Volume 28, 2011

China's Modenization I

Ying Zhang
Pages 187-197

Metaphor, Poetry and Cultural Implicature

Metaphor has been a feature of poetry for centuries. Some metaphorical phenomena in poetry raise questions for the traditional framework, in which metaphor is a matter of the metaphorical use of individual words. White does not adopt the traditional view. He intro­duces a sentence-approach instead. I argue that the alleged phenomena occur in the Chinese poetry as well. I argue further, that White’s structure of representing metaphor can be used to analyze metaphor in the Chinese poetry, but that it must be constructed on the basis of working out the relevant cultural implicatures. In effect, interpreting a metaphor involves generating the cultural implicature where a literary quotation is being alluded to, because the quotation acts as the key to understanding the metaphor in the poetry.