What is it about?

We briefly introduce each of the chapters in the volume, noting that the guiding principle running through the chapters is a consideration of which modes play a role in the identification and interpretation of the metaphors studied. Almost invariably, this entails taking into account the genre to which the discourse featuring a multimodal metaphor belongs: advertisements, political cartoons, comics, animation, musical compositions, oral conversations and lectures, feature films. A third recurring dimension is the extent to which a metaphor is not only embodied but also governed by the cultural or professional community in which it functions.

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Why is it important?

This is the first book-length study on multimodal metaphor, a quickly developing branch of metaphor studies within the cognitivist paradigm.


Within the cognitivist paradigm, I was one of the first scholars to theorize and discuss pictorial/visual metaphor (Forceville 1996). One of the subtypes I distinguished was "verbo-pictorial metaphor" -- in which one of the two terms of the metaphor (usually its target) was presented visually, while the other term (usually its source) was presented in written language. I later realized calling verbo-pictorial metaphor a subtype of visual metaphor was misleading. It was more correct to consider this a subtype of multimodal metaphor. This realization marked the shift in my work from purely visual to multimodal metaphor. The present co-edited volume contains chapters from a variety of metaphor scholars testing this idea in their own medium/genre of expertise.

Dr Charles Forceville
Universiteit van Amsterdam

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This page is a summary of: Chapter 1. Introduction, September 2009, De Gruyter, DOI: 10.1515/9783110215366.1.3.
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