Metaphorical creativity across modes
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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Multimodal metaphor studies has hitherto neglected one key arena in the creative arts: literature. This article explores four case studies of multimodal metaphor within contemporary experimental literature. In poetry, the metaphor EMOTIONS ARE OBJECTS is discussed within Anne Carson’s (2009) accordion ‘poem in a box’, in which the poet struggles with the death of her brother; in literature, Steve Tomasula and Stephen Farrell’s (1996) fold-out fiction TOC and Mark Z. Danielewski’s (2006) novel Only Revolutions, both thematically interested in time and designed to be rotated in reading, are explored to reveal the metaphor TIME IS CIRCULAR MOTION; and in the graphic novel, analysis of Warren Ellis’ (2011) “SVK”, for which readers use a torch to reveal characters’ thoughts printed in UV ink, exposes the metaphor KNOWLEDGE IS LIGHT.Throughout, it is shown that multimodal metaphors are generated through both the interaction of verbal and visual modes, and through a reader-user’s performative engagement with the text. Moreover, early theorisations of multimodal metaphor in which the two domains (source and target) were required to stem from different modalities, are called into question. Rather, the creative affordances of multimodal literature show such metaphors to be more integrative in nature, both cognitively and semantically.


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