Interest in literature, culture, and thought, although deeply rooted in ancient
traditions, emerges as a modern issue sustained by contemporary theories of
language and cognition. This thesis aims to bring together the study of poetry
and current debates regarding the centrality of metaphor within the cognitive
paradigm as approached by Cognitive Poetics. The purpose is to show that
underlying Neruda’s poems, particularly his poetic love metaphors, there is a
consistent structure that ties together his conceptualisation of emotion. This
structure is a folk cognitive model: the Model of Love that is activated by
certain conceptual metaphors via various love scenarios throughout the poet’s
This investigation moves away from the purely tropological
interpretations characteristic of previous analyses that emphasise critics’ own
coherent prototypical readings. After Amado Alonso (1940), studies on
Neruda’s language tend to highlight the rhetorical nature of his literary style.
It is the aim of this thesis to put forward an original interpretation of the
poet’s love language that brings closer literature and emergent theories of
cognition from an interdisciplinary stance.
The thesis is divided into three chapters. Following the Introduction,
Chapter 1 reviews a series of central points concerning salient theories of
metaphor, and its current status in contemporary thought. Attention is
focused on its phenomenological and epistemological implications, such as
the entrenchment of the emotion of love in human physiology and in
environmental factors, and its embodiment in the poetic love lexicon. This is
achieved in Chapter 2 through the analysis of an ontology of cases from the
poet’s book CSA in order to highlight what central metaphors evoke a series of love scenarios. Chapter 3 presents the Model of Love with attention to its
genesis, functioning, and characteristics.
The ideas behind this investigation are in tune with the work by literary
criticism, although the procedure for metaphor analysis is loosely based on
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s analysis of the love metaphor (1980, 1989),
integrating Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner’s theory of conceptual
blending (2002). The model of love proposed in this thesis is largely based on
Roy D’Andrade’s Folk Model of the Mind (1995), and Zoltán Kövecses’
metaphor and emotion approach to the study of the love metaphor (2000).
Looking into Neruda’s love lyric under a new light, this is the first
research to introduce the Model of Love embodied in the poet’s love lexicon.
It presents a method to assess the poetic love metaphor based on an eclectic
outlook across disciplines that gives a holistic outlook of the poet’s
conceptualisation of the emotion. The approach here is in synchronicity with
prevailing intellectual enterprises enquiring into the nature of human
thought, with an interest in literary products of cognition.