Metaphor (1490 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • David Punter (University of Bristol)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


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 …

Punter, David. "Metaphor". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2008
[, accessed 23 October 2016.]