Publication details [#4994]

Gibbs, Raymond W., Jr. 1994. The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding. Cambridge , UK: Cambridge University Press . ix, 537 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


This book consists of 10 chapters that consider recent empirical findings from the field of cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, and developmental psychology in an exploration of the connection between poetic imagination and human cognitive processes. The widely accepted notion that language and thought are essentially literal is challenged, with reference to studies in cognitive science that reveal evidence of figurative processes at work where previous literal processes were posited. The role of literal meaning in comprehending figurative language is discussed, disputing the traditional pragmatic approach to understanding figurative language. The prevalence of metaphor in all areas of thought and language is discussed, and major theoretical views of verbal metaphor comprehension are reviewed and evaluated. Experimental work on the understanding of idioms and proverbs suggests that common metaphorical knowledge is basic to idiom and proverb comprehension. Metaphor is compared to metonymy, and the use of irony and oxymora in conceptualizing incongruous situations is investigated. Studies demonstrating children's ability to use and comprehend figurative discourse are overviewed, and directions for future studies related to the poetics of mind are suggested. (Copyright 1995, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.) (C. Brennan in LLBA 1995, vol. 29, n. 3) Chapter 1. Introduction and Overview Chapter 2. Thinking and Speaking Literary Chapter 3. Figurative Language Understanding: A Special Process Chapter 4. Metaphor in Language and Thought Chapter 5. Understanding Metaphorical Expressions Chapter 6. Idiomaticity Chapter 7. Metonymy Chapter 8. Irony Chapter 9. The Poetic Minds of Children Chapter 10. Implications and Future Directions