Metaphor Time


In describing the feeling of happiness given by an unforced memory, the narrator is in a way providing the emotional power of the metaphor in art.

[The writer] can describe a scene by describing one after another the innumerable objects which at a given moment were present at a particular place, but truth will be attained by him only when he takes two different objects, state the connexion between them–a connexion analogous in the world of art to the unique connexion which in the world of science is provided by the law of  causality–and encloses them in the necessary links of a well-wrought  style; truth–and life  too–can be attained by us only when, by comparing a quality common to two sensations, we succeed in extracting their common essence and in reuniting them to each other, liberated from the  contingencies of time, within a metaphor. (VI,289)

His definition of metaphor is very similar to that of the unforced memory, which also escapes “the contingencies of time.”

But let a noise or a scent, once heard or once smelt, be heard or smelt again in the present and at the same time in the past, real without being actual, ideal without being abstract, and immediately the permanent and habitually concealed essence of things is liberated…(VI,264)

Metaphor and unforced memory both generate the happiness that comes from escaping time and from discovering the “concealed essense of things.”

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3 Responses to “Metaphor Time”

  1. Yefim Tovbis Says:

    Forced memory…
    Eric Karpeles used the same quote on September 5.

    • Jim Everett Says:

      You are right but that was in a different context, paintings as a metaphor. This post was about unforced memories as metaphor. I might use that same quote again if the occasion arises. Please keep up your attentive reading.

  2. Yefim Tovbis Says:

    Never said there’s something wrong with it 🙂
    Like turning a crystal sphere in your hands – such a joy. I love it.

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