Blending Workshop, First speaker: Todd Oakley
Literature and the Cognitive Revolution
Blending Session, Third speaker: Joseph Bizup
 

Margaret Freeman
Professor, Department of English, Los Angeles Valley College 
 
Second speaker, Workshop on Conceptual Blending in Literary Representation
 
 
Abstract

'Mak[ing] new stock from the salt':
Poetic Metaphor as Conceptual Blend in Sylvia Plath's "The Applicant"

When it comes to an admittedly complex poem like Sylvia Plath's "The Applicant," it appears that literary tools of analysis such as discourse situation, possible worlds theory, and schema theory can go only so far in explicating the metaphors of the work (Semino 1997). Through a range of examples from Plath's poetry, I seek to show how cognitive poetics, in its inclusion of the theories of mental spaces, conceptual integration, and blending, is a much more powerful tool for illuminating the reticular logic of integrated poetic metaphors. While not all conceptual blends are metaphors, poetic metaphors the tropes around which a literary text is structurally organized to give it coherence are typically blends. The dynamic of tropes in Plath, I suggest, provides us with access to a mode of poetical construction that emphasizes the blend as a real-time simulation, less a structure than the trapeze artist's fleeting linkage of hands.
 
Margaret Freeman
 

Curriculum Vitae

Margaret H. Freeman is Professor of English at Los Angeles Valley College. She holds a BA Honors degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Manchester, and the MA and PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has published several articles on cognitive approaches to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and is currently (July 1998) working on a book length manuscript: Reading Emily Dickinson: Studies in Cognitive Poetics.
 

 

Blending Workshop, First speaker: Todd Oakley
Literature and the Cognitive Revolution
Blending Session, Third speaker: Joseph Bizup