SUBJECTIVITY, IDEOLOGY AND THE FEMININE IN JOHN DONNE'S POETRY
This paper will explore some of the directions that a semiotically based theory of ideology might need to pursue. The theory in the paper comes from many sources, but is based primarily on the notion of language as social semiotic (Halliday 1978), seeing language as actively symbolising the social system, its pattern of variation representing metaphorically the variation that characterises human cultures. A systemic-functional analysis of the lexica-grammar of a group of poems on apparently diverse themes from John Donne's poetry reveals that a remarkably narrow set of choices in meaning is actually made. There are certain regularities in the situation types (the semiotic construct of context) which the poems enact/encore and these seem to impose limitations on the register or kinds of choices in meaning that can be made. Intertextually, the choices tend to be recurrent, both in grammar, and across the semantic fields spanned by the lexis.