Metaphor and Writing: Figurative Thought in the Discourse of Written Communication
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This volume explains how metaphors, metonymies, and other figures of thought interact cognitively and rhetorically to tell us what writing is and what it should do. Drawing on interviews with writing professionals and published commentary about writing, it argues that our everyday metaphors and metonymies for writing are part of a figurative rhetoric of writing - a pattern of discourse and thought that includes ways we categorize writers and writing; stories we tell about people who write; conceptual metaphors and metonymies used both to describe and to guide writing; and familiar, yet surprisingly adaptable, conceptual blends used routinely for imagining writing situations. The book will give scholars a fresh understanding of concepts such as 'voice', 'self', 'clarity', 'power', and the most basic figure of all: 'the writer'.
canonical authors – and the Unabomber. Hemingway scores an embarrassing 3 out of 6; Shakespeare – even worse: 2 out of 6; and Gertrude Stein a dismal 1 out 6. But Ted Kaczynski scores a perfect 6. So much for good writing. But even as the Princeton Review executives distance the author-writer story from the good-writer story, they reinforce their nested relationship. Of course, Shakespeare could produce a perfect 6 if he wanted to! He could do it in his sleep. (He could probably do it dead.) But
the fi nal stages of The Deer Park, says Mailer, “My powers of logic became weaker each day, but the book had its own logic, and so I did not need close reason” (38). Somewhat less dramatically, Anne Lamott urges aspiring writers to “stop the chattering of the rational mind” so that they can trust intuition, which “wafts up from the soul or unconscious” (1994: 112). This near-automatic writing has a familiar corollary: the author writer’s block. Others may have difficulty writing, but the author
page feel like our words – whether they sound like our voice or one of our owned voices. Yet even here … we write best if we learn to move flexibly back and forth between on the one hand using and Writing as transcription, talk, and voice 95 celebrating something we feel as our own voice, and on the other hand operating as though we are nothing but ventriloquists playfully using and adapting and working against an array of voices we fi nd around us. (1994: 30) Though he acknowledges the range
complexly. The voice is contiguous with language, which is contiguous with thought. The brain is part of the body, which is contiguous with the self – the mind, the soul, the spirit, the character, the personality. But even noticing this abundance of metonymies does not give us a rich enough sense of how we ordinarily bring together voice and self. As with voice, recent scholarship on writing and the self rests on a strong assumption that most of us hold onto the naïve concept of a unitary,
are themselves merged collections of individuals. Technical writing textbooks sometimes emphasize the risk that a collaborative team may fail to reach such harmony. For example: “Collaboration can yield a disunified document … [because] the more people involved in the collaboration, the greater the variation of style, in everything from design to spelling” (Markel 1997: 52). Or: “The user manual is perceived to be the product of the organization, not of the individuals who developed it …