Metaphor

(1490 words)
  • David Punter (University of Bristol)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

We can begin to consider the study of metaphor by considering the nature of text, and of the word “text” itself. If we were to be asked for a definition of “text”, our first recourse might be to a dictionary, and here we would find what at first glance appears to be precisely the definition we need: “The wording of anything written or printed; the structure formed by the words in their order; the very words, phrases, and sentences as written” (OED).

This may seem as though it is a clear, “literal” meaning, and certainly it absolutely summarises some of the everyday uses of the word that we might make when contemplating the study of literature – although even here we may suspect that the dictionary …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Punter, David. "Metaphor". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=718, accessed 23 July 2014.]