Place deixis and the schematics of imagined space: Milton to Keats

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The infrequent, indefinite, and cumulatively incoherent use of place deixis in the representation even of conceptually unified space is characteristic of the greater English lyric from Milton through the eighteenth century. In these poems, as Balz Engler has suggested, such deixis typically operates for the rhetorical sequencing of entities conceived as themes, rather than for the grounding and interrelation of entities conceived as objects within a represented scene. With the advent of romanticism, however, place deixis begins to appear with greater frequency, density, and variety, to trifold effect. It consolidates the represented scene, collapses that scene with the situation-of-discourse, and thereby reorients lyric attention to the local, relative, and embodied. Adapting recent arguments in spatial cognition and cognitive grammar, this study first describes the general functions of place-deictic schemata in literary cognition and then analyzes their poetic fortunes in relation to the concept of lyric sublimity from Milton to Keats. Copyright © 2005 by the Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics.

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