Indecorous Thinking: Figures of Speech in Early Modern Poetics

By Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
“Such as might best be”: Simile in
Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene

Simile never quite recovered from Aristotle’s subordination of the figure to metaphor. Simile, he warned, is “longer” than metaphor, and therefore simile is “less attractive” than metaphor: “It does not say outright that ‘this’ is ‘that,’ and therefore the hearer is less interested in the idea.”1 While metaphor’s act of substitution startles us by its audacity, simile builds hesitation, negotiation, and even accommodation into its own syntax—in English, its as and its so. Simile’s value as a figure depreciates accordingly: “Both speech and reasoning,” Aristotle argued, “are lively in proportion as they make us seize a new idea promptly.”2 If metaphor presupposes an act of translation in the strictest sense of the word, a “carrying across” conceptual boundaries, simile’s syntax exposes the route of that translation. It forces us at length to retrace the journey— or even, the poetic labor—that metaphor disowns. The form of a simile weakens the logical end of its own comparative work by extending the time it takes for us to get from “this” to “that.”3 The very syntactical hinges, the as and the so that make simile identifiable as a form, also offer a peculiar organization of time.

The syntax of simile was marked by duration and an extension of time; the very reliability of those syntactical markers, however, also made simile

-97-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Indecorous Thinking: Figures of Speech in Early Modern Poetics
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 310

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.