In Death Is the Mother of Beauty, Mark Turner focuses on how we connect and combine conflicting concepts to produce new, rich meanings and develop insights into diffuse and challenging conceptual arrays. His laboratory is mental connections that involve kinship relations. Working in that laboratory, he shows that we have a mental and linguistic system of metaphoric, metonymic, narrative, and inferential patterns which we can use to produce and understand expressions as simple as brainchild or as complex as Miltons infernal trinity, in which Satan, Sin, and Death become Father, Daughter, and Son.
His examples range from Chaucer to Wallace Stevens, from song lyrics to journalism, from everyday language to the most remarkable literary presentations. His topics include causation, personification, and literary inventions in major texts by Blake, Gower, Spenser, and Hesiod.
This book is a guide to a complex system of mental patterns and principles that is indispensable in everyday language, thought, and reason, but goes unnoticed, working backstage until some literary text puts a small piece of it onstage.
A study that is exhaustive, richly documented, finely articulated, and extraordinarily broad in the range of knowledge and literary examples that it brings to bear.t; - Donald Freeman, Poetics Today.
This is a truly interdisciplinary book, a book of importance both to literary scholars and to scientists of the mind - linguists, psychologists, anthropologists, and researchers in artificial intelligence. It shows that the study of the literary mind is an integral part of the study of the mind in general. And it shows clearly that everyday language and literary language are not separate domains, that discoveries about one bear on the other. - George Lakoff
Turner's book lives up to its colorful and ambitious title: it is not just another book of theory about metaphor, it is a book of linguistic and critical theory deeply immersed in particular metaphors and their effects. To me it offers more sheer pleasure than any other book on metaphor, and the fun pays off with rich new insights. - Wayne C. Booth
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