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Metaphor as Thought in Elias Canetti's «Masse und Macht»


David Scott

Elias Canetti's Masse und Macht was first published in 1960. Since then it has been both criticised as banal and unscientific and applauded for using literary techniques to provide valuable insights into crowds and power. This book resolves this apparent paradox by examining the language and theories in Masse und Macht using a typology of metaphor that draws on recent theories in the field of cognitive rhetoric. This area of cognitive linguistics argues against the division of scientific, literary and common language into irreconcilable spheres and shows that the human ability to reason is predicated on metaphorical thought. By illustrating the essential inseparability of various types of metaphor in Masse und Macht, this book demonstrates that there is no conflict in accepting Canetti's theories as both poetic and scientific insights simultaneously.
Contents: Development of a typology of metaphor, including metaphor as thought, conceptual metaphor, literary metaphor, and theory-constitutive metaphor - Comparison of «Verwandlung» and metaphor as thought - Discussion of conceptual metaphor - The structure of argument in Masse und Macht - The hunt as a central metaphor in Masse und Macht - Metaphors of the Crowd - Metaphors of the individual - Metaphors of Power - Masse und Macht as science.