chapter  3
19 Pages

Literary Metaphor between Cognition and Narration: The Sandman Revisited: Benjamin Biebuyck and Gunther Martens


Neither of these approaches, however, have convinced literary scholars that they have actually solved the problems related to the role of metaphor in literary texts. Today cognitive researchers admit that even in relatively simple ordinary speech (in real utterances, instead of prefabricated text dummies) we “need to face squarely the far greater complexity of integrations that lie behind observable metaphorical systems” (Fauconnier & Turner 2008: 65), a far greater complexity, that is, than current mapping and blending theories have so far assumed to exist. Such an acknowledgment may be regarded as an ominous indication of the degree of complexity that might emerge when analysing literary communication, in which, as Steen (1994: 231) suggests, a certain degree of ambiguity or lack of clarity serves to attract increased reader attention.2 More importantly, Fauconnier and Turner acknowledge that in the case of recognizable metaphorical conceptual systems we have to “take into account their cultural history” as well as “the emergent structures they produce” (Fauconnier & Turner 2008: 65); this desideratum is undoubtedly even more relevant with respect to literary metaphors that explicitly appeal to cultural traditions (e.g. through intertextual allusions). Literary metaphors also facilitate creative ad-hoc-emergence and call for “polyvalent processing” (Steen 1994: 207).