Viewing Metaphor as Analogy

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 197)


Metaphor is a pervasive and important phenomenon, both in literature and in ordinary language. It is also an immensely variable phenomenon. The term ‘metaphor’ is often used to refer to nonliteral comparisons that are novel and vivid and that convey ideas that might otherwise be difficult to express (Ortony, 1975). But the term has also been used to refer to systems of extended meanings that are so familiar as to be almost invisible, such as the spatial metaphors ‘soaring spirits’ or ‘falling GNP’ (Lakoff and Johnson, 1979; Nagy, 1974). Even if we restrict ourselves to literary metaphors, there is still an enormous range of metaphor types, as shown in the following list:
  1. (1)

    She allowed life to waste like a tap left running (Virginia Wolfe)

  2. (2)

    I have ventured, /Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, /This many summers in a sea of glory; /But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride /At length broke under me; and now has left me, /Weary and old with service, to the mercy /Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me (Shakespeare)

  3. (3)

    For the black bat, night, has flown (Tennyson)

  4. (4)

    The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun (Robert Herrick)

  5. (5)

    On a star of faith pure as the drifting bread, /As the food and flames of the snow (Dylan Thomas)

  6. (6)

    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses (cummings)



Match Rule Local Match Spatial Metaphor Match Hypothesis Evidence Rule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Illinois at Urbana ChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Computer ScienceUniversity of Illinois at Urbana ChampaignUSA

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