In this study, Jennifer Riddle Harding presents a cognitive analysis of three figures of speech that have readily identifiable forms: similes, puns, and counterfactuals. Harding argues that when deployed in literary narrative, these forms have narrative functions—such as the depiction of conscious experiences, allegorical meanings, and alternative plots—uniquely developed by these more visible figures of speech. Metaphors, by contrast, are often "invisible" in the formal structure of a text. With a solid cognitive grounding, Harding’s approach emphasizes the relationship between figurative forms and narrative effects. Harding demonstrates the literary functions of previously neglected figures of speech, and the potential for a unified approach to a topic that crosses cognitive disciplines. Her work has implications for the rhetorical approach to figures of speech, for cognitive disciplines, and for the studies of literature, rhetoric, and narrative.
"Cross-fertilizing stylistics, cognitive linguistics, and narrative theory, this interdisciplinary book addresses a number of blind spots in the study of figurative language, characterization, and consciousness representation in literary narrative. Harding’s close readings are an engaging complement to her theoretical discussion." —Marco Caracciolo, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Chapter 1: Introduction to Similes, Puns, and Counterfactuals in Literary Narrative
Chapter 2: Similes
Chapter 3: Drunken Eloquence: Similes in John Updike’s "Transaction"
Chapter 4: Puns
Chapter 5: Very Punny: Puns in Bret Harte’s "The Luck of Roaring Camp"
Chapter 6: Counterfactuals
Chapter 7: Complex Regrets: Counterfactuals in Hemingway’s "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"
Chapter 8: Conclusion