The reason Deledalle might not be more widely known and read outside of France is
simple: most of his books were written in French, and have remained untranslated. We are
indebted to Susan Petrilli for the English version of the short, but elegant and penetrating,
intellectual biography Charles S. Peirce, 1839-1914 : An intellectual biography. Deledalle’s
other English contributions, to Semiotica and international meetings, such as IASS
congresses (Deledalle: 1992), have remained dispersed and not always readily accessible.
The recent publication of an anthology of Deledalle’s papers, Charles S. Peirce’s
Philosophy of Signs, provides a necessary and helpful catch-up and introduction for English
readers of Deledalle’s life-long work. Seventeen papers are included, previously published
in whole or part between 1964-1999. This is “a collection of papers written over fifty years”
(vii). Any problem of translation of the thirteen articles first published in French, and
included in whole or part, has been overcome by the author, who has undertaken virtually
all translations, including Latin, Greek and German quotations.
The papers are not ordered chronologically, but organized into four distinct,
thematic parts: Semiotic as Philosophy, Semeiotic as Semiotics, Comparative Semiotics and
Comparative Metaphysics. The largest part is Comparative Semiotics, which uses the
exegetical strategy of comparing Peirce, indirectly or in terms of his direct reception, with a
number of prominent philosophers such as Wittgenstein, De Saussure, Jakobson, and
A leading question can immediately, if somewhat rhetorically, be asked: what are we
to make of this publication? By this, I mean, is it fundamentally a re-issue, of retrospective
worth and interest for a history of ideas, or an anthology of one scholar’s lifetime work?
Does this retrospective publication and translation add anything to the field of contemporary
Peircean studies? My response to the last question is affirmative: there appear to be
several distinct approaches present in the book, towards pragmatism, semiotics,
philosophy, metaphysics, and biography, all of which deserve ongoing attention by
Peircean scholars. What is distinct in its content might be explained in part by the book’s
The French context suggests a dialectic with other semiotic and philosophical traditions,
which led, at least indirectly, to a focus on pragmatic themes that remain as pertinent
as ever. The sectional presentation and introduction of the book implies that the selection
of papers in this anthology is not merely one of editorial or bibliographical convenience.
Rather, it is an aspect of an argument and a contemporary approach to Peirce that
seeks a response by a wider, international audience.