However much he might be identified with cultural and postcolonial studies, Stuart Hall has imparted to students from a range of interdisciplines a means of interpretation that is rooted, at last, in metaphor. Hall's writing made imaginative use of language for reasons other than the literal conveyance of meaning, but that is not to say he was interested in metaphors for their own sake. Rather, Hall employed metaphors as an interpretive tool for practicing a kind of inquiry that maintained a careful balance between the immediate objects of his observation and whatever it was those objects might be said to represent in their associative constructions. No matter the artifact he was “reading,” Hall's usual interpretive move was a relational one. In this essay, I explore the metaphorical nature of that relation, drawing parallels between Hall's own method of cultural analysis and those of his like-minded predecessors, including author Herman Melville, literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, and social theorist C. L. R. James.

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