Michel Serres’ Great Story: From Biosemiotics to Econarratology


From the five volumes of his Hermès series (1968–1980) and through to The Natural Contract in 1990, Michel Serres has rooted the origins of human language firmly in the rhythms and calls of the natural world.1 To date, the Anglophone reception of this complex and varied oeuvre has been slender to the point of emaciation, but one area where he has received some small fraction of the attention he deserves is in his elaboration of a theory of semiotic meaning in dialogue with information theory and fluid dynamics.2 Since 2001, however, Serres has been expanding his account of biosemiotics3 with four key texts (2001, 2005, 2007, 2009) that move into the area of narratology, developing a new non-anthropocentric humanism in terms of what he calls the ‘Great Story’ (Grand Récit) of the universe.

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