In this article, the author analyzes spatial metaphors for voice in the work of Herta Müller. His analysis shows how she evokes spatial experience to convey her vision of voice. Drawing on conceptual metaphor theory and Viktor Shklovsky’s concept of defamiliarization, the author argues that Müller defamiliarizes conventional spatial language used to make sense of voice. She encourages her readers to recognize the figurative meaning of such language and invites them to build new and original associations between space and voice. The analysis focuses on verticality, figure-ground organization, motion, and container image schema as source domains for voice. The author’s research demonstrates that voice is associated with different sensory experiences and does not exist as a purely acoustic image. He claims that metaphorical conceptualization helps understand voice because the latter has different meanings depending on the context and is a complex physical, linguistic, and cultural phenomenon. The article concludes that Müller both relies on and defamiliarizes the tentative yet motivated association between space and voice.
Defamiliarization of Spatial Metaphors for Voice in the Work of Herta Müller
Pavlo Shopin is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the Department of Slavic and Hungarian Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin. His articles have appeared in the Slavic and East European Journal, Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, Journal of Literary Semantics, Modern Language Review, German Life and Letters, Oxford German Studies, and Monatshefte.
Pavlo Shopin; Defamiliarization of Spatial Metaphors for Voice in the Work of Herta Müller. Poetics Today 1 December 2020; 41 (4): 641–668. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-8720113
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