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Vol. 2 No. 2 (2022): Borders, liminalities and edges of the experience. Advances in understanding human dynamic development

Tricksters, outcasts, in-betweenness, and boundary-crossing. A cultural semiotic reading of Frederick Douglass’ Narrative

December 16, 2022


The notion of the boundary was a key aspect in Lotman’s model of semiosphere and a heuristic concept to make sense of dynamicity and change in socio-cultural systems, working as bilingual filters of translation. This paper seeks to shed light on the idea of crossing cultural boundaries by drawing a parallel between the mythological figure of the trickster and that of the alien or the outcast (izgoj), as discussed by Juri Lotman and Boris Uspenskij. The present study proposes a reading of F. Douglass’ Narrative from the standpoint of the semiotics of culture, by an interpretation of Douglass as a boundary figure and as a cultural translator between two worlds.