2005

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0157  Wednesday, 26 January 2005

From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Jan 2005 11:44:17 -0500
Subject: 16.0134 Shakespeare and the Invention of Metaphor and
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0134 Shakespeare and the Invention of Metaphor and
Language

 >>Tim Carroll believes the genius of Shakespeare comes when he goes
 >>beyond [synaesthetic] sense metaphors to ones which involve links to
 >>more abstract ideas.
 >
 >While Shakespeare undoubtedly had an individual, biological genius, the
 >particular process discussed has a strong connection to general currents
 >of sixteenth-century English history.

Tim Carroll and Douglas Galbi want us to suppose that there is something
either personally or historically unique about the metaphoric language
in Shakespeare. Modern cognitive science, however, is busy demonstrating
that making metaphors-and especially using metaphors to relate our
individual experience to recurrent natural and social phenomena as
perceived and reported by others ("links to more abstract ideas") is a
fundamental human mental activity. From the literary angle see
especially the work of Mark Turner (*The Literary Mind*, *Death is the
mother of Beauty*) and Gilles Fauconier (*The Way we Think*), which
offer good introductions. Shakespeare may have been particularly good at
doing it; early modern Europeans put formal training in rhetoric at the
center of their educational theory and practice. But the process itself,
if the cognitive chaps are right, belongs to all of us.

David Evett

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