Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save articles in ePub format for your eBook reader…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To save an article in ePub format, look for the ePub reader icon above all articles for logged in users, and click it to quickly save the article, which is automatically downloaded to your computer or device.  (There may be times when due to font sizes and other original formatting, the page may overflow onto a second page.).

You can also easily save to PDF format, a journal like printed format.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Sharpe, E.F. (1940). Psycho-Physical Problems Revealed in Language: An Examination of Metaphor. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 21:201-213.

(1940). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 21:201-213

Psycho-Physical Problems Revealed in Language: An Examination of Metaphor

Ella Freeman Sharpe

I propose to deal in this paper with one aspect of psycho-analytical treatment, namely, the value of understanding the metaphorical language used by articulate patients. Words both reveal and conceal thought and emotion. In psycho-analytical treatment our task is often that of getting through barrages of words to the sense experience and the associated thoughts. But words too can reveal the union of these and we are greatly helped if we believe this and can recognize the revealing phrase. Metaphor fuses sense experience and thought in language. The artist fuses them in a material medium or in sounds with or without words. The principle is metaphor.

Metaphor has been a subject of debate and investigation from Aristotle to our own time. One of the latest exponents expresses himself thus: 'The investigation of metaphor is curiously like the investigation of any of the primary data of consciousness; it cannot be pursued very far without our being led to the borderline of sanity. Metaphor is as ultimate as speech itself, and speech as ultimate as thought.'

One explanation of metaphor has been that it reveals the divine in man and that his spiritual qualities and aspirations find expression in language that has a concrete significance. For example, 'My spirit flew in feathers then' is according to this view witness to the soaring aspiration of the soul which is forced in language to the mundane illustration of a feathered bird in order to illustrate a quality of the spirit.

Psycho-analytical research however endorses the views of those who from the definition of metaphor as 'a transference of a word to a sense different from its signification' maintain that the displacement is from physical to psychical and not vice versâ. 'No word', says Grindon, 'is metaphysical without its having first been physical.'

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.