Translating Investments: Metaphor and the Dynamic of Cultural Change in Tudor-Stuart England

Translating Investments: Metaphor and the Dynamic of Cultural Change in Tudor-Stuart England

Translating Investments: Metaphor and the Dynamic of Cultural Change in Tudor-Stuart England

Translating Investments: Metaphor and the Dynamic of Cultural Change in Tudor-Stuart England

Synopsis

In this wide-ranging book, Judith Anderson studies the functioning of metaphor as a constructive force within language, religious doctrine and politics, literature, rhetoric, and economics. Invoking a provocative metaphorical concept from Andy Clark's version of cognitive science, she construes metaphor as a form of scaffolding fundamental to human culture. A more traditional or controversial conception of this is "sublation" - Hegel's Aufhebung, or "raising," as the philosophers Jacques Derrida and Paul Ricoeur have understood the term. From beginning to end, this study not only shows how history and theory can be mutually enlightening, but touches also upon the present, engaging questions about language, rhetoric, and reading within poststructuralism and neocognitivism.

Excerpt

This book studies the functioning of metaphor in Tudor and early Stuart culture. Accordingly, its chapters treat a range of disciplines, including language, religion, rhetoric, politics, literature, and economics. Also and inevitably, it touches the present, raising questions about the position of language and rhetoric within post-structuralism and neo-cognitivism and doing so in a way that highlights the connection between intellectual problems active in our own culture and those manifested in the sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury texts, controversies, and crises that I discuss. Translating Investments is thus conceived as simultaneously a critical and a historical study.

In it, I am recurrently concerned with the issues of conceptualization, abstraction, and transcendence that can be encapsulated in the Hegelian concept of sublation—Aufhebung, or, "raising," as both Jacques Derrida and Paul Ricoeur have understood this concept. More expansively, sublation can be rendered as "translation to a higher level incident on partial cancellation of the physical" and thus at once a plus or surplus beyond it, a partial continuity with it, and a partial loss of it. the problem of sublation traditionally has occurred in relation to the physical roots of philosophical abstractions, such as Idea (from Greek eido, "to see") or concept itself (from Latin com + capio, "to seize together"). These roots threaten the transcendence of thought built on abstractions derived from them. By extension, the problem of sublation informs broader issues of symbolism and conception, for example, those surrounding the Eucharist in the sixteenth century, those realized in poetic vision, or even those evident in attitudes to currency exchange under the early Stuarts.

As I have indicated, sublation, as raising, involves translation, or a transfer from one dimension (one place) to another. Fundamentally tropic and more specifically metaphoric, the process of translation itself, whether from lower to higher or otherwise, is known in traditional rhetoric by the Latin term translatio, literally a "carrying across," and this traditional term is also a synonym for the arch-trope metaphor. in sum, the raising that is sublation is . . .

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