Metaphor in Literature


metaphor [Gr.,=transfer], in rhetoric, a figure of speech in which one class of things is referred to as if it belonged to another class. Whereas a simile states that A is like B, a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A. Some metaphors are explicit, like Shakespeare's line from As You Like It: "All the world's a stage." A metaphor can also be implicit, as in Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXIII, where old age is indicated by a description of autumn:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
  Where yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
  Bare ruined choirs, where once the sweet birds sang.

A dead metaphor, such as "the arm" of a chair, is one that has become so common that it is no longer considered a metaphor.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Metaphor in Literature: Selected full-text books and articles

The Depictive Image: Metaphor and Literary Experience By Phillip Stambovsky University of Massachusetts Press, 1988
Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students By Robert Eaglestone Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Metaphors and Figures of Speech"
The Language Poets Use By Winifred Nowottny Oxford University Press, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "Metaphor" and Chap. IV "Metaphor and Poetic Structure"
Navigating the Mainstream: Metaphors and Multiethnic Literature By Rozga, Margaret MELUS, Vol. 30, No. 2, Summer 2005
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Lunacy of Light: Emily Dickinson and the Experience of Metaphor By Wendy Barker Southern Illinois University Press, 1991
Faulkner: Masks and Metaphors By Lothar Hönnighausen University Press of Mississippi, 1997
Theorizing Lawrence: Nine Meditations on Tropological Themes By Gerald Doherty Peter Lang, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Especially Chap. 4 "Sons and Lovers: Metaphor and the Erotics of Spatial Relationships," Chap. 6 "Lady Chatterley's Lover: Metaphor and Mental Disturbance," Chap. 7 "The Rainbow: Metaphor and the Plots of Romance." and Chap. 8 "The Short Fiction: Metaphor and the Rituals of Courtship"
Metaphors in Grass' Die Blechtrommel By Antoinette T. Delaney Peter Lang, 2004
As Long as the Waters Shall Run: The "Obstructed Water" Metaphor in American Indian Fiction By Donaldson, John K American Studies International, Vol. 40, No. 2, June 2002
The Schlemiel as Metaphor: Studies in Yiddish and American Jewish Fiction By Sanford Pinsker Southern Illinois University Press, 1991 (Revised edition)
Michel Tournier and the Metaphor of Fiction By David Platten Liverpool University Press, 1999
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