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The Full Severity of CompassionThe Poetry of Yehuda Amichai$
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Chana Kronfeld

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804782951

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804782951.001.0001

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Living on the Hyphen

Living on the Hyphen

The Necessary Metaphor

(p.225) Five Living on the Hyphen
The Full Severity of Compassion

Chana Kronfeld

Stanford University Press

Metaphor embodies Amichai's principle of “in-between-ness” and has a significance within his poetic system that far exceeds the rhetorical. Chapter Five focuses on metaphor as the central marker of liminality, the hyphen of survival and resistance: it must never erase that hyphen, the marker of the disparate domains which it brings together (hence his preference for simile), even while it strives to make the gap between these domains productive of meaning. The ways Amichai's metaphors resist the erasure of difference critiques the vestiges of poststructuralist views, and offer an alternative model based on a historicized, context-sensitive reworking of prototype semantics. Amichai's images, while as novel and surprising as those of any 17th-century metaphysical poet, nevertheless strike us as completely “right,” as visually and experientially familiar, because of their perceptually primary basis and the extensive and rigorous mapping they provide for the distant source and target domains.

Keywords:   Yehuda Amichai, Metaphor, Simile, Liminality, Hyphen, Difference, Image Schema

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