Macquarie University
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Conceptual metaphors of emotion and narrative realism in Middlemarch and Anna Karenina

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posted on 2022-03-28, 01:17 authored by Kamila Walker
"This thesis analyzes the conventional conceptual metaphors and metonymies of emotions in George Eliot's Middlemarch and Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, by relying on synthesized ideas from Cognitive Linguistics, Literary and Cultural Studies and Psychology, whilst remaining sensitive to the specific historical-cultural settings in which the novels are embedded. The task of this interdisciplinary approach is to bring to light the consistency of English and Russian speakers' common conceptions of shame, pride and anger, by discussing the fictional narratives as instantiations of typical modes of comprehending and talking about emotions. The metaphorical representations of emotions are argued here to give an account of the distinct spatial-temporal context in which they arise, but the inescapable, universal embodied experience causes these representations not to betray any totally unexpected motivational sources: the unity of metaphors of emotions in Middlemarch and Anna Karenina is essentially amenable to actual human physiology. Within this orientation, an inquiry into the biological basis of the figurative language embedded in realist discourse reveals that the novel contributes more to a broader understanding of the so-called "experiential cognition" across the two cultures (tacit knowledge of certain physiological patterns and instinctual impulses specific to a particular emotion) - the larger project of Cognitive Linguistics - than has been previously acknowledged. This study makes use of current Conceptual Metaphor Theory as part of a literary analysis of the two focal novels, to address the questions: 'In what way do metaphors of emotions in Middlemarch and Anna Karenina conform to the universality of biological experience?' and 'How is this metaphoric language of the novels indispensable for communicating a standard for moral conduct in any particular situation?'. It thereby explores how Eliot's and Tolstoy's construction of language is motivated - and constrained - by fairly calculable physiological reactions, and offers a fresh literary analysis that considers the generation of metaphors to be an individual act of artistic creation, one nevertheless that is less distinctly cultural and more definitively biologically-determined." -- Abstract.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Mapping perspectives on emotion in cross-lingual literary texts -- 2. Realism and emotion in the novel -- 3. Emotional engagement with literary fiction: conceptual metaphor -- 4. Shame in the nineteenth-century realist novel: biology, culture and metaphor -- 5. Figuring the two facets of pride to recruit emotional engagement -- 6. Anger metaphors: the rhetoric of self-restraint -- 7. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 281-315 "This thesis is presented for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, Department of English, July 2013".

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Antonina Harbus

Additional Supervisor 1

Marika Kalyuga


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Kamila Walker 2013




1 online resource ([xiii], 315 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:37454 2134125