Understanding Metaphor in Literature: An Empirical Approach (Studies in Language & Linguistics)

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9780582217157: Understanding Metaphor in Literature: An Empirical Approach (Studies in Language & Linguistics)

It is the aim of this study to present aspects of an empirical theory of metaphor in literary reception and to show how evidence can be collected from readers' processing of metaphor in literary texts, in order to evaluate how that processing relates to the function of metaphor in literature. The book is divided into three parts. Part One is called "Reader, Text, Context". It provides an account of the empirical study of understanding metaphor in literature by discussing present-day developments in psychology and linguistics (Chapter 1) and literary theory (Chapter 2). The author argues that metaphor processing is affected by the three factors of text, reader, and context, and that understanding metaphor in literature can be conceptualized as embodying one specific type of configuration of these factors. In Chapter 3 a first attempt is made at examining whether there is an observable and determinate relation between metaphor processing and literary reading by presenting two empirical studies on the relation between readers' experience of literariness and metaphors. Text, reader, and context variables were manipulated in order to investigate their effect on the experience of literariness through metaphors. Part Two is concerned with "Processes". Understanding metaphor in literature is not a unitary process, and a number of processing distinctions are proposed in the context of the psychology of reading in Chapter 4. These distinctions are further developed by means of a series of pilot studies in thinking out loud about literary texts, which are presented in Chapter 5. This in turn leads on to a comparative study of the incidence of various kinds of metaphor processing in literary and journalistic reception in Chapter 6. In Part Three, called "Properties",he turns to the role of differences between metaphors. Chapter 7 presents a theoretical framework for the conceptualization and measurement of differences between metaphors. Literary and journalistic metaphors are then compared in Chapter 8 by means of two rating studies designed to tap five basic metaphor dimensions which can be presumed to be valid for all metaphors. Chapter 9 examines the effect of two of these dimensions, one cognitive and one affective, on the processing data reported in Chapters 3 and 6. In Chapter 10, the author discusses the bearings his findings have on linguistic, psychological, and literary approaches to metaphor. It is the aim of this study to present aspects of an empirical theory of metaphor in literary reception and to show how evidence can be collected from readers' processing of metaphor in literary texts, in order to evaluate how that processing relates to the function of metaphor in literature. The book is divided into three parts. Part One is called "Reader, Text, Context". It provides an account of the empirical study of understanding metaphor in literature by discussing present-day developments in psychology and linguistics (Chapter 1) and literary theory (Chapter 2). The author argues that metaphor processing is affected by the three factors of text, reader, and context, and that understanding metaphor in literature can be conceptualized as embodying one specific type of configuration of these factors. In Chapter 3 I make a first attempt at examining whether there is an observable and determinate relation between metaphor processing and literary reading by presenting two empirical studies on the relation between readers' experience of literariness and metaphors. Text, reader, and context variables were manipulated in order to investigate their effect on the experience of literariness through metaphors. Part Two is concerned with "Processes". Understanding metaphor in literature is not a unitary process, and a number of processing distinctions are proposed in the context of the psychology of reading in Chapter 4. These distinctions are further developed by means of a series of pilot studies in thinking out loud about literary texts, which are presented in Chapter 5. This in turn leads on to a comparative study of the incidence of various kinds of metaphor processing in literary and journalistic reception in Chapter 6. In Part Three, called "Properties", I turn to the role of differences between metaphors. Chapter 7 presents a theoretical framework for the conceptualization and measurement of differences between metaphors. Literary and journalistic metaphors are then compared in Chapter 8 by means of two rating studies designed to tap five basic metaphor dimensions which can be presumed to be valid for all metaphors. Chapter 9 examines the effect of two of these dimensions, one cognitive and one affective, on the processing data reported in Chapters 3 and 6. In Chapter 10, I will discuss the bearings my findings have on linguistic, psychological, and literary approaches to metaphor. Part contents.

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