"Cognitive Poetics: The Case of HD"

Craig A. Hamilton


If there is any relationship at all between English Studies and Cognitive Science, it is to be found in language and conceptualization. While we are years from being able to accurately describe the neurobiology of language, some helpful epistemological models developed by cognitive linguists have already taken major steps toward explaining how we interpret parables, metaphors, and counterfactuals. Of these models, that of the conceptual integration network developed by Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier will be at the center of my short talk on two of HD's poems, "Sea Lily" and "Garden." If anything, cognitive linguistic research convinces us that allegory, figure, metaphor, metonymy, parable, and projection are prevalent in our language precisely because our very minds are literary and poetic. By focusing on a few of HD's metaphors, similes, and counterfactuals in these two poems, my presentation will touch on explaining the complicated mental mappings these figures prompt us--as readers--to perform.


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