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“My Verse, the Strict Map of My Misery”: Of Metaphors and Mindscapes

  • Michael A. Winkelman
Chapter
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Part of the Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance book series (CSLP)

Abstract

It is very difficult to describe our thought processes literally. Even many technical Latin and Greek terms from neuroanatomy contain embedded metaphors:

term

etymology

cortex

tree bark

dendrites

tree branches

synapse

fastener

limbus/limbic

rim

thalamus

chambers

amygdala

almonds

pallium

cloak

dentate nucleus

teeth

glia

glue

arachnoid

spiderweb

hippocampus

sea horse

insula

island

reticular formations

nets

Many of these brain parts received their names around Donne’s lifetime, manifestations of the New Learning and taxonomic harbingers of modern medicine.

Keywords

Cognitive Approach Innate Variation Universal Grammar Paradise Lost Left Angular Gyrus 
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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Notes

  1. 1.
    D. C. Allen reminds us that “There is no doubt that like most of his coevals he [Milton] believed that Hebrew was the original mother tongue,” in “Some Theories of the Growth and Origin of Language in Milton’s Age,” Philological Quarterly 28 (1949): 5. See also Chanita Goodblatt, The Christian Hebraism of John Donne: Written with the Fingers of Man’s Hand (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2010).Google Scholar
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    The Complete Poetry of Richard Crashaw, ed. George Walton Williams (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1970). His poem to the Countess of Denbigh urging her conversion to Catholicism parodies carpe diem lyrics and furnishes similarly bizarre examples. See Robert Martin Adams, “Taste and Bad Taste in Metaphysical Poetry: Richard Crashaw and Dylan Thomas,” The Hudson Review 8 (1955): 61–77. There probably should be more insightful criticism on aesthetics and rotten literature. A key resource for primary texts is D. B. Wyndham and Charles Lee, eds., The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse (New York: Capricorn Books, 1962), which includes selections from Erasmus Darwin’s eroticized botanical poetry.Google Scholar
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    Keith Oatley, Best Laid Schemes: The Psychology of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press/Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1992), 3.Google Scholar
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© Michael A. Winkelman 2013

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  • Michael A. Winkelman

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