‘Moving on the waters’
Metaphor and mental space in Ralegh’s History of the World
in Literary and visual Ralegh
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Sir Walter Ralegh's rhetorical purposes in The History of the World were clearly overdetermined. This chapter explores how cognitive approaches can help literary study engage with texts as, in part, the productions of individual minds, and not of historical and cultural forces alone. As is apparent from the context in which he proposes the metaphor, Ralegh's purpose is to explain away the antagonism towards him. He offers a blended conception in which antagonism toward the writer is fused with that toward the pedestrian. On the one hand Ralegh is simply recapitulating the widespread early modern premise, adopted from Protagoras, that 'Man is the measure of all things'. On the other hand, from a modern and secular rather than a Renaissance Christian-humanist perspective, he seems also to ratify cognitive-theoretical postulates.

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