«Thesis presented to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Zurich for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Mark Staff Brandl of USA and ...»
Most importantly for the theory of central trope, the novelist clearly applies this formal element as an embedded metaphor(m), using it to "mime or enact meaning."44 Hence, we come to Hemingway's central trope. This involves a double-blend, as it features two complementary mappings. Such complexity is described by Fauconnier and Turner in Chapters 14 and 15 of their book The Way We Think, titled respectively "Multiple Blends" and "Multiple-Scope Creativity."45 The couplings are far more closely knit in Hemingway's work than several of Fauconnier and Turner's examples, such as the "Dracula and His Patients" illustration they draw from a newspaper editorial.46 Hemingway's two pairings are so compactly interwoven as to be almost one blend. While I would contend that most metaphor(m)s are more akin to the iconic blend seen above in van Gogh, Hemingway gives an inkling of other, far more intricate or even convoluted possibilities. The conceptual integration of a number of mental image-mappings appears to be more frequent and essential in postmodern artworks.
Hemingway's image-mapping is that of simplicity on trope (metonymy) and solidity on structure (chiasmus). This, in turn, plays on the metaphors "truth is simple" and "truth is solid," both of which are viewed through the lens of the metaphor "structure is the object."
This logical sequence yields the author's personal central belief: "writing is truth is life." His metaphor(m) is "metonymy and chiasmus are solid and simple, are truth (about life)." He extended this into his subject matter and many if not most of the other elements of his writing, generally by analogy. His descriptions, place names, characters' names, dialogues and syntax are among the creative particulars which bear the stamp of his metaphor(m). My point is not to celebrate the insight of literary critics such as David M. Raabe who highlighted Hemingway's metonymic play, nor the insight Nänny and Hermann offer into his chiastic structuring, but to analyze these mechanics of his writing in a cognitive sense, thus expanding our perception of the agonistic and vital purpose they serve in his writing by seeing the significant way in which they converge in the author's central trope.47 Hemingway made linguistic form spatial and visual in an intricate and coherent complex of tropes. Foundational metaphors are extended, elaborated and composed. Telling the truth is one of the most important aspects (a synecdoche) of morality, thus truth is an elaboration of "MORALITY IS STRAIGHTNESS." Furthermore, straightness is a metonymy of simplicity. The writer is using many literary elements metaphorically, but most of all metonymy itself. This is an unprecedented twist resulting in a great critical metalepsis.
Coherence can be an attribute or extension of truth. Two foundational metaphors active in our society are "COHERENT IS WHOLE" and "COHERENCE IS ALIGNED."A building or constructed work of art must be solid, that is, structurally sound, composed in a thorough
fashion. "THEORIES ARE BUILDINGS" as well as "IDEAS ARE CONSTRUCTED OBJECTS" are operative at that point, as applied to literary ideas, most of all to his chiastic constructions. Extend existence and you have life, one foundational metaphor is indeed "EXISTENCE IS LIFE," yet another is "EXISTENCE IS HAVING FORM." For the author this meant a very specific form — his work, his writing. Hemingway has a central trope with epistemological and ethical implications, a powerful and broadened rationality of amazing complexity in a writer of ostensibly astounding simplicity.
These accounts of central trope in van Gogh and Hemingway have put the theory of central trope to the test and, I believe, substantiated its utility. They also exemplify the methodic application of this theory and both propose and evoke ways in which it is similarly employed in the following chapters to examine a choice of artworks and topics, subjecting them to "thick" or close-analysis. The subjects include my own work and that of other artists, as well as various fields of visual art, including painting, installation, electronic media and comic art (also termed "sequential art"). This dissertation focuses on visual art, however I analyzed the author Hemingway in order to thoroughly test and present my theory. He is a challenging case, considering his clear repudiation of (linguistic) metaphor. The section on artist Vincent van Gogh is, nevertheless, more central to my discussion. I have violated a prime technique of metaphor(m) in my discussion here. Due to the necessity to use quotations from Hemingway's works and from the scholars analyzing him, and due to the clarity of the situation, which makes van Gogh a foremost example of my theory, I have made the section on Hemingway longer than that on van Gogh. If I had embodied their importance to my paper metaphor(m)ally, the length of each section should have been the other way round!
Revisions in Light of Central Trope
Reflecting on the applications above and turning our eyes from the Lakoffian elements of my thought to Bloomian ones, it can be perceived that the pervasive use of metaphor(m) is the test of the truly forceful creator (Bloom's "strong poet," as described above). In this, we can contribute a new concept of "genius." Rather than being seen as some kind of transcendentally inspired originality, genius can be correlated with the attainment of enveloping discernment, through the transformational power of the metaphor(m). Genius becomes the inspiration to all-pervasiveness, infusing the insight ("genie") of central trope in the entire thinking-experiential process. In a similar vein of reasoning, "pervasiveness" replaces the inadequate concept of "unity." The now thread-worn discussions of "unity in diversity" and the like were never sufficient, especially after Modernism, for the lived experience of what artists attempt in the composition of artworks. The idea of "unity" connotes something feeble, almost expended, when seen as a goal and as it is often taught in art schools, primarily in Bauhaus-derived explanations of relational balancing. In the place of such entropy, the theory of central trope suggests a substitution: "comprehensiveness," the attempted-for omnipresence of one's guiding vision, a dynamic fullness. For example, it seems evident that Jan van Eyck's detailed rendering is not merely a new formal discovery used for its novelty alone. His style uses the dynamism of seeming opposition to energize an integrated vision of life. His realism serves to draw in viewers, suggest transcendence, and justify the individuality of persons and objects with the essence of God. His light is physical, yet does not dissolve; rather, it crystallizes visible reality, being in no way mysterious or overwhelming as in the medieval art before him. Yet the spiritual essence of God would appear to have little to do with a powerfully material world. In this, and other elements, we see that Jan van Eyck is a highly complex painter, in whose work many seemingly contradictory elements are reconciled. His works offers a form of accord far more sophisticated than any notion of unity — and this long before Modernism. I will not deeply analyze his metaphor(m) at this point, but it revolves around his use of light as a materializing The Theory of Central Trope 74 force to embrace and overcome contradiction in what he saw as theological truths and the material world. This conviction suffuses and harmonizes his work: thorough pervasiveness.48 The search for this pervasiveness, tropaic omnipresence, explains a prime form of development and growth in artists. The discovery of one's own metaphor(m) may come in a blinding flash or in gradual steps, but learning to apply it is always a matter of slow work and hard-won experience. Some creators only progress to certain points in this maturational process, winning a few rounds but leaving off the end of the match. Thereby, they may even achieve importance, but not true strength in the Bloomian sense. The novels of James Joyce can be studied as a step-by-step realization of an ever more pervasive metaphor(m), one carried to an apex seldom reached in the history of literature or art. In an ideally consummated approach, the central trope would inhabit each and every decision by a creator. This is the never-ending lustre of the praxis of artistically maturation.49 Continuing this line of discovery, we bring to light another potential revision of a flawed conventional sentiment concerning creativity. "Reduction" has been touted at times as the sacred goal of the arts. Beyond a doubt, as creators mature their works frequently become not only allusively richer, but more concentrated. As comic artists phrase this, it consists in "learning what to leave out."50 While many authors have expressed a similar perception, the truth of this is so concretely evident in illustrative (i.e. "realistic" as opposed to humorous style) comic artists' works. Many begin their careers working in tightly, often overly-detailed styles — perhaps in order to achieve renown. By the late phases of their careers, many draw with far fewer lines, yet with much richer expression. How do we retain this fine observation concerning reduction, but subtract the level of self-mortification it reached in Late Modernism? Reduction must be recognized not as a goal, but as a means — to embodied metaphor(m). Reduction is redefined by the theory of central trope as an example in use of H.
Paul Grice's "Maxim of Quantity." This rule is simple: "Be as informative as is required and not more so."51 Lakoff and Turner use this idea to clarify a guiding principle of the creation of new metaphors, explaining their elegance and understandability; however it also deciphers the issue of reduction in the arts. As creators develop, their use of their metaphor(m)s becomes more encompassing, as just described. Concomitantly, as pervasiveness expands, artists and authors become more aware of extraneous elements in their works, i.e. ones which do not assist, or may even be detracting from, the central trope. Hence, these are extracted from the mix. This fuller account of reduction denies subtraction for its own sake. Important is the A fine discussion of light can be found in Millard Meiss, "Light as Form and Symbol in Some Fifteenth-Century Paintings," Art Bulletin vol.27, No. 3, (September 1945), pp. 175-81.
I am purposefully using Ralph Waldo Emerson’s word lustre in his spelling, although it is archaic in America. An insightful comment on this concept is in Bloom's Agon, p. 229.
This assertion, or variations on it, appear quite frequently in interviews with older comic-book artists in The Comics Journal (Seattle: Fantagraphics Books), one of the few serious critical publications in the field. Similarly, Jim Vandeboncoeur discusses this on his website page for famous comic artist Alex Toth.
He writes that comics editor Sol Harrison "was a tough task master who instilled in Toth the second part of his lifelong mantra: 'simplify, simplify, simplify.' … Harrison insisted that Alex learn what to omit from his art. 'Wellll, Alex, ' Toth once quoted Sol Harrison as saying, 'it's all rrightt, but you still don't know what to leave out. ' "Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr, Alex Toth Homepage, http://www.bpib.com/illustra3/Toth/toth.html, 2006, last accessed 23 November, 2009.
Lakoff and Turner, More than Cool Reason, p. 171. This idea was first espoused by H. Paul Grice in 1961 in his essay "The Causal Theory of Perception," Aristotelian Society, supp. vol. 35, 121-52. Rpt. in Perceiving, Sensing, and Knowing, ed. Robert J. Swartz (Garden City, N Y.: Doubleday--Anchor, 1965), pp. 438-72.
The Theory of Central Trope 75 necessary increase in abundance which it indirectly serves. Reduction is the drive to leave out what does not contribute to the metaphor(m).
Considerations of Terminology It might be argued that my theory is anticipated in some other terminology which is already in place in poetics, hence there is no need to create new coinage; an older one could
merely be expanded. One of these existing literary terms could be broadened in purport:
conceit, image, scheme, style, or extended metaphor. One of the terms of more recent coinage could be converted, such as aegis, perruque, or meme. These varieties of other "large" tropes are occasionally quite useful, yet I find each unclear or inadequate for my purposes.
A conceit is a complex metaphor which runs through the entire body of a single work, usually a metaphysical poem. It seldom goes further than this. Besides not being broad enough, a conceit is often conspicuously improbable. It is symbolic in a lopsidedly witty fashion, yet can be fun, as I enjoy applying it in my chapters. It is a purposefully inorganic measure used to create an abstracted hook on which to hang a work.
While conceit is too narrow, the term image encompasses far too much, making it of little use in a theory of trope. It can mean a metaphor itself, a concrete anecdotal reference, a symbol, a recurrent motif, or a specific "snapshot" of everyday experience (as in the literary poetic movement Imagism). In this paper it is used in the standard non-literary way, meaning a mental picture of something.
Scheme has always been difficult to nail down, being intricately intertwined in poetics with figure, trope and meter. Generally, it is used nowadays to describe a conceptual structuring of allusion which somewhat resembles the mathematical structuring of syllables called meter. A scheme is an applied order, perhaps a bit forced, used throughout a single work, or a section of a larger work. It has never been seen as extending throughout an entire oeuvre. In short, it is a one-shot plan.
Style denotes a broad formal concern. It evokes notions that seem too fortuitous for theoretical use in metaphor theory. Stylistics would, of course, include the study of metaphor(m)s. However, style is not precise or intentional enough to be descriptively instrumental in the way I wish. It suggests the entire "package of delivery" of some content. It sounds somehow independent of meaning, yet dependent on whims of the personality.
Unfortunately, the word style can call to mind no more than un-willed, unintentional, individual tics of expression. I do not believe this to be true of an artist's style and would not like to suggest it. A rigorously integral and achieved style is the opposite of this; it is precise in its connotations. Due to style's associations, the word has been avoided as a general term.