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This book, dictated by the world-known cultural semiotician Yuri Lotman at the end of his life, is in fact the last volume of Lotman’s opus magnum (along with his other fundamental works ‘Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture’ and ‘Culture and Explosion’).
The author analyses the global rules of history, the meaning of explosion and unpredictability in culture as well as art as a workshop of unpredictability. The book features a vast variety of new culturological ideas explained with plain and simple language distinguishing for all other Lotman´s writings. First and foremost, Lotman´s interest lies in the ways of development of culture. Among processes of cultural evolution Lotman distinguishes the three general types: the cyclical processes, which regularly return to the same start point, the linear processes, and finally, the explosive processes, which only might be attributed as unpredictable and as such represent the most interest to the culturological science.
The legendary semiotician didn't see this work published. It was put together and edited by his disciples, and for a long time remained unknown to the reader.
The book also contains extensive commentaries authored by Yuri Lotman’s long-time friends and colleagues: a prominent Russian philologist and Indo-Europeanist Vyacheslav Ivanov, writer and semiotician Boris Egorov, and Boris Uspensky.