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UAL Research Online

Visual Metaphor and Drawn Narratives

Miers, John William (2017) Visual Metaphor and Drawn Narratives. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Miers, John William

This thesis explores the ways in which the production and comprehension of drawn narratives are structured by metaphorical conceptualisation.

The argument develops from the observation that metaphor theory does not account for the perceptual character of depiction. I begin by focusing on an overlooked distinction between "pictures that are metaphors" and "pictures that have metaphors as their textual content" made by Richard Wollheim. This leads into the elaboration of a theoretical model of depiction-as-metaphor, which contributes to analytic philosophy as well as metaphor studies. In the fourth and fifth chapters, I argue that common nonpictorial drawing devices including speech balloons and motion lines operate as reifications of cognitive construal operations.

Applications of metaphor theory to comics have generally focused on identifying the operation of metaphorical structures previously proposed through research using linguistic corpora. This strategy is frequently employed in the thesis, but I extend it by bringing to bear a wider range of cognitive processes that highlight the role of visual perception in cognition.

My theoretical framework synchronises the accounts of unconscious cognitive processes developed by, in particular, George Lakoff and Lawrence Barsalou, with philosophical accounts of depictive seeing as a self-conscious imaginative use of one’s own perception, amongst which the work of Kendall Walton is highlighted.

The formal study of comics is replete with theoretical frameworks derived from linguistic models of signification, but much less attention has been paid to developing models that approach the artform as a species of drawing rather than writing or literature. My thesis contributes to redressing that imbalance.

My synthesis of depiction and metaphor extends the application of metaphor theory to drawn multimodal texts. The challenges it proposes to the Lakoffian model of metaphorical cognition are in keeping with contemporary scholarship, and contribute to the ongoing work in understanding metaphor’s central role in cognition.

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Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: October 2017
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 11:09
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 15:38
Item ID: 13457
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/13457

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