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Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association

Editor-in-Chief: Stefanowitsch, Anatol / Schoenefeld, Doris

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“Oft in my face he doth his banner rest”

War as a pervasive metaphor in early English literature

Timo Lothmann
Published Online: 2015-11-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2015-0004


This paper aims to shed light on the influence that metaphors of war as used in Pauline writings had on early English literature. The particular metaphorical exploitation of the semantic field of war fell on fertile ground in English contexts. For instance, the motifs of genuine English heroic poetry lent themselves well to be a canvas for a ‘religious turn’ in metaphor interpretation. To illustrate this process, selected examples from Old to Present-Day English are discussed from a cognitive linguistics perspective. The findings suggest that the forging of an English poetry tradition was accompanied by a continually recontextualising use of war metaphors. Finally, the analysis of the text samples is embedded into a model of general metaphor incorporation in literature.

Keywords: conceptual metaphor; contextualisation; English literature; poetry; war metaphor

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Published Online: 2015-11-24

Published in Print: 2015-11-27

Citation Information: Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 51–70, ISSN (Online) 2197-2796, ISSN (Print) 2197-2788, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2015-0004.

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© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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