On Metaphor…Circe Conference 2013

29th July, 2013 - Posted by Christine Perrin - No Comments

Metaphor Powerpoint

Here is a copy of the powerpoint I used at Circe.  We had a very good time together thinking about the centrality of metaphoric thought by starting with Aristotle, moving on to Robert Frost and then to Walker Percy.  Frost argued that you aren’t educated unless you have had an “Education by Poetry”  here is where you can find his essay on the subject:  http://www.en.utexas.edu/amlit/amlitprivate/scans/edbypo.html


It’s a wonderful essay in typical Frostian style–saying something about metaphor wrapped in metaphor.  But his argument is serious and firm–you must understand metaphor to be educated.  We ALL use it all the time, but not always with understanding.  We must perform the sifting task that tallies up the likeness and the unlikeness of the things compared in a metaphor or analogy.  Is any metaphor perfect?  Not really, but metaphoric thinking is essential to our humanity and demonstrates the centrality of the imagination.  We can’t know ANYTHING without likening it to what we already have experienced.  This is as true in science as it is in poetry.

So poetry teaches us to think.  Chapter two in The Art of Poetry focuses entirely on metaphor, the only concept that comes before is image b/c metaphors are made of images.  Images mean we have bodies, metaphors mean we have souls:  their inseparability is the unity of being, their ability to be separated is the distance we are from final unity.  You see, it all becomes transcendent so fast.  Frost says–there is no such thing as a materialist, only someone with scattered thoughts that have not yet found an organizing metaphor or analogy.

Great to be with you all there at CIRCE!  Thanks to the Kern family for a wonderful time of “So I did sit(ing) and eat(ing)” in anticipation….



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