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Much More than Metaphor

Master Tropes of Artistic Language and Imagination


Elzbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska

The monograph argues for a return to a more fine-grained repertoire of tropes than the limiting analyses focused on metaphor or on the metaphor-metonymy duet. A list of ten master tropes is proposed, not only as candidates for tropological universals but also important text-forming strategies and a reflection of artistic imagination. The author presents a three-layered model of their organization into micro-, macro- and mega-/metatropes that partake in the construal of tropological space and figurative worlds. The book brings together Anglo-American and French-language philosophy of rhetoric, cognitive studies, and a tradition of Russian formalistic-semiotic research. It straddles the boundary between linguistic and literary stylistics as well as between post-structural and cognitive poetics, pointing also to an interdisciplinary nature of tropes.


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Chapter 1. From microtropes, through macrotropes,to mega- and metatropes of artistic language and conceptualization


Chapter 1 From microtropes, through macrotropes, to mega- and metatropes of artistic language and conceptualization 1.1 Tropes (semantic figures) defined Aristotle (1996: 36) once said that “the most important quality in diction is clarity, provided there is no loss of dignity”. In the face of terminological confusion in the field of rhetorical and stylistic studies, caused by variances among schools, trends and paradigms assumed, I have decided to present below the classification of figures and tropes that would be reasonably simple and clear. I hope this will involve no loss of “dignity” since in the linguistic theorizing the criterion of simplicity is often equated with methodological elegance. In my approach (which follows the classical tradition), tropes are a class within the broad family of figures, that is why it seems proper to start with the definition of this more general concept. The notion of figure goes back to Aristotle, who applied the term schma in the description of certain linguistic units with an inherently ornamental organization. But it is Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (ca 35–ca 95 AD), whose definition of figura from the Institutio Oratoria is most often quoted in rhetoric and stylistics: I now come to figures called schemata8 in Greek [...] a figure [...], as is clear from the name itself, is the term employed when we give our language a conformation other than the obvious or the ordinary. (Quintilian 1966, IX, 105: 349) What is worth noting is that figure is taken here to refer to a modification, re-...

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