A Corpus-based Stylistic Analysis of Body-Soul and Heaviness-Lightness Metaphors in Kundera's Novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Khalid Shakir Hussein, May Ali Abdul Ameer


This paper represents an attempt to conduct a corpus-based stylistic analysis of  two conceptual metaphors in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which is a novel written by Milan Kundera. Soul-body and lightness-heaviness metaphors are foregrounded as being central themes all through the novel. The way such metaphors are used in the novel indicates an insightful employment of metaphor as a cognitive tool which empowers language users with a capacity of conceptualizing different experiences. The researcher adopts conceptual metaphor theory to produce a sort of conceptual analysis incorporating Leech's semantic componential analysis within the overall analytic procedure. Different techniques are figured out in relation to the creative ways of manipulating the cognitive level of language, such as conceptual switching, conceptual extension, and conceptual fusion. These creative techniques are carefully used in the novel under investigation with different ranges of metaphorical creativity. Conceptual switching might be simple but very active in deviating from the conventional conceptual system. Conceptual extension marks certain minute elaborations conventional metaphors undergo extending the limits of cognitive conceptualization. As for conceptual fusion, it proves to be interestingly powerful in producing certain aggregations of metaphorical mappings.

Keywords: Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Metaphorical Creativity, Metaphorical Mappings, Corpus Stylistics        

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