OBITUARY: Professor Per Aage Brandt

Monday, November 15, 2021 - 11:55

It is with great regret that CECC announces the death of Professor Per Aage Brandt, a member of this Center's Advisory Board since 2015.

Born in Buenos Aires, Per Aage Brandt studied Romance Philology and obtained a PhD in Semiotics from the Sorbonne University. He was Director of the Center for Semiotics, Aarhus University, Denmark, and Professor in the Department of Cognitive Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, US. Per Aage Brandt leaves a vast oeuvre in cognitive semiotics, poetics, linguistics and philosophy, of which the most recent were The Music of Meaning (2019) and Cognitive Semiotics: Signs, Mind and Meaning (2020).

In addition to being a researcher and lecturer, Per Aage Brandt was also a poet, with several collections published in Danish and French, and some available in English translation, such as These Hands and If I Were a Suicide Bomber.

Brandt was also a translator of,  among others, Molière, the Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille, and more recently, of the poetry of Prince Henrik of Denmark. In recognition of his work mediating between Danish and French culture, he was awarded the Grand Prix de Philosophie de l'Académie Française and the title of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, by the French Ministry of Culture. 

He was also an active jazz pianist with a distinguished discography, namely his album in collaboration with Kaster Vogel, Cry! (2016).

Per Aage Brandt visited CECC for the first time in May 2009 as a guest speaker at the symposium Cognition and Culture. Since then, he was a regular presence at conferences, open seminars and publications by the Center and FCH, among which the 2019 Summer School, on Neurohumanities.

Throughout his life, Per Aage Brandt devoted himself to understanding how we create and share signs and how meaning emerges in semiotic interaction, language, aesthetics and music. As a teacher and mentor, he left a lasting mark on several generations of students and researchers around the world, whom he inspired with restless curiosity and singular generosity, which will assuredly outlast his disappearance.