Ana Laguna Martínez

Panel 1A: Literary Transcodifications/1
Session 1 – July 1, 11:00 – 13:00

 Brecht’s Kriegsfiebel: a Semiotic Study 

 Photo-epigrams can be defined as a montage by a press or documentary picture and a quatrain, that compound Bertolt Brecht’s work Kriegsfiebel (1955). The imagetext pattern of photo-epigrams cannot be reduced to a dual image-text relationship due to the multiplicity of paratext in the book and points of view in the poems. As imagetexts maintain different spatial relationships, image-text relationships are not reduced to photographs and poems. 

This is a proposal for analysing Kriegsfiebel from Umberto Eco’s semiotic methodology. In the same years Roland Barthes spoked about the third message in photography – a pure denotative and indexical message – Umberto Eco overcame that essentialist consideration with an exhaustive classification of sign-functions. Acording to Eco, photography is an projection that also needs cultural knowledge to be interpreted. 

On the other hand, Eco’s semiotics allows to considerer photographs as metaphors, in the way Eco defines them with a cognitive value, following Aristotle. As well, the encyclopedic construction of reality makes his perspective specially suitable for studing intermedial works. Words and images are then interpretants in the encyclopedic world of the Kriegsfiebel, which struggles into contradictions against ideological reductions. As photo-epigrams show, understanding reality consists in the recognition of the true consequent. 

This proposal’s aims are: 

  • Analysing Kriegsfiebel with Umberto Eco’s semiotics as an enciclopedic construction of reality. 
  • Using Eco’s semiotics for a fictional work, as the narrative made by poems and images has a fictional dimension, too. 
  • Using Eco’s semiotics as a proposal for a semiotic of History, as Kriegsfiebel’s aim is documentary, as well. 
  • Putting forward Eco’s semiotics as a suitable methodology for studing intermedial wordimage works, instead of essentialist perspectives like Barthes’ one. 


I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Hispanic Philology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature, both by the University of Granada (Spain). I am currently a PhD student and I have a Predoctoral Contract (FPU) of Training Programme for Research Staff, at the University of Granada. The subject of my PhD is the relationships between literature and photography in intermedial works. As part of my PhD, I have been studying at Durham University (United Kingdom) as a Visiting Research Studying, about the imagetext works of the German authors John Heartfield, Bertolt Brecht, and W.G. Sebald.