Marcia Karp wrote:
> Mightn't a metaphor both contract and extend the actual? Aristotle's (was
> it his?) "the ship plows the waves" draws attention to an aspect of the ship
> that is outside usual attention and reminds us, as well, of the farmer and the
> land (extension), but it narrows attention (contracts) to that aspect.
(I think it was Homer's to begin with?) Kenner's discussion of this
metaphor (which he claimed, if I remember correctly, was the way the
Aristotelian concept of metaphor should be understood) was quite
It did not, he argued, compare _either_ the sea to a field or a ship to
a plow. Rather it compared two _actions_: the action of the plow moving
through the ground with the action of a ship moving through the sea.
This makes sense of Aristotle's praise of metaphor as showing the
recognition of resemblances. There isn't really any very interesting
resemblance between ship and plow or field and sea -- but to identify
the two actions really creates a new word and a new referent for that
word. A (football) runner plows through the line. A shopper plows
through the crowd. The thinker plows through the web of details. The
metaphor identifies a genus (not recognized before) of which all these
actions are species.