Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quotes from some reviews of Metaphors We Live By (1980)

From Mitchell Silver's review (1982) in Leonardo:
I believe Metaphors We Live By only articulates and details a form of subjectivism. The subjectivism they reject is a naive, caricatured doctrine. It seems to me that their theses are wholly compatible with the more sophisticated subjectivisms of W. V. O. Quine and Nelson Goodman. (Oddly, they categorize Quine as an objectivist.) (p. 323)
From Barbara M. H. Strang's review (1982) in The Modern Language Review:
[...] one of the issues evaded in the book is the curious one of how we know --- for, epigrams apart, we generally agree --- which is the 'literal' and which the 'metaphorical' meaning.  (p. 135)
From a lively, sensible beginning (less revolutionary that [sic] we had been led to expect) the book moves into a series of essays, capable of throwing light, but drawing vast conclusions from casual evidence. (p. 135)
[...] vast conclusions can be drawn from suggestive, carefully chosen instances. (p. 135)
A golden opportunity has been lost by the resort to inflated and sweeping claims, and to huge leaps from particular instances to vast conclusions (p. 136).
From Robert Greene's review (1981) in Comparative Literature:
It all sounds very Deweyan (p. 1178).
But there seems to be some confusion over which part of the tradition they are actually opposing. They may be closer to Aristotle and Plato than they think. (p. 1178)
He also emphasizes that there often is some uncertainty about whether a certain utterance is a metaphor or not (p. 1175).

From Max Black's review (1981) in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism:
[...] a reader cannot fail to be provoked and stimulated. (p. 208)
[...] their reiterated psychological or mentalistic emphasis, does no effective work. (p. 209)
[They refer to "experience":] But we are told nothing about what these "experiences" are: referral to the mental simply serves here to mask the absence of a needed explanation. (p. 209)
[With respect to the ARGUMENT IS WAR data:] one might end just as plausibly, with the alternative formulas, AN ARGUMENT IS A DUEL or, VERBAL DISPUTE IS A BATTLE.  (p. 209)
[About "win and lose arguments":] This argument, if it deserves to be called such, is patently circular. (p. 209)
[...] the copious literature on metaphor is almost completely ignored (p. 210).
From John M. Lawler's review (1983) in Language:
When L&J mention people like Whorf, Sapir, Fillmore, Winograd, Wittgenstein, Malinowski, Levi-Strauss, and Ricoeur as intellectual forebears, and then neglect them in the bibliography, they are doing readers a disservice. It would be a significant improvement in future editions to provide an augmented bibliography. (p. 204)
From Michael K. Smith's review (1982) in American Speech:
Within the limits of current American linguistics, their approach is not only novel but perhaps even revolutionary. Considering the broader fields of Western philosophy and language of the entire twentieth century, however, their critiques of both OBJECTIVISM and SUBJECTIVISM are extremely sketchy and do not use to full advantage the more detailed criticisms of these positions which have been made by much of modern philosophy. (pp. 130-31)
Thus, without a systematic strategy for collecting evidence, Lakoff and Johnson seriously undermine the generality of their own arguments. (p. 131)
These two books [by Ullmann and Stern] are not only broader and better researched discussions of metaphor, but they also emphasize one aspect of metaphor that Lakoff and Johnson don't give full scope to: the importance of the human body in many metaphoric transfers. (p. 132)
As a serious scholarly work, then, this book has shortcomings, with the most important a lack of adequate appreciation for prior research (p. 132).
The review also contains references to a large number of very interesting works in American linguistics that precede Lakoff and Johnson's book.

From Wayne C. Booth's review (1983) in Ethics:
It is written in a style so plain as to suggest labels like "ordinaries," or "linguistish." The sentences plod along like those in bad high school textbooks (p. 621).
When they do hazard metaphors [...] they do not in general turn their analysis back upon themselves. Perhaps if they had done so, they would have recognized something about both the relative poverty of their style and the seriousness of their neglect of traditions of literary and rhetorical theory. (p. 621)
[...] the authors seem unaware of just how badly they oversimplify some issues. (p. 621)
He explicitly mention's Dewey's Art As Experience and Ricoeur as references that lack (p. 621). He also blames it for "limited perspective" and "pedestrian [...] style" (p. 621).

1 comment :

  1. Great compilation about metaphor quotes. I have compiled some quotes from you. Thanks for sharing.