Skip to main content

The study examines the significance of metaphors in the process of literary communication, focusing especially on the ways in which authors conceptualise their writing and project themselves and their works in the public domain. The approach to metaphor is grounded in cognitive linguistics, and the framework of debate for German poetics is established with reference to the classical canon. The role of conceptual metaphors in German poetics is investigated in three main sections, focusing on the anthropological universals that facilitate communication across time and different literary cultures; the role of tradition and the structures that create communal identities; and 'moments' in German literary history ranging from the 9th-century monk Otfrid to the internet project "". One purpose of the project is to demonstrate that concepts such as 'breaks', 'thresholds' and 'autonomy' in German literary historiography are normative metaphors motivated by specific interests and traditions rather than timeless truths, and that the metaphors of literary scholarship require ongoing reconfiguration if they are to be responsive to developments in literature.