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Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Dr. Jeanne Iris
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:


I have demonstrated or will demonstrate the application of this theory at the following locations:
November, 2016 @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy:
"A Terrible Beauty is Born"...The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism and William Butler Yeats' poem, Easter 1916
April, 2016 @ University of Notre Dame:
A 'Daughter of Attila' Speaks: The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism in the Cultural Identity of Irish Celts and Magyars
Dates pending: I will present the theory of iconic realism at universities and art institutes which have purchased my book.

11 January, 2009

Definition of the Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism

by Jeanne I. Lakatos (aka 'Siobhan an Hun')

Realism comprises authentic and independent aspects of the natural world, which individuals comprehend through sensory perception. The term icon describes a realistic person or realistic object, categorically perceived by a population as representative of a specific human activity or an object that bears significance to human activity. Iconic realism, then, involves the placement of an icon within the midst of a unique realistic setting, out of place for this particular icon, creating a static coalescence of the icon with the designated realism. Since both the icon and the realistic setting represent an aspect of the culture, the resulting friction between these two entities is the catalyst that generates enlightenment of a cultural dilemma.

An example of iconic realism would be an artist’s placement of Jesus the Christ or a representation of this icon of Western philosophy, in the midst of the Iraq War, 2009, an aspect of the real world. This individual in this setting would generate enlightenment of the cultural dilemma, stirring a new consciousness of political and philosophical intentions of United States’ Judeo-Christian philosophy and the activity within the designated, realistic Middle East during this particular time in history and locale. 


  1. Thank you for the definition...I had to read it a few time to get my brain cells awake...and awake they are!!! So my question is to do with nature...where does this fit in...lets say the soldiers in Iraq; constantly on guard; minds are trained for enemy sleep...unfamiliar surroundings/home/family...does the stress of living within that particular realism cause the icon to become more realistic, as in 3D image, or is it due to being under so much stress that hallucinations have set in? Does this make sense?

  2. Hi Maura,

    Well, thank goodness for your awakened brain cells!

    Hallucinations are a part of many PTSS patients' experiences, stemming from their military service. Their human nature is to endure the fatigue, stress and boredom of a war experience. Yes, even on the battlefield, soldiers may have these kinds of hallucinations. Therefore, any hallucinations or other aspects of human nature represented within a wartime story line would definitely contribute to rounding out the soldier's reality. The reality of a battlefield is that the natural world continues to function: birds fly, flowers bloom, rain falls, amidst the bombs flying and humanity dealing with survival and death.

    To illustrate iconic realism then with this scenario, a writer would have the soldier represent some aspect of a culture far removed from the battlefield. This writer would juxtapose the iconic character containing real emotions and physical reactions with a reality not associated with him/her, which would bring the audience to a recognition of a cultural flaw and the need to reform.

    In other words, the battlefield and all of its experiences, is the reality. The soldier would have to be someone who normally would not be functioning in that reality.

    Thanks and keep those brain cells a cookin' there.

  3. The 'battlefield' could also be within a person's mind. For example, in the novel, _Fight Club_ by Chuck Palahniuk, the protagonist deals with his inner turmoil and through a fowl-mouthed, Christlike character, named Tyler, who not only defies cultural standards, he destroys them to prove his theory of corporate domination of societal consciousness. This novel is another example of iconic realism. Palahniuk places this iconic figure in the mind of a confused individual who lives in a very real world of superficialities. Through this psychological battle of inner transformation, Palahniuk brings the audience to a realization of the need for cultural reform.

  4. It's just a shame I'm still a student and can't devote more time and attention to this Jeanne, it really opens up a whole new revolutionary theory...someone sent me some flowers today and didn't sign the just said "I have you in the palm of my hand"...this is as close to iconic realism as I can get!!!

  5. And there you go! As you can see, this theory has multiple applications.

    We're all students, Maura, every one of us. Buìochas le Dia! (Thank God!)

    Now, what you have to figure out is what kind of cultural transformation does this flower-bearer have in mind...hmmm, could be fun!