Poetry and the Scope of Metaphor: Toward a Cognitive Theory of Literature

METAPHOR AND METONYMY AT THE CROSSROADS: A COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE, Antonia Barcelona, ed., pp. 253-281, Mouton de Gruyter, 2000

20 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2010

See all articles by Margaret H. Freeman

Margaret H. Freeman

Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts - MICA

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

The question I raise in this paper is, 'In what ways can cognitive theory as it has been developed in recent years contribute toward a more adequate theory of literature?' To answer this question, I look at Emily Dickinson’s poem, 'My Cocoon Tightens,' to show how the general mapping skills that constitute the cognitive ability to create and interpret metaphor can provide a more coherent theory than the intuitive and ad hoc approaches of traditional criticism. I then look at another Dickinson poem, 'My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun,' to show how a cognitive metaphor approach can illuminate the insights, and the limitations, of traditional literary criticism. Finally, I show how the application of cognitive poetics can identify and evaluate literary style by discussing a poem generally believed to be by Dickinson but which proved to be a forgery, and end by comparing cognitive poetics to other cognitive approaches.

Keywords: cognitive poetics, cognitive mapping, aesthetic evaluation, Emily Dickinson, forgery

Suggested Citation

Freeman, Margaret H., Poetry and the Scope of Metaphor: Toward a Cognitive Theory of Literature (2000). METAPHOR AND METONYMY AT THE CROSSROADS: A COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE, Antonia Barcelona, ed., pp. 253-281, Mouton de Gruyter, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1427868

Margaret H. Freeman (Contact Author)

Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts - MICA ( email )

23 Avery Brook Road
Heath, MA 01346-0132
United States
413 337 4854 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/a/case.edu/myrifield/

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