1st Edition

Similes, Puns and Counterfactuals in Literary Narrative

ISBN 9780367366308
Published July 10, 2019 by Routledge
172 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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Jennifer Riddle Harding is Associate Professor of English at Washington and Jefferson College, USA.


"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