Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
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1457b.1 . . . Every noun is either "ordinary" [Note] or "rare" or "metaphorical" or "ornamental" or "invented" or "lengthened" or "curtailed" or "altered." An "ordinary" word is one used by everybody, a "rare" word one used by some; so that a word may obviously be both "ordinary" and "rare," but not in relation to the same people. σίγυνον, [Note] for instance, is to the Cypriots an "ordinary" word but to us a "rare" one.

Metaphor is the application of a strange term either transferred from the genus and applied to the species or from the species and applied to the genus, or from one species to another or else by analogy. An example of a term transferred from genus to species is "Here stands my ship." Riding at anchor is a species of standing. An example of transference from species to genus is "Indeed ten thousand noble things Odysseus did," for ten thousand, which is a species of many, is here used instead of the word "many." An example of transference from one species to another is "Drawing off his life with the bronze" and "Severing with the tireless bronze," where "drawing off" is used for "severing" and "severing" for "drawing off," both being species of "removing." [Note]

Metaphor by analogy means this: when B is to A as D is to C, then instead of B the poet will say D and B instead of D. And sometimes they add that to which the term supplanted by the metaphor is relative. [Note] 1457b.20For instance, a cup is to Dionysus what a shield is to Ares; so he will call the cup "Dionysus's shield" and the shield "Ares' cup." Or old age is to life as evening is to day; so he will call the evening "day's old-age" or use Empedocles' phrase [Note]; and old age he will call "the evening of life" or "life's setting sun." Sometimes there is no word for some of the terms of the analogy but the metaphor can be used all the same. For instance, to scatter seed is to sow, but there is no word for the action of the sun in scattering its fire. Yet this has to the sunshine the same relation as sowing has to the seed, and so you have the phrase "sowing the god-created fire."

Besides this another way of employing metaphor is to call a thing by the strange name and then to deny it some attribute of that name. For instance, suppose you call the shield not "Ares' cup" but a “wineless cup.” . . . [Note] . . .

An invented word is one not used at all by any people and coined by the poet. There seem to be such words, eg. "sprouters" for horns and "pray-er" for priest.

A word is "lengthened" or "curtailed,"



Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1457a Arist. Poet. 1457b (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1458a

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