Summer 1943 • Vol. V No. 3 Discussion |

The Structure of Metaphor

Mr. Ransom in an editorial comment entitled “The Inorganic Muses” makes the following observation concerning metaphor: It has proved impossible, I think, to insist that metaphor is a mere expository and economic prose usage; it only has that superficial semblance for the sake of excuse. It leaves the track on the plea of illustration, or analogy, to call attention to another situation or object like the given one; but induces unerringly the image of the other object, and qualities in it which are too bright not to detain us, and distract us. My opposition to this statement is not merely to the use of detracting terms like “detain,” “distract,” “leaves the track,” and “for the sake of excuse.” These seem to me political concessions to prose “structure” (a thing seemingly "lent” poetry by science), which are unfortunate and unnecessary. Though there be a texture which distinguishes poetry from science, and though it be less accessible to analysis and

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