Adding an Empirical Dimension to the Study of Poetic Metaphor

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Abstract

This paper applies the rigorous experimental approach of cognitive psychology to the study of poetic metaphor and to the process of its comprehension by the real reader. The theoretical framework underlying this paper integrates the paradigm established by Gestalt psychology with the Interaction theory of metaphor. Twenty-four subjects were given a questionnaire to complete, in which they first rated metaphors in three poetic texts on a series of four 7-point rating scales, and then prepared a written response to a series of questions. This study therefore contributes to an understanding of the reading process, by suggesting different reading strategies adopted by various subjects, including an integration of alternative readings in order to fill semantic gaps, a simplification of structure through a use of local comparisons, and the elaboration of the structure through the addition of a semantic field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Literary Semantics
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2001

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