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Figures of a Changing World By Harry Berger

Figures of a Changing World by Harry Berger

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Summary

Figures of a Changing World develops an account of culture change that is based on the distinction between the two rhetorical figures of metaphor and metonymy. These figures are applied both to the large-scale interpretation of tensions in culture change and to the micro-interpretation of tensions within particular texts.

Figures of a Changing World Summary

Figures of a Changing World: Metaphor and the Emergence of Modern Culture by Harry Berger

Figures of a Changing World offers a dramatic new account of cultural change, an account based on the distinction between two familiar rhetorical figures, metonymy and metaphor. The book treats metonymy as the basic organizing trope of traditional culture and metaphor as the basic organizing trope of modern culture. On the one hand, metonymies present themselves as analogies that articulate or reaffirm preexisting states of affairs. They are guarantors of facticity, a term that can be translated or defined as fact-like-ness. On the other hand, metaphors challenge the similarity they claim to establish, in order to feature departures from preexisting states of affairs.
On the basis of this distinction, the author argues that metaphor and metonymy can be used as instruments both for the large-scale interpretation of tensions in cultural change and for the micro-interpretation of tensions within particular texts. In addressing the functioning of the two terms, the author draws upon and critiques the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Roman Jakobson, Christian Metz, Paul Ricoeur, Umberto Eco, Edmund Leach, and Paul de Man.

Figures of a Changing World Reviews

Figures of a Changing World is the twelfth in a remarkable series of literary and visual studies over the past quarter century that comprise Harry Berger's extraordinarily wide-ranging critical oeuvre. This new book articulates the larger linguistic context and cultural change that undergird Berger's heroic acts of brilliantly detailed close reading of early modern texts and images. -- -Peter Erickson * Northwestern University *
In Figures of a Changing World, Harry Berger, Jr. distills into brief scope a masterful review and critique of a major topic in twentieth century critical theory: the post-Nietszchean theory of tropes. Berger's work is always welcomed by scholars in his fields (plural), but this little book on a big topic has the potential to be among the most widely read and appreciated of his many volumes because the subject is of interest to so many academic practitioners, because his treatment of it is as trenchant and pointed as it is wide-ranging, and because his style is so appealingly distinctive. -- -David Lee Miller * University of South Carolina *

About Harry Berger

Harry Berger, Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His most recent books include Figures of a Changing World: Metaphor and the Emergence of Modern Culture and A Fury in the Words: Love and Embarrassment in Shakespeare's Venice (both Fordham). Harry Berger, Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Art History and a Fellow of Cowell College at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the author of fourteen books, most recently Harrying: Skills of Offense in Shakespeare's Henriad (Fordham, 2016).

Additional information

NGR9780823257485
9780823257485
0823257487
Figures of a Changing World: Metaphor and the Emergence of Modern Culture by Harry Berger
New
Paperback
Fordham University Press
2015-03-02
176
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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