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Why The Rule of Metaphor?

beginning,book,clock,life,metaphor,the,book,of,life-90bf7c739b718491e480e40bf3471e4a_h_largeSome days ago, I made a comment on the title of the English edition of Paul Ricoeur’s La Métaphore Vive. Well, for those interested  here is the answer of Robert Czerny, the translator; a very nice and welcomed answer. I copy here our respective emails:

Dear Robert,

I wish to make a comment on your title translation (The Rule of Metaphor).
I think La Métaphore Vive is a fantastic theory of hermeneutics at the opposite side of the question of “rule”. If there is something far away from the meaning of “rule”, or “norm”, that is the theory of Paul Ricoeur concerning linguistics. Even a first sight to the words “rule” and “living” shows something wrong with these two words, something unlikely. Indeed Ricoeur is concerned with the most intuitive sense of meaning; the one  blooming at its very perception, which is alive. There is no sense of rule in Ricoeur’s theory of metaphor but sense of endlessly becoming; newness; creation; life. Until some point, rule is death, or at least there is a very first intuition to join rule with lack of creativity, that is, with compliance, uniformity, conservatism, death. 
 
What do you think of that? Why not just a translator like The Living Metaphor?
 
Best wishes,
Aina Marti 
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Dear Aina, you are absolutely right about the title.
In fact, I explain the curious title in the third paragraph of the translator’s foreword (I assume it is still there, but perhaps some publishers have removed it – it was in the first edition). The explicit reference to Aristotle is the main clue. I could have added that “Therefore the ‘rule’ is that there is no rule!” but that would be like explaining a joke, and explained jokes are painful.
This humorous, almost oxymoronic title had Paul Ricoeur’s approval. I had the privilege of getting to know him (and his wife) personally in the Fall of 1972 and Fall 1973. He asked me to do the translation in late Fall 1973. He had a good sense of humour, and he liked the irony of the title. (One might also say, the error of the title, if one takes it literally.) Charles Reagan, who has written on Ricoeur, also questioned the title along the same lines as yourself. These are the only two objections I have heard.
Needless to say, I agree with all you say about metaphor according to Ricoeur: blooming, newness, creativity… That is why I added the subtitle (also with his approval – it does not exist in the French) that mentions “creation of meaning in language”.
How did you get to know this book? How does it fit into your interests, studies or work?
With best wishes, Robert

Practical Information on Ricoeur’s Theory Today

paul chez lui, dans la salle 2(2)For those interested in Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics and aesthetics, I am glad to show you important projects in which Ricoeur gives a significant base to see how the last research projects develop, especially in the realm of aesthetics.

http://cral.ehess.fr/index.php?1333

Moreover, there is emerging a great bibliography source on Ricoeur in cooperation with Sorbonne University and L’Ecole d’Haut Etudes:

http://www.fondsricoeur.fr/intro.php

All that just shows how important the influence of this philosopher was and is; all kind of contribution will be very welcome for the academic world.

Ricoeur and his Wonderful Worlds

PAUL_RICOEUR_2__c__louis_MonierThe Rule of Metaphor is a betraying translation for La Métaphore Vive (1975), a fantastic theory of hermeneutics at the opposite side of the question of “rule”. If there is something far away from the meaning of “rule”, or “norm”, that is the theory of Paul Ricoeur concerning linguistics. Even a first sight to the words “rule” and “living” shows something wrong with these two words, something unlikely. Indeed Ricoeur is concerned with the most intuitive sense of meaning; the one  blooming at its very perception, which is alive. There is no sense of rule in Ricoeur’s theory of metaphor but sense of endlessly becoming; newness; creation; life. Until some point, rule is death, or at least there is a very first intuition to join rule with lack of creativity, that is, with compliance, uniformity, conservatism, death. The translator for the English edition argues: “I have offered The Rule of Metaphor because of its metaphorical suggestiveness.” Well, I wonder if the word “rule” suggests creativity to anyone, which actually means that this writing will probably end in a claiming letter to this intuitive translator.

Coming back to Ricoeur’s living metaphor, one of the most interesting points of this theory is how language is pushed beyond its limits. Metaphor, says Ricoeur, is the expression of a new reality unable of being referred to with ordinary language. In contrast to the theory of substitution according to which metaphor beckons the same reality with other words, Ricoeur argues how metaphor goes beyond it creating another realm of experience, something which escapes common consensus. Thus, every act of reading will be a “possible world”, a new reality whose meaning is not conventional but alive, new; therefore there are no established words to refer to this realm of existence but the new creation of meaning which metaphor allows. The subject is of course totally involved in the deciphering of the metaphor, and it is following the personal mode of being in the world that the metaphor, or the text, shows its meaning.

Metaphor increases the cognitive field, knowledge, but also the affective realm of existence. Feelings as well are involved in the new search for meaning because metaphor produces images through words that provoke feelings. Here the aesthetic field is linked as well to metaphor through the image or icon. Ricoeur argues how in the image the verbal and non-verbal expressions meet each other causing a new meaning which refer to a new reality. Metaphor shows this encounter of the word and the image in a synthesis which actually creates the new concept. Both the word and the image belong to different domains, but both together configures the thought and expand it with new meanings made up by new unions.

Every meaning a reader gives to a text blooms as a new garden in the field of the understanding; human creativity is an infinite source of creation and meaning which actually is a potential new world in the sense of apprehension of reality. The gaze of the subject again shows its power when referring to the reality, both internal and external, as meaning is able to change the perception of the world, and thus, the whole being in the world of one self.