Women Shapeshifters: Transforming the Contemporary Novel

Women Shapeshifters: Transforming the Contemporary Novel

Women Shapeshifters: Transforming the Contemporary Novel

Women Shapeshifters: Transforming the Contemporary Novel

Synopsis

An exciting study of novels by ten women writers who have combined the traditions of Romance and Realism to offer a more comprehensive view of contemporary life.

Excerpt

How can we understand each other? Language becomes increasingly necessary as the human race develops and multiplies, yet the meaning of each word of a living language is continually evolving to reflect its current usage. The connotations and weighted meanings that the word ultimately carries can reveal much about the evolution of its social setting; often, however, they can also obscure its original "story." Every word is in itself a poem, the simplest, or "root," word being the first linguistic imaging of its corresponding phenomenon. As Lavoisier has explained in Traité Elémentaire de Chimie (1789) in regards to the link between science and language, "To call forth a concept a word is needed; to portray a phenomenon, a concept is needed. All three mirror one and the same reality." Within a single word, therefore, concept and phenomenon, idea and reality, coexist. Words are invented by a human consciousness, which "call[s] forth a concept" by imagining what expression will best communicate that concept to another human consciousness as corresponding with the phenomenon it is meant to represent. The word then can make sense to us, because our senses can receive both the word itself and the phenomenon imaged by the word. The concept is not sensually apprehendable, however, so the gift of language is that we now share with its creator an abstract idea as well as a concrete sensual experience. We will then apply that word, that linguistic image, to other occurrences of the phenomenon so named, extending and sometimes even expanding the concept as the precision of the word enables us to make and share sensible connections and correspondences.

Just as we connect the word with other phenomena, so too we will connect it with other concepts as we learn/create other words, eventually producing what scientists would call a taxonomic group of related terms in a classification. The almost interchangeable terms we use for the taxon that defines words recognized as such mental images are "figurative language" and "imagery," the former reminding . . .

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