Tropes, Parables and Performatives: Essays on Twentieth-Century Literature
By: J. Hillis Miller
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Throughout these essays Miller is fascinated with the tropological dimension of literary language, with the way figures of speech turn aside the telling of a story or the presentation of a literary theme. The exploration of this turning leads to the recognition that all works of literature are parabolic, "thrown beside" their real meaning. They tell one story but call forth something else.
Miller further agrees that all parables are fundamentally performative. They do not merely name something or give knowledge, but rather use words to make something happen, to get the reader from here to there. Each essay here attempts to formulate what, in a given case, the reader perfomatively enters by way of parabolic trope.
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