Course Description

The course looks at different definitions of metaphor and reviews various approaches and theories that have been applied to figurative (non-literal) language. It presents the identification and analysis of metaphor as a tool in the study of texts of all kinds, and introduces more recent approaches which see the study of metaphor as a key to understanding human cognition and experience. The course shows how questions about metaphor are at the heart of debates about meaning and interpretation across the humanities and social sciences, and illustrates the role of metaphor in fundamental ideological and political discussions, concerning for example: social order (‘the body politic’), ecology (the earth as a living being, ‘Gaia’ theory), economics (the ‘market’ metaphor), religion (heaven as ‘above’, God as ‘father’). A related longstanding intellectual debate concerns whether languages create or embody particular culturally-specific world-views. The course equips students to analyze a range of texts in terms of metaphor and gives them a grounding in longstanding debates about meaning, interpretation and the relationship of language to reality.
Assessment: 100% coursework.



Last updated: 17 July 2019