Monday, February 11, 2008

Deviant predicates

"Metaphor, as Paul Ricoeur reminds us, is an informative kind of deviant predication. (The informative kind of deviant nomination is called metonymy.) But in Native American narrative, the metaphors, the deviant predications, are usually stated so directly, with so little rhetorical fanfare, that readers trained on European literature don't notice them as literary figures. They are perfectly embedded in the narrative. They are what I like to call declarative metaphors. Take them out and there is not only no poetry left; there is no narrative, either. So I don't suppose these metaphors are literary figures. I suppose they are structural components, each one syntatically related to the rest of the components of the poem where they appear...

When you come down to elemental things - earth, air, fire, water, wind, sun, moon, a flake of lichen on the rock, a scrap of birdsong, Orion in the clear, winter sky - you find that metaphor - or poetry, to call it by its other name - is a fundamental property of things. You find that things are deviant predicates of themselves."

- Robert Bringhurst, as below

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