The misrule of metaphor

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This dissertation examines the undercurrent of dissonance the utopian pole of metaphor offers in narrative fiction. It argues that, if the tensional interaction within metaphorical assertions of equivalence is read as a dynamic of power, then the configuration of the trope offers possibilities of contestation which have yet to be considered. Although Ricoeur's studies of metaphor theorize semantic deviation in terms of the imagination grounded in a conceptual framework encompassing ideology and utopia as complementary poles of a spectrum of social action, they fail to grasp the issue of power. By exploring patterns of contestation in metaphoric assertions of equivalence around such issues as gender, class and transgression in selected Canadian narratives, in conjunction with contemporary literary theorists, I develop strategies of reading the utopian perspective. Chapter One examines Thomas' metaphor of a lynching in terms of the context of power in which it appeared and which it destabilized. Chapter Two reformulates Ricoeur's conjunction of metaphor and ideology so as to locate the contestatory utopian capacity which, I maintain, is available within metaphor. In Chapter Three, a Jamesonian analysis of narrative locates the utopian horizon of Thomas' Graven Images. I parallel its contestation of the dominant ideological paradigm with a reversal in the metaphorical intertext. In Chapter Four, the utopian opens a strategy of reading the form of the metaphoric text. Moving from a response to Stanton's challenge to Irigaray's metaphoricity, I examine the metaphorical implications of form in Swan's The Biggest Modem Woman Of The World. In Chapter Five, by means of a de Manian rhetorical analysis of In The Skin Of A Lion, I illustrate the strains at the centre of metaphor between ideological and utopian instincts and explore the consequences of such tensions for critical reading. In Chapter Six, using Findley's Not Wanted On The Voyage, I argue that Ricoeur's reading of utopia is similar to Bakhtin's reading of the dynamic of carnival, and postulate that, although carnivalesque inversion is analogous to the process by means of which metaphor interrupts the ideological figuration of belief, the 'is not' persists in the dialogic nature of its intetvention.
Bibliography: p. 254-264
Pinchin, C. B. (1996). The misrule of metaphor (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/12627