CATALYST: Dr. Eve Patten, School of English, TCD.
SEED: Metaphors We Live By
‘Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.’
From ‘The Pylons’, Stephen Spender, Poems 1933.
‘Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination—a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system …is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.’ (Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 1980, 2003)
Engineering Fictions (18/3/14) will be based around a discussion of metaphor – the representation of one thing in terms of another, unrelated thing. Technology experts recognise the importance of metaphor in explaining or illustrating their world to a general public, but what happens when metaphors (or similes) bring with them ambiguity, negativity or added ideas? In this session, led by Dr Eve Patten (School of English) we’ll read three well-known (short!) poems about technology as a basis for thinking further about our often complex responses to metaphoric language.
I’ll bring handouts – looking forward to meeting you all.