The Metaphor Festival is a yearly event at the English Department, Stockholm University, taking place towards the end of September. It started as internal departmental seminars on the character and occurrence of metaphors, but has grown into an international symposium on figurative language. It is also our intention to publish a volume of articles based on talks at each Festival.
The interest in figurative language – in particular metaphor and recently also metonymy – has increased considerably over the last few decades, especially as a result of the development of cognitive science, which includes studies into natural language semantics and the connection between culture, language and cognition. It also connects to the renewed interest in rhetoric and to subject fields such as text and discourse analysis, narratology, and philosophical paradigms such as phenomenology. In short, the inquiry into the nature and importance of figures of speech for human experience, cognition, social structures, culture, production of artefacts and artistic pursuits, including both literature and other art forms, makes this a broad and varied interdisciplinary field. In particular the connection between linguistic and literary research as regards the exploration into figurative language has been stimulating for colleagues in our department and elsewhere.
Though we appreciate the development and insights in cognitive semantics concerning the basic and dynamic role of figurative thinking and expression, we also welcome other approaches into the character and use of figurative language. We include both tropes and schemes in the notion of figures of speech, and in the Festival we do not merely welcome talks on metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche, but also for instance on simile, oxymoron, antithesis, hyperbole, understatement, punning, irony, and on rhyme schemes and other formal rhetorical devices.