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Figures of a Changing WorldMetaphor and the Emergence of Modern Culture$
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Harry Berger, Jr.

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257478

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257478.001.0001

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Metaphor and Metonymy in the Middle Ages

Metaphor and Metonymy in the Middle Ages

Aquinas and Dante

(p.82) Nine Metaphor and Metonymy in the Middle Ages
Figures of a Changing World

Harry Berger

Fordham University Press

This chapter cites a few of Dante Alighieri's literary passages in which his terms hold an edge of metaphoric enhancement but are primarily metonymic; the naturalizing effect of transmission mechanisms being one of the factors that contribute to the referential and metonymic force of his terms. In addition, St. Thomas Aquinas supports the theory that reality transcends language. The literal level of language refers to the four preexisting and preverbal levels of reality: historical, figural, moral, and mystical. These levels are arranged to allow language to move metonymically between them. Dante and Aquinas appealed to three principles in addressing the literary passages—containment, attraction, and manifestation—all of which interrelate different parts of the universe in terms of parallelism, hierarchy, and causality.

Keywords:   Dante Alighieri, St. Thomas Aquinas, historical reality, figural reality, moral reality, mystical reality, containment, attraction, manifestation

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