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The Representation of Negative Mental States in the Poetry of John Keats: A Cognitive Approach to His Metaphors of Depression

AL-JUMAILI, YASIR A. (2018) The Representation of Negative Mental States in the Poetry of John Keats: A Cognitive Approach to His Metaphors of Depression. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Much previous research on the representation of depression and melancholy in the poetry of John Keats has taken a biographical approach, judging his poetry with reference to known facts about his life. This study is different. It takes a cognitive perspective in which metaphors of negative mental states are analysed from a conceptual point of view. To do this I adopt current approaches to analysing metaphor, primarily Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Conceptual Integration Theory (CIT). I make use of identification procedures and the analysis of the following elements: source domains, conceptual metaphors, and cross-domain mappings. The study is based on a selection of poems; only the parts that relate to negative mental states are analysed. I begin by focusing on two poems (‘To Hope’ and ‘Ode to a Nightingale’) while testing my methodology, and then I broaden my focus to a Keats’s whole collection of poems in the final stage of my research. Analysing such metaphorical expressions enables me to find out how these states are constructed through metaphors and what concepts are used in representing them. The cognitive methodology has proven to be a useful tool to account for the metaphorical representations of negative mental states in Keats’s poetry. The analytical investigation shows that Keats represents these abstract states in different ways. Through personification and reification, they are associated with various experiences from different domains that involve concrete and physical actions. Beside the recurrent conventional domains of darkness, gloom, cloud, weight and burden, Keats also represents negative mental states in terms of sickness. The technical medical knowledge provided to him through his former profession as a medical student enables him to establish a connection between physical illness and negative mental states. Fever, sickness, pain, ache, drowsiness and numbness are prolific domains for Keats to conceptualize negative mental states. Having established this valuable methodology, I consider future ways of applying it to study other metaphors in Keats.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Conceptual Integration Theory (Blending), Cross-domain Mapping, Negative Mental States, Keats.
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.745682
Depositing User: Mr YASIR A. AL-JUMAILI
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 08:14
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:04
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20691

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