chapter  11
15 Pages

Hyperliteralist Metaphor: The Cognitive Poetics of Robert Musil in His Novella “Die Portugiesin”


Robert Musil (1880-1942) is a fascinating writer for anyone interested in the grounding of cognition in bodily, respectively embodied, experience. This is not to say that Musil was exactly some kind of cognitive poetician avant la lettre; rather, that he was very much interested in issues that are currently of great interest in the fi eld of cognitive poetics: issues such as the relation between experience (“Erleben”) and rational cognition (“Erkennen”, cf. Musil 1978d: 1218). The aim of this chapter is to show how Musil’s aesthetical refl ections can be understood in the context of cognitive poetics and how he uses metaphors to convey experience via literature. In addition, this chapter will deploy corpus analyses to investigate the particular use of metaphors found in Musil’s historical novella “Die Portugiesin” (“The Lady from Portugal”, Musil 1999).