Publication details [#5966]

Hoffman, Robert R. 1997. Review of 'The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding'. Raymond Gibbs. 1994. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, ix + 527 pages, $59.95 (cloth), $19.95 (soft cover). Metaphor and Symbol 12 (1) : 81–83.
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Psycholinguistics has needed a book like this for some time. We have lots of books serving as resources on metaphor from philosophy (e.g., Hesse, 1966; Leary, 1990; Leatherdale, 1974; MacCormac, 1976; Ricoeur, 1977), from the standpoint of linguistic and cross-cultural studies (e.g., Henle, 1958; Jackendoff, 1990; Lakoff, 1987), on psycholinguistics (e.g., Haskell, 1987; Honeck & Hoffman, 1980; Ortony, 1979), and volumes far too numerous to mention on special topics such as metaphor in psychotherapy, in art, and in historiography. The Gibbs book is an authored integration of cognitive theories of metaphor in the context of psychological research conducted over the last 20 years or so. And the topic is not limited to metaphor but embraces all the work on proverbs, idioms, irony, metonymy, and other figures of speech. Gibbs, of course, has been engaged in research on language comprehension since the late 1970s and has focused on conversational idioms, indirect requests, and language development. Pound for pound, Gibbs has probably conducted more experiments on nonliteral language comprehension than anyone else. (Robert Hoffman)