Between the Labyrinth and the Way of Light: Early Modern Metaphors of Knowledge and Johannes Amos Comenius

30.09-03.10.2020, Tagung, Prag

In his “baroque” novel The Island of the Day Before, Umberto Eco devoted a chapter to a debate about metaphors. A learned Jesuit, Padre Emanuele, praises metaphors as “the most acute and farfetched among Tropes”, as the very quintessence of ingenium, which consists “in connecting remote Notions & finding Similitude in things dissimilar” and produces Wonder, while enabling us to learn “new things without effort & many things in small volume”.

The aim of this conference is twofold. Its first purpose is to discuss and analyse metaphors representing scholarship, learning and knowledge in early modern scholarly discourse. We would like to focus on their multiplicity, function and ambivalent standing. A possible starting point is the well-known cognitive concept of metaphor according to which this trope is not only a linguistic adornment of poetic language but also an important tool of cognition.

As its second aim, the conference will focus on Johannes Amos Comenius and his works in order to mark the 350th anniversary of his death. Comenius, like his contemporaries, enjoyed making use of rich figurative language. In his texts, he employed a number of metaphors through which he conceptualized not only knowledge, learning, memory and the universe.

Tagungsort: Philosophisches Institut der Tschechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

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