Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

By Robert S. C. Gordon | Go to book overview

12
Metaphor

Pasolini saw cinema as a vehicle for linguistic renewal. It offered a him a technique of expression which overcame the ideological impasse in which he felt his writing was caught. The basis of the impasse and of the renewal was both ontological and cognitive, concerned with acquiring and articulating in signifying form a link between the self and the real. Renewal on this basis suggests that metaphor and metaphorical patterns of thought were to be of fundamental importance in Pasolini's work in cinema.1

Metaphor, understood in a broad sense as the representation of one notion or unit in terms of another, allows for the expression or creation of concepts which have no firm hold in a given language. It allows, that is, for the naming of the unknown, and thus extends both language itself and cognitive capacity through its opening out towards otherness. Under this schema of language renewal, the process of extension is followed by one of integration, whereby the metaphorical tends to be reabsorbed into the literal through repeated association, and the metaphor becomes a 'dead metaphor'. Thus, to give two simple examples, the 'leaves' of a book or the 'arms' of a chair have acquired literal validity from clear metaphorical origin. In a certain sense, then, the paradigm of linguistic renewal implies both that the metaphorical precedes the literal,2 and that full knowledge and renewal are a product of the dying of the former into the latter. Between the function of poetry, in particular modern poetry, and the function of metaphor there are substantial affinities. Poetry also extends language beyond itself and transforms meaning and perception through oblique association and substitution. This, as Jakobson pointed out in a seminal essay ( 1988, 61), leads to a natural affinity between poetry and metaphor:

____________________
1
Within the vast field of metaphor theory, I have found the following useful: Jakobson, 1988; Ricceur, 1978; Stacks, 1979; Whittock, 1990.
2
See Metz, 1982, 159-60; Whittock, 1990, 7-8.

-228-

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Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates xi
  • Abbreviations and References xii
  • Introduction: The Work of Subjectivity 1
  • Part I - Pasolini's Public Work 9
  • 1 - The Contours of a Career 12
  • 2 - Projects in Journalism 23
  • 3 - Vocations 75
  • Part II - Poetry: A Movement of Forms 85
  • 4 - 'Who is Me': The Impulse to Autobiography 90
  • 5 - 'Pura Luce': a Vision of History 114
  • 6 - 'Un Folle Identificarsi': Figuring the Self 138
  • 7 - Mio Corpo Insepolto': The Body and the Father 161
  • 8 - Poetry into Cinema 184
  • Part III - Cinema: Tracking the Subject 187
  • 9 - Authority and Inscription 191
  • 10 - Style and Technique 205
  • II - Genesis and Intertextuality 219
  • 12 - Metaphor 228
  • 13 - Being and Film--Time 240
  • 14 - Spectatorship 251
  • Part IV - Unfinished Endings 265
  • 15 - Petrolio: Self and Form 267
  • Bibliography 293
  • Index 313
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