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The dumb fish that spoke


An offer from Julien Greimas
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Na, o čia buvo toks naujas atvejis, į kurį valdžia net nelabai žinojo kaip reaguoti. Na, ir aš čia susitikau, tarp kitko, su žinomu lietuvių mokslininku, kuris kartu buvo ir prancūzų mokslininkas – Algirdas Julius Greimas. Kas Prancūzijoje gyvena, tikriausiai yra apie jį girdėję. Jis buvo semiotikas, kaip ir Lotmanas, jis su Lotmanu bendradarbiavo, nors ir gyveno skirtingose šalyse, skirtingose sistemose. Lietuvis emigrantas, kuris užėmė labai žymų, žymią vietą prancūzų moksle, kartu su Levi-Strosu, su Roland Barthes, su Michel Foucault, buvo vienas iš tais laikais beveik geriausiai žinomų prancūzų kultūrologų, filologų, filosofų pavardžių. Aš čia jį irgi susitikau, atsimenu susitikau prie metro Odéon, visiškai netoli nuo vietos kur dabar esu. Jisai man pasiūlė likti Prancūzijoje ir dirbti mokslinį darbą jo priežiūroje, jo, taip sakant, vadovaujamam. Bet aš atsisakiau dėl dviejų priežasčių: pirmoji buvo, kad aš beveik nemokėjau prancūzų kalbos, jos būtų reikėję ilgokai mokytis kol aš pajėgčiau dirbti normalų mokslinį darbą, dabar moku kiek geriau, bet tada dar beveik visai nemokėjau. Ir antra priežastis, kad Greimo semiotika man nebuvo labai artima, man artimesnė buvo Lotmano semiotika, o jinai Prancūzijoje plėtojama nebuvo, ji buvo plėtojama tik Estijoje.

Well, this was a new thing; the authorities didn’t really know how to react to it. Well, I met here, amongst others, a well know Lithuanian scholar, who was also a French scholar – Algirdas Julien Greimas. Anyone who lives in France has probably heard about him. He was an expert in semiotics, like [Yury] Lotman, he associated with Lotman, even though they lived in different countries, under different systems. He was a Lithuanian émigré who occupied a very prominent... prominent place in French studies together with [Claude] Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault – he was at that time one of the best known French specialists in culture, philology and philosophy. I also met him… I remember meeting him at the Metro Odéon station, quite near to where I am now. He suggested I stay in France and work under his supervision, that is to say, under him. But I declined for two reasons. The first was that I hardly knew any French – I would have had to have studied it for a long time before I would have been able to have done any normal academic work, I know it better now, but I hardly knew any then. And the second reason was that I didn’t feel any great affinity with Greimas’ semiotics, I felt more with Lotman’s semiotics, and it wasn’t being developed in France, only in Estonia.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: France, Algirdas Julien Greimas, Yury Lotman, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault

Duration: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012