Journal Article

THE PUN OR THE EUCHARIST?: ECO AND KRISTEVA ON THE CONSUMMATE MODEL FOR THE METAPHORIC PROCESS

Kathleen O'Grady

in Literature and Theology

Volume 11, issue 1, pages 93-115
Published in print March 1997 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 1997 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/11.1.93
THE PUN OR THE EUCHARIST?: ECO AND KRISTEVA ON THE CONSUMMATE MODEL FOR THE METAPHORIC PROCESS

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This paper examines the theory of the metaphoric process in the semiotic systems of Umberto Eco and Julia Kristeva. Eco highlights the pun, while Kristeva favours the eucharist, as the defining practice of the metaphoric process. This Study primarily concentrates on the models employed by each thinker to delineate their theory of metaphor, and to a lesser degree, metonymy. I examine in detail the implications of each model for a more complete understanding of the tension that exists between their respective semiotic theories. In addition, I provide a literary reading of the language adopted by Eco and Kristeva to explicate their theory of metaphor. I link the mechanistic and computer imagery of Eco to his Peircean understanding of ‘unlimited semiosis’, but also to his refusal to accomodate any extended discussion of the signifying subject in the semiotic field.Kristeva's religious and corporeal imagery, on the other hand, is indicative of her insistence on the inclusion of the speaking subject in any theory of language. I demonstrate that Kristeva's Proustian inspires understanding of metaphor, with the eucharist as a distinguished type, provides her with a markedly Christian ethical model of the psychic operations of the subject. I conclude with an examination of the bounds of the semiotic study itself.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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