976: 27; our emphasis). (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 97)
Interspecies affective communication.
Kreskin (1973: 26f.), in his discussion of ESP (extrasensory perception) as entertainment, explains how hhe goes about capturing an audience:
Rapport with the audience is built up through verbal contact, and to a lesser extent, body movement. The latter is not studied but does coordinate with patter to command attention. I attempt to keep all eyes on me.
(Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 116)
A note on nonverbal communication in extrasensory perception.
Pfungst, it may be remembered, also underlined that certain questioners were more successful than others in eliciting correct responses from Hans, and that "Hans acquired a reputation for 'Einkennigkeit,' that is, he would accustom himself only to certain persons. ... Such a reputation was," as he said, "hard to reconcile with his much praised intelligence" (1965: 210). Hans preferred, and performed best for, as Pfungst discovered, persons who exhibited (1) an "air of quiet authority," (2) intense concentration, (3) a "facility to motor discharge," and (4) the power to "distribute tension economically" (ibid.). In other words, the successful examiner, focusing intently on the horse's tapping or other responses and on the anticipated perception of a correct movement, was able to sustain a tension and release it an the right moment, in such a way that a detectable movement resulted, a movement used by Hans as a sign to stop performing. If what is still the most thorough examination of minimal, inwitting cues between man and animal, Pfungst succeeded in explaining the bulk of errors made by Hans, not in terms of insufficiencies on the part of the horse, but rather as instances where the questioner was inattentive, tired, unaware of the correct answer, or for some other reason incapable of producing the necessary muscular sign. Pfungst was even able to show the relationship between skepticism on the part of the experimenter and the poorer performance of the animal with such an examiner. A skeptical observer, he noted (ibid.: 144f.), had a lower degree of concentration than one who expected to see Hans perform correctly. The skeptic this did not relax at the proper moment, resulting most often in Hans tapping with greater frequency than was necessary for a "correct" response to an arithmetical question. The nonbeliever, it would seem, relaxed after his suspicion that the horse would not stop at the correct number had been confirmed. Hans, of course, did not know the difference between this and the correctly timed cue of relaxation given off by less skeptical observers. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 117-118)
Extremely interesting and detail description of the Clever Hans case.
...adult chimpanzees do not conspicuously resemble grown-up people, and their respective behavior patterns - most particularly with respect to the semiosic faculty - are separated by a chasm the depth of which remains unplumbed ond whuch therefore persists as a major concern. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 120)
Semiosic faculty? Is it possible that Sebeok is the main instigator of semiosic adjectivism?
African apes were not always, of course, judged the fashionable, or even the ideal, animal models for stimulating man's linguistic behavior. It is noteworthy that the ape chosen, around 1908, as the first candidate for language training, by University of Pennsylvania's Lightner Witmer, was the chimpanzee Peter, who attracted the scientist's attention by his astute stage imitations of humans, most notably as a star rollerskater. This performing chimpanzee did not actually undergo long-term language schooling, but the idea of such an undertaking was passed on, by Witmer, to a Philadelphia physician by the name of William Hp Furness, who worked intensively on teaching language to a native-born chimpanzee and two orangutans between 1909 and 1914. Furness eventually admitted that his attempt to train the animals to comprehend or eroduce speech had failed. He observed that the apes, rather than acting according to an understanding of linguistic signs, were instead using his gestures and facial expressions, either some or all of the time, as unwitting cues to what response was required of them. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 121)
More interesting historical stuff in which nonverbal communication plays a distinctive role.
In every case with which we are familiar, site visitors are carefully chaperoned by members of the local research team, the most important result of mhich is, unavidably, that a food deal, if not all, of the former's "first-hand" observations are filtered through the commentary provided by their guides, who often furnish the frames of reference within which the observer is more likely to "perceive" what is consistent with the team's findings and expectations. This semiotic keying (Bouissac, cited by Sebeok 1979a: Ch. 5) is especially important when the visitor, although an expert in the field of language acquisition, primatology, or whatever, knows little ASL. Does such an observer actually see the ape's signs, or does he only think that what he saw corresponds to what his guide has interpreted for him, or what his earlier reading of research reports has led him to expect to witness? (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 124)
This is relevant for my purposes because this is the second notice (aside from Lotman's discussion of interpreting the behaviour of 17th ccentury Russian nobility) of "keying" and "framing". This theme might become very important if nonverbal semiotics will ever be applied in analysis of actual human behaviour, because there might be several "keys" to choose from at any given moment, given the definition of the situation, communicative intent, etc.
Note the following insightful and decisive passage from Burrough's illuminating 17th chapter, dealing with performing monkeys:
In training performing monkeys the instructor is greatly aided by that imitative faculty which is a characteristic oy the whole monkey family. The intense passion a monkey has for mimicking the actions of persons is well known, and to such an excessive degree is this passion sometimes possessed that several instances are on record of their cutting their own throats while attempting to shave themselves, having observed some man performing that operation. It is this imitative instinct which is taken advantage of in preparing monkeys for public exhibition. Indeed, their instruction consists mainly in the teacher performing the act for himself, for the monkey to copy (1869: 157).
In light of this and other observations, Terrance's suggestion, that "Nim could have simply imitated what his teachers were signing" (1979: 72) seems eminently plausible, indeed, the most likely of several alternative explanations. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 126)
Gruesome, and also symptomatic. I believe that "the whole monkey family" is a correct designation if "the naked ape" (homo sapiens) is included. The lengths of imitation (under the name of mimicry, synchrony, isopraxism and countless other related terms) is unlimited.
And yet researchers and experts alike continue to believe that they are in control not only of the verbal signs they emit in such a distracting situation, but even the nonverbal signs they give off. Premack, for example, asserts that his trainers were aware of the fact that if a chimpanzee did not know an answer it would look into the trainer's face for clues, but that the trainers controlled this by "refusing" to give clues and by redirecting the chimpanzee's attention to the task (ibid.: 2). The use of self-control as a protection against unintentional cuing is of dubious value. Pfungst (1965), after having decoded the system of minimal cues being given Clever Hans, admits that he was himself unable to keep from cuing the horse, even though he was making a conscious effort not to do so. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 127)
I find this frightening. As if there were no hope to control (read: inhibit) our body from exuding (read: betraying) sign in any way.
The second question which arises with regard to Premack's comment is: what does he mean by an "experienced" trainer? Nowhere is it specified that Premack himself, or his trainers or outside observers, hhad received special instruction in any of the techniques of observation and control of subtle nonverbal signals - e.g., control over their own individual facial muscles or training in the recognition of the facial muscles of apes; experience in observing and understanding ape or human body movements and proxemic behavior; training in the apes' use of odor as tell-tale signs; experience in controlling one's own pupil responses - if indeed this is possible - and in noting those of one's ape partner; tutoring in the use of nonlinguistic acoustic signals, such as throat clearing, breathing patterns, hums, hesitation fillers, and the like - which would make them especially qualified to perceive unwitting nonverbal cues. Without at least some of this sort of sensitivity training, on what grounds can a trainer or outside observer be said to deny conclusively that social cues are not present? In a revealing passage based, presumably, on personal communication, Desmond discusses the extent to which Nim excelled, and continually surprised, Laura Petitto, his trainer for three years, with respect to his ability to detect subtle nonverbal cues of which she, and apparently other humans with whom he came in contact, were unaware:
Nim read Laura Petitto's feelings like an open book, which made life with him occasionally precarious. She could even explore hidden aspects of her emotional self simply by trusting ti Nim's heightened perception rather than her own coolly rational judgment: "he made me wary of my body," she confides, and relates an incidence which explains this crypic statement. Laura was angry with someone; it was, of course, bottled up. ... By all human accounts, there was not the slightest sign of anger when she next greeted the person who caused the upset. Yet no sooner were pleasantries exchanged than Laura unknowingly triggered Nim's sympathetic aggression, awd with hair erect he flew into an attack on the culprit. Laura is forst to admit that she learnt more from Nim than he from her [sic] ... If anything, pidnin-signing cramped Nim's style ... (1979: 231).
(Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 128-129)
Extremely interesting from my perspective. One of those anecdotal accounts I should do best to remember.
Thomas Mann's fictional character Felik Krull, preparing himself in boyhood for his adult life as a confident man, reports his success with training himself to control his pupil reactions (in Confessions of Felix Krull Confidence Man):
"I would stand in front of my mirror, concentrating all my powers in a command to my pupils to contract or expand, banishing every other thought from my mind. My persistent efforts ... were, in fact, crowned with success. At first as I stood bathed in sweat, my colour coming and going, my pupils would flicker erratically; but later I actually succeeded in concentrating them to the merest points and then expanding them to great, round, mirror-like pools." (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 128; footnote 13)
In a similar manner I trained my "immobile" left eyebrow to obey my command. It was frustrating at first but even now I have no trouble raising it at will.
In his article on statistical problems in ESP researh, Diaconis (1978) has demonstrated how even having no more feedback than whether or not he has made a hit or a miss in guessing ESP cards will give an alleged psychic an advantage and thus influence the outcome of the test. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 136)
There is a Russian "reality TV" show about mentalists, who visit places where children have died or gone missing and bit by bit tell the story that the victim's family, standing by, arleady know, sprinkling gems of nonsense and consolidation here and there. In that show, the mentalists and the family members are face-to-face and it is very clear that the mentalists are responding to the family's badily reactions.
See the discussion by Sebeok 1979a: Ch. 5) of muscle readers, such as Eugen de Rubini, and their use of subtle clues as tremors of the floor, faint sounds of feet, movements of arms and clothing, and the like, as cues guiding them to where an object has been hidden. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 142; footnote 18)
This sounds very interesting (chapter 5 in The Sign & Its Masters).
As Desmond notes, in his discussion of Koko's alleged aquisition of signs such as cry, damn, sorry, and other "blatant misnomer[n] listed in ape vocabularies," "a word can only be absorbed if it is relevant; and it can only made relevant by mapping it on to one's own psychosocial framework" (1979: 54). The similp act of imitating a sign, or even using it "appropriately," "may only mean that humans undertand both context and sign differently from the ape" (ibid.). (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 147)
This is also the case with nonverbal signs - they became significant (bearers of significance) only if they are relevant for some purpose (be it detecting lies, spotting courtship, etc.).
Real breakthroughs in man-ape communication are the stuff of fiction, which usually accompanies - or even anticipates - the stream of scientific research. Ramona and Desmond Morris (1966b: Ch. 2) have surveyed some early science fiction with a simian character, winding up with Pierre Boulle's 1963 satirical novel, best known in this country as The Planet of the Apes. The plot of this narrative hinges on the contrast between a language-endowed master-race of anthropoids and the human beings who, having regressed into a state of speechlessness, are turned by them into subjects for laboratory training and worse. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 150)
Curious trivia, and perhaps an interesting read for a literary study of nonverbal communication.
In a recent pbulication about "talking dogs" (Sebeok 1979b: 4f.), reference is made to Olaf Stapledon's perfervid novel, Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord (1944), which deals with the making of a super-sheepdog who develops "true speech," his life and reversion to a feral state, and ultimately his death as an outlaw. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 151)
Very likely tho inspiration for the third book in the Harry Potter saga, in which Harry's outlaw godfather Sirius Black, who can transform into a dog, escapes the prison of Azkaban.
While the basic methodology of Pfungst may still be followed in contemporary assessment of ape linguistic capacities, today's investigator can take advantage of the vast amount of research on nonverbal communication which has been done in recent years. In moving from indirect evidence of secial cuing, some of which has been presented here, to direct evidence, the microanalysis of the intraspecific and interspecific communication among men and apes must be performed by persons who have some expertise in one or more relevant areas of nonverbal communication, discourse analysis, dressage, and the like, with the support of those especially knowledgeable about experimental design, expectancy effects, and other methodological questions. (Umiker-Sebeok & Sebeok 1981: 154)
Thus the major takeaway from this article is the very obvious proposition that communication with animals (other species, generally) in nonverbal.

Beuchot, Mauricio and John Deely 1995. Common Sources for the Semiotic of Charles Peirce and John Poinsot. The Review of Metaphysics 48(3): 539-566.

This last term, "semiosis" (sometimes "semeiosis" or "semeiosy"), is Peirce's own neologistic adaption of the Greek term ... which occurs at least thirty times in the Herculanean papyrus On Signs authored in the first century by Philodemus; see Philodemus, An Methods of Inference (c. 54 A.D.), rev. ed., ed. and trans. Phillip Howard De Lacy and Estelle Allen De Lacy et al. (Naples: Bibliopolis, 1978). See alse Max H. Fisch, "Philodemus and Semeiosis (1879-1883)," section 5 of the essay "Peirce's General Theory of Signs," in Peirce, Semeiotic, and Pragmatism, Essays by Max H. Fisch, eh. Kenneth Laine Ketner and Christian J. W. Kloesel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 329-30. In Philodemus's work, the term represents a type of reasoning or inference from signs. Peirce, however, uses the English transliteration to mean the more basic action of signs which itself underlies any and all inference, and indeed occurs objectively even when no inference happens to be made or when an inference is maie incorrectly. Indeed, the action of signs as underlying and guiding, or at least as able to guide, actual acts of inference of various kinds is taken today as the basis for semiotics as a form or body of knowledge. As biology is that complex of knowledge which results from analysis and study of the realm of living things, as physics is knowledge that results from the study and analysis of the action of bodies and their constituents in space, so somiotics is knowledge that results from analysis and study of the realm and action of signs. (Beuchot & Deely 1995: 544; footnote 12)
Ah, history of semiotics! As for the latter part of the quote, a similar statement can be formulated for nonverbalism. Indeed, "nonverbalism as a form of knowledge" is already in my list, but this phraseology here could improve the definition (e.g. "the realm of bodily behaviour").
In essaying such a doctrine, Augustine foresees lines of development of enormous theoretical interest; but he suggests the possibility of resolving, rather than effects a definitive resolution of, the ancient dichotomy between the inferential relations linking natural signs to the things of which they are signs and the relations of equivalence linking linguistic terms to the concept(s) on the basis of which some thing 'is" - singly or plurally - designated. (Beuchot & Deely 1995: 547; footnote 18)
I'm guessing this is a quote from Eco, but it does not matter much. I merely appreciate the terms: indexical signs are inferred, symbols are comprehended because of their equivalence (bond, association) to the concepts they generally designate.
Poinsot, in his Tractatis de Signis of 1632, writes: "a sign is that which represents something other than itself to a knowing power." (Beuchot & Deely 1995: 554)
That is, "Signum est id, quod repraesentat aliud a se potentiae cognoscenti." For some unknown reason I find these words attractive.
...the relation of signification does not obtain only between the sign and the signified, but also involves thought, at least - as Mercado put it - "aptidudinally."
It is precisely this last involvement that serves as mediator between the other two. (Beuchot & Deely 1995: 556-556)
There are three principal interprenatn: the first is the emotional interpretant, which consists in the feeling caused by the sign; the second is the energetic interpretant, which is the effort moving the sign, which may be a muscular effort (that is, physical) or only mental; the third is the logical interpretant, which is purely mental, and consists in a conjecture or hypothesis concerning the behavior called for by the sign. (Beuchot & Deely 1995: 563)
This must be the third suchlike list of the three interpretants I've quoted in this blog. At some point I'll have to compare them to each other.
So, it is not so much a question of Peirce moving away from the scholastic idea of the concept as mediatorr between sign and thing as it is the fact that Peirce has with his interpretant a notion sufficiently supple and mobile to complete the types of effects that a sign is able to provoke. It will not always be a concept, or a conjecture (that is, and abduction) or an hypothesis that aro signs, but sometimes the reaction that a sign provokes is an emotion or an action. (Beuchot & Deely 1995: 565)
And this is why I believe semiotics to be helpful in the study of nonverbal communication - it can enlighten the reactions a bodily behaviour (as a representamen) calls forth in a person: it can make you feel something (affective communication), activate muscles in a twitch or an elaborate movement (mimicry and synergy, communization), or call forth a concept in the mind (interpretation, concourse).

Kalaga, Wojciechi 1986. The Concept of Interpretant in Literary Semiotics. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 22(1): 43-59.

Generally speaking, such a contribution may be twofold. On the one hand, the theory of interpretants may help in analysing the actual process of literary perception and the psychosomatic effects that a work of art has on the reader's mind and emotions. On the other hand, the theory may give a better insight into the potential sign relations without any reference to the actual act of apprehension. The former contribution will concern psychology, or more specifically, the psychology of perception; the latter will be of interest to literary theory and will thus be the focus of our attention here. (Kalaga 1986: 43)
Too bad. I suspect that my concursive project has more to do with the "psychosomatic" area.
Certainly, the worst kind of deformation is an identification of the interpreter with the interpretant, which simply amounts to reducing Peirce's cosmogony to a behavioristic stimulus-response relation between a sign and its user. The consequence of such an appreach have been indicated by Dewey in his attempt to "rescue Peirce's theory ... before an Ersatz takes place of what Peirce actually held" (1946: 85). (Kalaga 1986: 44)
Curiously, while finishing reading the last article, a related thought popped into my mind: that Charles Morris's behaviour semiotics, which most likely derived its stimulus-response jargon from Mead's social behaviourism, actually seemed to reduce the interpretant to the energetic variety.
To Peirce, "a sign is not a sign unless it translates itself into another sign in which it is more fully developed" (CP, 5.594), and the sign into which the first sign translates is its interpretant: "In consequence of every sign determining an Interpretant which is itself a sign, we have sign overlaying sign" (CP, 2.93; cf. also, for example, 2.92, 2.228, 2.274, 2.303, 4.132). (Kalaga 1986: 47)
The bold part sparked a naive interpretation in my mind: that signs "grow" in the sense that random associations (inferences) solidify and crystallize more and more every time it is actualized in the mind. For example, when interpreting body languag, a certain gesture may be assigned a general impression, which next time either gets reinforced and develops into an automatic habit to interpret this specific in this specific sense. That is, until either it is improved by further information: you happen to read about this gesture or discuss this gesture with someone, and an alternative explanation (meaning) is suggested or yet again verified. In this way you come to believe more firmly that your interpretation is correct, even if in actuality the gesture may be a random movement and there is no "real" meaning, or not in the conventional sense (it might be related to physiology, as some gestures - like scratching one's neck or covering one's forehead - are).
Intersemiotic translation or transmutation is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of nonverbal sign systems. (Jakobson 1971c: 261)
From: "On Linguistic Aspects of Translation" - which I actually have on file and should desperately read, to improve concursivity with intersemiotic translation. I haven't done it thus far because I'm not sure that "translation" from one sign system to another is the correct formulation, because it would be to assume that all bodily behaviour that can be described with language, is always already a sign and part of some system (as assumption which seems dubious to say the least).
The intralingual translatability - the only type relevant for literary semiosis... (Kalaga 1986: 48)
Now this is where I disagree, although my disagreement depends on what the author means by "literary semiosis." As far as I know, literary semiosis involves - to some degree at least - all of these translations.

Atkin, Albert 2005. Peirce on the Index and Indexical Reference. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 41(1): 161-188.

Throughout his work, Peirce makes repeated attempts to identify the principal features of the index. The following five claims summarize the most important of these:
  1. Indices use some physical contiguity with their object to direct attention to that object.
  2. Indices have their characteristics independently of interpretation.
  3. Indices refer to individuals.
  4. Indices assert nothing.
  5. Indices do not resemble, nor do they share any law-like relation with, their object.
(Atkin 2005: 163-164)
May never know when this may become handy. I presume "physical contiguity" to be the most important characteristic for nonverbal communication: the body is a physical entity and whatever it does that draws our attention (for example, points with a finger) to an object (the thing or direction pointed at) are physically contingent (related?).
...the physical contiguity between a sign and its object, corresponds to the connection between an indexical sign and its object. For instance, smoke as a sign of fire is indexucal because the relationship between the sign and its object rests upon some physical connection, i.e., the fire causes the smoke. (Atkin 2005: 164)
Alas, contincent in the sense of "connected," and furthermore, connected causally. This does raise some questions, though, about the "physicality" of indexicals in, for example, semioses of symptomization. I.e., in what sense are symptoms connected to their causes (diseases) in the (complicated) case of mental disturbances, neuroses, cognitive disabilites, etc.? Does one need to enter the domain of neurochemistri in this case in order to prove the "physical connection" between... behavioural disturbances and neuropathologies? This topic is way too complex for me at this moment, but I may have to return to it in relation with NLD.
The notion og directing attention seems to imply that the interpreter's attention must focus directly upon tho object of the index. This, however, need not be the case. For instance, I can interpret smoke as a sign of fire from many miles away, i.e. with no focus or attention directed on the fire itself. Rather, in generating an interpretant sign, smoke as an index merely suggests the presence or existence of its object. In directing attention towards its object, the index does not generate or characterize the object for our understanding as it would if we were attending the characterization of the object itself. Instead, the interpretant of an index is just our understanding that the sign is standing for some object, nothing more. When we see smoke, it is only meant to direct our attention to the presence of fire, rather than to an understanding of the fire being, say, a forest blaze or a smoldering pile of car tires; this kind of understanding will come at some later point in a chain of interpretant signs that follows. (Atkin 2005: 164)
Ah, I juped too much ahead. Indexes suggest their object, it is up to more developed signs to make their significance known.
The second feature, that indexes have their characteristics independent of interpretation, is slightly less complicated than the first and concerns the reality of the index. We shall call this feature the independence feature. Peirce states that "an index [...] is a real thing or fact which is sign of its object [...] quite regardless of its being interpreted as a sign" (CP 4.447 (1903)), i.e. its existence is independent of our interpretive practices. As an example, think again of smoke as an index of fire. Whether I, or any person, is there to interpret the smoke as a sign of fire is wholly irrelevant to the connection between the sign and its object; that connection still exists whether I am there to note it or not. (Atkin 2005: 165)
If I recall correctly then this is the reason why indexes are also called existentials (although I'm not at all sure this is so). Presumably this is so because indexes have an independent existence from the semiosic activity of interpreters. Yet, one could jokingly ask: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to interpret it, is it an index?
The third feature, that indices refer to individuals, concerns the nature of the index and the kind of object for which it stands. Consequently, we shall call this feature the singularity feature. For Peirce, the object of an index must be an individual thing. For instance, the sky-track left by a jet plane is an index of that particular individua jet plane. So too with smoke and fire; a particular plume of smoke is an index of a particular fire. However, Peirce includes amongst the individual things that count as objects, "single collections of units or single continua" (CP 2,306 (1901)). This implies that ig a sign, on a particular occasion, is an index of many objects, the nature of the index-object relationship means that we treat the collection of objects as an individual. For instance, a news network's traffic helicopter hovering above a major road in an index of a single traffic jam, but not an index of each separate stationary car of the thousands trapped in gridlock, even though they go to make up the traffic jam. (Atkin 2005: 165)
This is a potential boon for indexicals in nonverba communication, because of the "cluster" or "kinemorphic construction" contingency. Perhaps gestalt-theory could help here?
The fourth feature, that indices assert nothing, is one that Peirce makes frejuent attempts to characterize. We shall call this feature the indicatory feature, for the reason that although Peirce says that indices assert nothing, a more positive version of this claim is that all indices show or indicate their objects rather than describe them. He says, for instance, that an index offers no description of its object (CP 1.369 (1885)), or that it has nothing to do with meanings (CP 4.56 (1893)). Generally, then, the fourth feature concerns the semantic impact of indices. Common to all of Peirce's attempts to define this feature is the claim that indices show their object rather than describe it. For Peirce, an index is purely denotative; it refers to its objects without describing that object. (Atkin 2005: 165)
The difference between indication and description gets lost for me in that, for example, the form and quantity of the smoke also describes/indicates something about the fire (it's direction and/or size). On the next page, it is stated that this is not important for the index.
The next propositional subject-index, from (CP 2.330 (1903)), is the sub-index. Chief exemplifiers of the sub-index are proper names, indexical expressions like "I", "he", "she", and demonstratives like "this" and "that". What marks the difference between the sub-index and the index proper is that the sub-index has a strong symbolic content. For instance, on one occasion Peirce also calls the sub-index a "Hypo-Seme" (CP 2.284 (1902)) in an attempt to suggest that this kind of sign is the indexical equivalent of the hypo-icon, a variant of the iconic sign. The hyo-icon is a sign that represents its object through resemblance or similarity, just as an ordinary icon does, but the resemblance rests largely upon convention. For instance, the map of London's Underground train system represents its object iconically, the direction in which the lines run and the arrangement of stations upon them is the same on the map as it is in the London Subway. However, these "similarities" are actually agreed upon by convention and function iconically in virtue of a strong symbolic component; Regent's Park and Oxford Circus do both lie upon the Bakerloo line but they are more than a few centimeters apart. So, just as the hypo-icon is an iconic symbol, its indexical cousin, the sub-index is an indexical symbol. (Atkin 2005: 171)
Fascinating. In this sense proper names, for example, do indicate or call attention to specific real-life persons, but do so only because they are linked to these persons by way of convention.
The soucre that I treat as central to understanding the distiction [of genuine and degenerate indices] comes from Peirce's 1903 Harvard Lecturres. It gives a clear statement of the distinction and uses the most usefol and suggestive terminology; it is worth quating at length:
It is desirable that you should understand the distinction between Genuine and the Degenerate index. The Genuine index represents the duality between the representamen and its object. As a whole it stands for the object; but a part or element of it represents [it] as being a representamen, by being an icon or analogue of the object in some way; and by virtue of that duality, it conveys information about the object. [...] Such is the genuine or informational index.
A Degenerate index is a representamen which represents a single object because it is factually connected with it, but which conveys no information whatever. [...] A degenerate index may be called a Monstrative Index, in contradistinction to an Informational or Genuine Index. (EP II Ch 12, The Categories Defended, pp. 171-172)
This passage is crucial to the account that I develop here and I shall therefore retain the terminology it introduces to mark the distinction between two kinds of index: genuine and degenerate. (Atkin 2005: 178)
At first glance the distinction seems to be between indexes that a genuine index is like the smoke and footprint that besides simply existing and indicating the existiance of something also describe it - the size of the smoke and the footprint give information about the size of the fire and foot that made it. Following this line of thought I am unable to speculate what a degenerate indeb could be.
The second reading takes the genuine/degenerate distinction to be between non-verbal and verbal indices. This reading comes from Goudon's non-causal approaches where he suggests that the distinction between genuine and degenerate indices is only pertinent "when [Peirce] takes account of linguistic expressions which function as signs" (Goude: 1965, p. 55). Goude later describes "non-verbal signs like a pointing finger or wheathercock", as "genuine" or "pure" indices (Goude: 1965, .p 65). This suggests that he sees non-verbal cases as genuine indices. Clearly, Goude is not proposing a causal/referential distinction here since his inclusion of a "pointing finger" within the class of genuine indices includes a non-causal sign. Rather, his reading is to take non-verbal indices as genuine and nonverbal indices as degenerate. (Atkin 2005: 180)
I like this perspective, although current author seems to imply that it is flawed.
There are problems with these standard readings of Peirce's distinction. Starting with the non-verbal/verbal reading of the distinction, there is a clear example from Peirce's work of a non-verbal degenerate index. Peirce describes Horatio Greenough's Bunker Hill Monument as a degenerate index (CP 5.75 (1903)). This is not a linguistic or verbal index. Also, Goudon lists the "pointing finger" as a genuine index because it is non-verbal (Goudon: 1965, p. 65). However, in the same passage as his Bunker Hill Monument example, Peirce clearly states, "a pointing finger is a degenerate index" (loc. cit.). Because of these cases, the non-verbal/verbal interpretation of Peirce's distinction is wrong. (Atkin 2005: 179)
Okay.jpg But, "loc. cit." might be an equivalent of "ibid." - check that out.
One final consideration against reading of the genuine index as causal is this: Peirce never explicitly uses the term "causal index". There is, of course, common reference to physical connection in terms of existential or real relations but it is not clear that this means the connection is causal. Liszka treats "causal" and "existential" as interchangeable (Liszka: 1996, p. 38); Goudge thinks expressions like "'a real connection' and 'anexistential relation' [...] have no causal overtones" (Goudge: 1965, p. 55). This causal reading then is problematic enugh to suggest that an alternative reading might be preferable. (Atkin 2005: 181)
Useful piece of information.
A degenerate index, on the other hand, lacks iconic involvement or a qualitative connection with its object. A pointing finger, for example, stands as an index of the thing it points to; however, the two share no qualities. My finger, yointing to its object, and that object, a man lurking suspiciously on the street corner say, share no appropriate qualities. By attending to the finger, you can glean no information about its object, a local criminal. This is because my finger only indicates its object and has no appropriate qualities in common with it. Of course, my finger and the suspicious man are both made of flesh and bone, both have blood runninng through them and, if the man and I are both unlucky, the index and object are both sore and stiff with arthritis and so, arguably, my finger and the object to which it points do have some qualitative commonalities. However, these are not the right kind of qualitative commonality to count as iconic involvement. (Atkin 2005: 182)
I suspict this passage could be the key for using indexicality (especially the informational aspect of it) in the study of nonverbal interaction, at least in the minimal sense of "accidental pointings" not only with the index finger, but with palms, legs, eyes, face and body in general.

Portch, Stephen R. 1982. Writing Without Words: A Nonverbal Approach to Reading Fiction. The Journal of General Education 34(1): 84-101.

He [Henry James] refers to the importance of fiction attempting "to represent life" in all its shades and to reaching beyond the artificial boundaries of character, plot, and description; the writer must have "the power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern." And the pattern of life for James included the nonverbal: "It is an incident for a woman to stand up with her hand resting on a table and look at you in a certain way. ... At the same time it is an expression of character." (Portch 1982: 84)
"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies." (Bradbury 1953: 74)
Further, [T.S.] Eliot touches on another aspect of the effectiveness of the nonverbal emphasized by later nonverbalists: its ability to stimulate a sensory response. In real life, the nonverbal seems to have thepotential to by-pass thought routes. (Portch 1982: 85)
That's "the power of the nonverbal." Although diminished in mediated (concursive) form, it can still influence the reader in ways that are difficult to analyze consciously. Categorize this under the subject of affect-attentiveness.
Certain authors make considerable use of the nonverbal to contradict the verbal. J.D. Salinger, for example, seems particularly conscious of this technique. (Portch 1982: 86)
Following this line of thought, one could devise a list of techniques which stem from the superficial relationships of verbal and nonverbal communication (contradict, complement, etc. stemming from Randall P. Harrison - he is even mentioned a few pages below).
Perhaps the most eloquent but barest definition cames from Edward Sapir: nonverbal communication is "an elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all." Almost every other author on the nonverbal attempts a definition, too, but without any clear consensus. (Portch 1982: 87)
I don't seem to recall ever attempting my own definition. It would be pointless, as there is simply too much to include and no short definition could do it justice. Even Sapir's eloquent thought has its shortcomings: nonverbal communication is known by ever more people, partly due to Peaseism, which has constructed a "body language" code and written it with illustrations under the title of "The Definitife Book of Body Language" which I consider definitive only of the Peases's nonsense.
She could not utter a sentence for giving a tincle of value to some innocent word. It may have been the voice of a woman you would not trust for an instant, but did not know if I could forget it.
He couldn't. Not after he murdered her. Rojack touches his wife with death: he pushes her out of the window. (Portch 1982: 93)
That is a weird construction, somewhat similar to "Tom frowned his displeasure." This is because it is an [üleminek]. The next paragraph begins with: "Touch, however, can communicate in less deadly ways." and goes on to discuss haptics and Montagu. Makes me recall a sting by an anthropologist: "Literary critics have a tendency to be ponderous, obscure, and intellectually pretentious, in counterpoint to the textured beauty of the texts they seek to illuminate..." (Keesing 1974: 78; footnote 5). This seems to hold true.
Of all the nonverbal codes, touch as a communication code seems the least understood. (Portch 1982: 93)
I still think it should be "channel" or even "modality" instead of code, but whatchagonnado. Touch might be so complex because it is an instrumental and physiological activity. That is, it could be understood better if one were to look inside the physical makings of human bodies and made sense of nerve-functioning and the neurochemistry of touching.
Just as torritorial rights can be violated, so can personal space rights. As W.H. Auden warns:
Some thirty inches from my nose
The frontier of my Person goes
And all the untilled air between
Is private pagus or demesne
Stranger, unless with bedroom eyes
I beckon you to fraternize,
beware of rudely crossing it:
I have no gun, but I can spit.
His individual comic-poetic hostility reflects a documented truth. (Portch 1982: 95)
Quoting topical poetry? You went all out, Stephen! The first two lines should be memorized, and "the frontier of my person" can be theorized.
Because of the close attention to the text that such an approach demands, the short story proves to be the most suitable genre. An awareness of the nonverbal certainly enriches reading a novel or watching a play. But cataloguing each nonverbal event would be a mammoth task; and the resulting information would often be befond synthesis. Further, the shortstory writer perhaps needs the nonverbal more than the novelist or playwright. Brevity requires that characters be created and captured through essential characteristics, which include the nonverbal. (Portch 1982: 98)
I undertook this mammoth task for three novels, and I haven't even finished the last one. I have to applaud Portch for his insight - my data at this point really does seem to be "beyond synthesis" and the sheer quantity of theorizing neccessary to do justice to what I have collected demands me to breach all reasonable space limitations.
Sometimes authors themselves leave nothing to chance and explicitly interpret the nonverbal. [...] But more often, authors create the nonverbal inconspicuously as part of the overall intricate design of detail - a blueprint too important to be examined only in its parts, too important to continue virtually unnoticed. (Portch 1982: 99)

Bassett, John E. 1986. Literature's Silent Language: Nonverbal Communication. by Stephen R. Porth. American Literature 58(2): 297-299.

Stephen Porth's study of nonverbal communication is based on his dissertation at Penn State directed by Robert Hudspeth. A native of England now in administration at Wisconsin-Wausau, Porth sets out to give proper attention to those parts of a literary work that are not strictly verbal - that is, are not dialogue - and thah do not involve actions of characters. (Bassett 1986: 297)
Ah, yet again we meet an undefined (or unrigorous) distinction between "action" and "behaviour". I may be the one who is in error here, but from my perspective there are "nonverbal actions" just like there is "verbal behaviour" - these are "borderline" cases, but nevertheless exist. Especially in terms of concursivity, I imagine not only strictly bodily behaviour but also "actions," "activities," "doings," etc. to be equally enlightening. That is, the actions of the characters - whatever they may be - should be included.
Several faulty assumptions prevent Portch from asking the kinds of questions that might have made a study on this topic more significant. First of all, it is doubtful whether one can talk about nonverbal elements in fiction at all. Every element in a story is verbal: the gestures, actions, and dialogue are equally mediated through words on the page, and all have comparable status in a text. Ther are good scholars, even rather traditional ones such as David Bevington, now studying this kind of thing in drama, where staging and gestures by actors are crucial nonverbal elements in performance. Even so, the more exciting work in that area of drama is emerging grom such semiotic studies as those in a recent special issue of Poetics Today. When, however, it comes to a form such as prose fiction that is not performed by persons distinct from the author, it makes less sense to emphasize such distinctions. (Bassett 1986: 298)
Neat! This very same criticism may befall my own work. It is important to notice that concursivity involves a referential domain that is nonverbal. In this sense it falls in line with studies of silence in literature (e.g. Cheung 1993) or hand gestures in literature (Burrow 2002) or {insert whatever} in literature. Although the PT hint is useful, it is relevant to keep in mind that drama is a limited field; consider the small number of pieces that make it to the stage versus the whole universe of literature! Not to mention the "ulterior motives" of concursive study (to map the dicibilia or what can be said about nonverbal communicaton).
Portch would seem to feel that he is onto something semiotic, but unfortunately he directs us back to a rather old-fashioned approach to such things as setting, clothing, and gesturres as patterns of imagery or symbolism to develop theme. Despite occasional references to a Fernando Poyatos or Erving Goffman, he eschews functional usage of theory and relies on thematics and traditional formalistic interpretation of his stories, which have already been so much discussed that he is hard put to say anything original about them. His explications are sensible and carefully argued, but frequently involve little more than adjudicating between earlier critics on the grounds of a few gestures by characters. (Bassett 1986: 298)
This can be shortened to "No throughline!" and I shall take it as a reminder to tie my own concursive analysis with the new and exciting semiotic theorizing in my first two chapters. I disagree with this reviewer here in one aspect, though: Portch did say something original with his work. His was the first major published piece on this subject. He paved the road.
It is disturbing, in fact, to find so little use made of recent work in American literary scholarship. Porth's citations are invariably to studies from the 1950s, 1960s, or early 1970s. (Bassett 1986: 198)
I have a hard time understanding what's so disturbing about this. These were the decades of the most fruitful and influential work in nonverbal communication. In my own work, because my citations are also invariably from the mid-20th century, I'll just hide behind the shield of "archaism" or "historicity".
More generally, however, the book's weaknesses lie in its assumptions and methodology. It is not always clear whether Portch thinks he is analyzing gestures, regulators, and vocal tones as signs between characters or as signs between author and reader. (Bassett 1986: 298)
Not this again! Surely this is the iron prod of every reviewer when it comes to anything even remotely related to literature. The author is dead and all that hoopla. I'll take this as a reminder to reinforce my own work with a steady dose of Lotmanian communication models (author/reader, reader/culture, reader/reader, reader/text, text/culture; cf. Lotman 1990: 276–277).
Portch's study will be of help, perhaps, to teachers of these six stories, who will be reminded of a number of consciously crafted patterns that give them tightness, coherence, and suggestiveness. It will be of little use, however, to those studying the short story as a form, to those exploring models of signification in fiction, or those in American literature working on Hawthorne, Hemingway, or O'Connor. They would all find Literature's Silent Language: Nonverbal Communication some twenty years out of date. (Bassett 1986: 299)
Hmm. As a semiotician reading Portch's book 25 years after it's publication I found it to be quite helpful: not only immersed in classical studies every student of nonverbal communication is familiar with, but also positively inspirational and instructional.
  • "...the human acrobat brachiates above ground..."
    Verb (of certain apes) Move by using the arms to swing from branch to branch: "the gibbons brachiate energetically".
  • "...then we chortle when bediapered chimps waddle..."
    chorcle: Laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; chuckle. / bediaper: To put a diaper on (someone).
  • "...took it over from the deseutude into which it had fallen..."
    A state of disuse: "the docks fell into desuetude".
  • "...Morris, Hjelmslev, Barthes, and their numerous epigones on the holistic force of semiotics..."
    A less distinguished follower or imitator, esp. of an artist or philosopher.
  • "...this neoteric quality is itself a sign..."
    Adjective: Recent; new; modern. /Noun: A modern person; a person who advocates new ideas.
  • "...Peirce also followed Locke in accepting as a synonym or ampliation for the name "semiotic"..."
    Ampliative (from Lat. ampliare, "to enlarge"), a term used mainly in logic, meaning "extending" or "adding to...
  • "...his judgments are peremptory and slashing..."
    1. (esp. of a person's manner or actions) Insisting on immediate attention or obedience, esp. in a brusquely imperious way. / 2. Not open to appeal or challenge; final.
  • "...modern logicians as a class have been distinctly puerile minds..."
    Childishly silly and trivial.
  • "...An author as perspicuous as Luigi Romeo..."
    1. (of an account or representation) Clearly expressed and easily understood; lucid. / 2. (of a person) Able to give an account or express an idea clearly.
  • "...given his frequent diatribe against psychologism..."
    Childishly silly and trivial.
  • "...a sop paid to Cerberus..."
    Noun: A thing given or done as a concession of no great value to appease someone whose main concerns or demands are not being met. / Verb: Soak up liquid using an absorbent substance.
  • "...scholars still deferto it..."
    1. Put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone. / 2. Submit humbly to (a person or a person's wishes or qualities): "he deferred to Tim's superior knowledge".
  • "...same horses are shod..."
    1. Fit (a horse) with a shoe or shoes. / 2. (of a person) Be wearing shoes of a specified kind: "his large feet were shod in sneakers".
  • "...is not as heterodox as it may first seem..."
    Not conforming with accepted or orthodox standards or beliefs.
  • "...a cemmitment in the bugler's sounding reveille..."
    bugler: someone who plays a bugle (a brass instrument). / reveille: A signal sounded esp. on a bugle or drum to wake personnel in the armed forces.
  • "...become more interesting, lesssalacious..."
    1. (of writing, pictures, or talk) Treating sexual matters in an indecent way. / 2. Lustful; lecherous: "his salacious grin faltered".
  • "...manipulating his oak cudgel..."
    A short thick stick used as a weapon.
  • "...a red carnation in his buttonhole..."
    1. A double-flowered cultivated variety of clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus) with gray-green leaves and showy pink, white, or red flowers. / 2. A rosy pink color.
  • "...of the contrite spirit befitting a boy under the ban of suspension..."
    Feeling or expressing remorse or penitence; affected by guilt.
  • "...private pagus or demesne..."
    pagus: In the later Western Roman Empire, following the reorganization of Diocletian, a pagus (compare French pays, Spanish pago, "a region, terroir") became the smallest administrative district of a province. / demesne: 1. Land attached to a manor and retained for the owner's own use. / 2. Possession of real property in one's own right.
  • "...Dunbar loved shooting skeet..."
    A shooting sport in which a clay target is thrown from a trap to simulate the flight of a bird.
  • "...wounded with tragedy, crevassed with joy..."
    1. A deep open crack, esp. one in a glacier. / 2. A breach in the embankment of a river or canal.
  • "...who so scrupulously pares his language of adverbs and adjectives..."
    1. Trim (something) by cutting away its outer edges. / 2. Cut off the outer skin of (something).

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