Poetry, Knowledge, and Metaphor

  • Samuel R. Levin


If for some theoretical purpose it is required that the categories of metaphor and knowledge be juxtaposed and the relation in which each stands to the other be examined, then it seems to me obvious that the sense of one or the other of these two notions must be modified. Moreover, depending on the general background against which the juxtaposition is to be effected, it might be the one or the other of them whose sense it would be necessary to adjust. If, as here, the question is to be approached against the background of literature, more particularly poetry, then it seems clear that needing to undergo modification is not so much our understanding of metaphor but our idea of what constitutes knowledge. The fact is that the very idea of knowledge when raised in connection with poetry has about it an air of the adventitious. For indeed, it is not clear that the reading of a poem causes us to `know’ anything. And this alleged deficit or incapacity of poetry has obvious implications when it is the relation between metaphor and knowledge that is the question at issue.


Actual World Conceptual Category Metaphoric Expression Chicago Linguistic Society Aesthetic Idea 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

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  • Samuel R. Levin

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