Semiotics is a relatively new field of academic study; old-fashioned scholars such as Julian and Henry would be particularly galled to learn that Classics was being phased out in favour of this. Semiotics, or Semiology, involves the study of signs in terms of culture, linguistics, literature and communication. It came to prominence in the twentieth century, after philosophers such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Louis Hjelmslev, Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco developed the field.
Fundamentally, Semiotics is concerned with the relationship between a particular thing, the word or picture that has come to represent it, and the people who communicate between themselves the idea of this particular thing using the word or picture. For example, it questions the seemingly arbitrary relationship between the word 'tree' and the real trees it can represent.
Salman Rushdie (1947-) is a British-Indian writer. His novels include Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses, the publication of which earned him great notoriety. Muslim Extremists objected to the novel's apparent blasphemy, particularly in a dream sequence which retells the story of Mohammed's life, and in a later dream sequence which portrays a fanatical religious leader called the 'imam' which many took as a criticism of the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini.
As a result of these perceived insults, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious opinion, in 1989, which called for Rushdie's death. Rushdie was forced into hiding, and the book caused a diplomatic crisis between the United Kingdom and Iran.
Donna Tartt cites Treasure Island as a key influence on her second novel, The Little Friend.