“Reading a novel after reading semiotic theory was like jogging empty-handed after jogging with hand weights. Once released from Semiotics 211, Madeleine fled to the Rockefeller Library, down to B Level, where the stacks exuded a vivifying smell of mold, and grabbed something, anything—“The House of Mirth,” “Daniel Deronda”—to restore herself to sanity. How wonderful it was when one sentence followed logically from the sentence before! What exquisite guilt she felt, wickedly enjoying narrative! Madeleine felt safe with a nineteenth-century novel. There were going to be people in it. Something was going to happen to them in a place resembling the world.
But then, in Week Five, for reasons that were entirely extracurricular, semiotics began making sense.”
– Jeffrey Eugenides, “Extreme Solitude”