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Time and Cognition in Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress”

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Andrew Marvell’s poem “To his coy mistress” has generally been taken as one more example of the carpe diemtradition in literature. This tradition makes use of time metaphors, especially time is a resource. However, we find that Marvell exploits this and other time metaphors in ways that go beyond the traditional understanding of the carpe diemmotif. We first give an overview of the treatment of the notion of time within Conceptual Metaphor Theory, which is then applied to the understanding of central thematic and structural aspects of the poem. We stress the importance of the metaphors time is a resource, time moves, events are actionsand a cluster of metaphors revolving around the carpe diemmotif. Finally, the paper discusses how Marvell imaginatively organizes what otherwise would be considered mere stock metaphors into an intricate logical network specifically tailored to sustain an argumentative line.

Affiliations: 1: Universidad de la Rioja, ; 2: Universidad de la Rioja,


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