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BODIES OF BLENDED TIMES:
TIME COMPRESSION FIGURES AND THE IMAGINATION OF THE FUTURE
DAVID A. MATTHEW
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
David A. Matthew
For the One who makes possible a future I had not imagined.
I am grateful to all my teachers and professors who helped a naive reader find
meaning in reading and thinking about texts, and who encouraged me to continue.
I am indebted to Mary Neal Kirkland-Johns, who, through the Kirkland Fellowship
established in memory of the late Professor Edwin C. Kirkland, made it possible for me
to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Florida with greater ease than others.
An aide at the October 2000 Annenberg seminar on second-generation cognitive
science, held at the University of Southern California, single-handedly did more to make
my dissertation possible when she added me to a dinner table that included Gilles
Fauconnier, Mark Johnson, George Lakoff, and Mark Turner. I may have forgotten your
name but not your good deed.
I thank those who, through coglit@yahoogroups. com, have offered advice and
encouragement. I especially thank Mark Turner for heartening communications at a
difficult stage. If this dissertation fails to meet the standards of those doing research in
cognitive approaches to literature, I ask their forbearance; I have been at a decided
disadvantage not working under the closer scrutiny of those in the field.
My dissertation committee members have served me admirably. Anna Peterson
first steered me toward the work of Lakoff and Johnson, setting me down a path toward a
new theory of embodiment that I had not anticipated. Phil Wegner helped me see the
utopian function of my work, and his justifiable wincing at the biologismm" that currently
and too confidently pervades this dissertation has inspired me, in the future, to more
adequately explain and more humbly qualify my claims. Jim Paxson proved a trooper by
agreeing to come on board the committee late in the game. Pamela Gilbert helped first
by asking, early on, "What is the status of the real in your proj ect?" and again, later on,
by taking over the directorship of my dissertation near its eschaton. Alistair Duckworth
is to be rewarded with mille grazies for his tireless patience directing my dissertation
before his retirement set him free.
My dogs-Bonnard and Lucky--kept me aware that our embodied brains are more
alike than different. Through the course of my writing, they offered pleasant diversions
and instructive contemplations just when it seemed I needed them.
The students, staff, and council at the Presbyterian and Disciples of Christ Student
Center in Gainesville graciously allowed me extra time and space to work on this
dissertation; may they not have suffered more than benefited by their lenience. I hope
that they and others who dwell across ecclesia et academia will discover the value of
cognitive theory for matters both sacred and secular.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S ................. .............._ iv..._.__....
LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. .................... ix
AB STRAC T ................ .............. xi
1 INTRODUCTION: FIGURING THE FUTURE IN BODIES OF BLENDED TIMES
The Aim s of Literature ................... ....... .. ....... .. .. ...............1..
The Biblical Sources of Figures That Blend Future and Present. .............. .... ............2
The Prior Question of the Figuring Mind ................. ...............5............ ..
Time in the Theory of Conceptual Metaphor .................. ........... .. ...... .......... .....6
The Theory of Conceptual Integration Networks, or "Blending" Theory .........._......14
A Common Figure of Blended Times: The Conventional Ghost ............... .... ...........21
The Purposes of Figures of Blended Times .................. ... ...... ... ........._._ .....2
The Body's Role in Assessing the Effectiveness of Time Compression Figures.......27
The Uses of Blending Theory in Literary Criticism ........._ .......... ............._..32
Victorians and Time-Compression ................. ...............35........... ....
The Future of Figuration ................. ...............38................
2 CONCEPTUAL ANATOMIES OF MARLEY' S GHOST AND VICTORIAN
DEBATE S ABOUT HELL .............. ...............40....
A Conceptual Anatomy of Marley's Ghost ................. .......___ ..... .............4
Contributing Spaces to the Conceptual Network Containing Marley's Ghost...........42
The Living, Embodied Person ........._.. ....___ .......___ ...........4
The Corpse............... ...............44.
The Soul....................... ..............4
The Soul in the Afterlife ............ ..... .._ ...............48..
Punishment in the Afterlife .............. ...............50....
"I wear the chain I forged in life" ....__ ......_____ ......___ ..........5
The Chain as Instrument of Punishment .................... ........... ...... ........... ....55
The punishment of resurrected bodies at the future Last Judgment. ...........55
The punishment of immortal souls immediately after death.............._._. .....56
"Cashboxes, keys, padlocks [...] and heavy purses wrought in steel" ........._.....58
The Ghost Blend Offers New Meaning at Once Metaphoric and Metonymic ...........59
A Conceptual Anatomy of Victorian Debates about Punishment .............. ................63
Victorian Challenges to Retributive Justice ...................... ......................6
Marley's Ghost: Decompressing Cause and Effect to Disconnected Spaces? ....69
Marley's Ghost: Compressing Penal Cause and Effect within the Individual ....71
Interpreting Scrooge as "Living in the Blend" ............. ...............74.....
3 THE GHOSTLY NUN: TIME COMPRESSION IN GERARD MANLEY
HOPKINTS'S "THE WRECK OF THE DEUTSCHLAND" ................. ...............80
From Sinful Ghost to Saintly Ghost .............. ....... ...............80
Where "The Wreck of the Deutschland" Is Headed ................. .......... .... ........._..81
The Multiple Blend Network That Steers "The Wreck" to Its End ................... .........84
The Input Spaces to the Ghostly Nun Conceptual Integration Network ....................85
The Input Space of the Nuns' Shipwreck and Death ........._.._.. ......._.._......86
The Input Space of the Nun' s Afterlife in Heaven ........._.. ....... ..._.. .........88
The Input Space of Nuptial Intercourse................... .................9
The Blended Space of Nuptial Intercourse and the Nun in Heaven ........._.._.......92
The Blended Space of Nuptial Intercourse and the Nun' s Earthly Shipwreck ...96
Multiple Blend of Blended Spaces: the Bride of Both Earth and Heaven ........101
Compressions Created by the Ghostly Nun Blend ...........__.......__ ..............102
Compression of Times ................. ...............103................
Compressions of Identity ................. ...............105................
Compression of Cause and Effect .................. .... ........... ........108
Multiple Spaces Permit Multiple Readings of "The Wreck" ................ ................111
The Generic Space: The Body Altered by External Force ................. ................. 119
Hopkins and the Phenomenology of Sense Experience .............. ..................126
The Generic Space and the Poem' s Rhetorical Effectiveness ................... ........128
4 EROTIC PROPHECIES, POLITICAL SEDUCTIONS: TIME BLENDING IN
WALT WHITMAN' S SO LONG!" ........... ......................136
From Ghosts "In" the Text to Ghosts "Outside" the Text ................. ................ ..136
Tracing the Directions of Whitman Criticism .............. ... .... .. ........ ................ ..140
Textbook Cases: Leaves of Grass in the MLA Handbook for Teachers ........._._......142
One Direction: Leaves of Grass Conceptualizes Political Life via the Body....143
A Second Direction: Leaves of Grass Conceptualizes the Body via Political
C oncepts ............... .... ... .. .. .. ..... ... .. .. ..... .. .. .. .. ............ 5
The Counterintuitive Strength of the Second Direction: The Body May Be
A b stract ............... ... ......... ........ .... ......... ... .... ... .. ... .......15
A Third Way Proposed: Double-Scope Blending with Dual Directionality .....161
"So Long!" as Double-Scope Blend ................. ...............163..............
The Visionary Orator Frame .............. ...............163....
The Sexual Seduction Frame .......... ................... ...............166 ....
Other Double-Scope Blending in Leaves of Grass ................. .......... .............1 77
Whitman Criticism and Double-Scope Blending .......... ................ ...............185
Whitman' s Contribution to Cognitive Science ......____ ........__ ...............187
Anticipating The Life to Come ............ .....__ ...............188
5 A LEAP, A LINE, A LIFETIME: THE BLENDING OF TIMES IN E. M.
FORSTER' S THE LIFE TO COM~E.. ......__....___ .......__ ..............190
A Leap, a Line, a Lifetime ............... ......__ .......__ ..........19
The Extension of Time Added to the Compression of Time .............. ................1 96
"The Other Boat": the Young Leaping to Early Death. ............_... ........___........199
The Plot of "The Other Boat" ........._._... ......._. ... ...... ...._.._ ..........20
The Compression and Extension of Time in "The Other Boat".............._._._.....202
The Dynamism of Leap-Line-Life Blending in "The Other Boat" ........._........203
"The Life to Come": the Old Leaping to Young Death. .........._.... ........_._._......207
The Plot of "The Life to Come" ............................. ....................20
The Compression and Extension of Time in "The Life to Come" ....................209
The Dynamism of Leap-Line-Lifetime Blending in "The Life to Come" ........210
"Ansell" as Response to "The Other Boat" and "The Life To Come" .....................216
The Plot of "Ansell" ............... ...............216...
Multiple Blending in "Ansell" ................ .........._ ...............218 ....
Forster' s "Touch" and the "Direction" of Narrative ................. .......................221
6 AFTERWORD: HIDDEN PICTURES OF THE FUTURE IN THE PICTURE OF
DORIAN GRA Y ................. ...............224................
The Denial of Time in The Picture ofDorian Gray ................. ........... ...........224
Another Denial of Time in The Picture ofDorian Gray ..........._._. ........._._.....228
Painting Mental Pictures of the Future..........._._. ..... ......_... .............._......23
The Representational Art of Making a Promise: Depictive or Performative? ..........23 1
Dorian2 Gray as Parable .............. ...............234....
LIST OF REFERENCES ............ ...... .... ...............237..
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............244....
LIST OF FIGURES
1-1. The Two-Domain Structure of Conceptual Metaphor............... ................15
1-2. Conceptual Integration Network .............. ...............16....
1-3. Typical Ghost: Time Compression Figure Blending Past and Present .....................22
1-4. Compression of an Outer-Space Relation to an Inner-Space Relation. ................... ..25
2-1. The Soul as an Entailment of a Conceptual Blend ........___......... ._._.........._...46
2-2. The Corpse as a Conceptual Blend of a Body Missing the Soul .........._.... ..............47
2-3. Compressions of Cause and Effect in Marley's Ghost. .........__. ..... ..._.._.........72
3-1. Network with Blending of Nun's Afterlife with Nuptial Intercourse .......................93
3-2. Network with Blend of Nuptial Intercourse and Nun' s Death ................ ................97
3 -3. Multiple Blend of Blends Producing the Ghostly Nun ................. .....................102
4-1. "So Long!" with Reader as Primary Time-Traveling Ghost ........._..... ................138
4-2. "So Long!" with Whitman as Primary Time-Traveling Ghost. .............. ..... ........._.139
4-3. The Metaphorical Argument for Whitman' s "Democratic Appeal" .................. .....145
4-4. The Metaphorical Argument for Whitman' s "Sexual Manifesto" ................... .......152
4-5. "So Long!" as Double-Scope Blend ................. ...............168.............
4-6. "So Long! Blend Showing Tension Across Modes of Knowing ................... ........171
5-1. Curving Line AD ........... ..... .._ ...............191.
5-2. Diving Human Body as Curving Line AD ....._____ .... ... .__ ..........__.....19
5-3. Conceptual Metaphor of Life as Motion Along a Line ..........__.... ......__........192
5-4. Moving Body at One Point Along Its Lifetimeline ....._____ .... .. ..__ ............194
5-6. Blend of AD and AB, Anticipated and Actual Lifetimelines .............. ..............195
5 -7. Edward Blends Hi s Falling Books with Hi s Lifetimeline .............. .............. .21 9
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
BODIES OF BLENDED TIMES:
TIME COMPRESSION FIGURES AND THE IMAGINATION OF THE FUTURE
David A. Matthew
Chair: Pamela Gilbert
Major Department: English
Using Gilles Fauconnier' s and Mark Turner' s theory of "conceptual integration
networks," this dissertation identifies and examines literary figures created by an
imaginative blending of the future with the present. They are similar to conventional
ghosts, which are created when the mind compresses distinct past and present conceptual
spaces into a "blend," a conceptual space producing its own new and emergent properties
and logic. A key function of the Eigures identified here is that their bodies exhibit causal
links between present and future; they thus compress otherwise diffuse and uncertain
causal relationships between external, temporally distant spaces to an internal
relationship directly experienced in the body.
The time compression Eigures identified and discussed are Marley's Ghost from A
Christmas Calrol by Charles Dickens; the Ghostly Nun from "The Wreck of the
Deutschland" by Gerard Manley Hopkins; the encounter between reader and poet in "So
Long!" from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman; and the "dying young" figures created
by the reader of "Ansell," "The Life to Come," and "The Other Boat," short stories in
The Life to Come, and Other Stories by E. M. Forster. By beginning with ghost Eigures
that seem to be in the text and ending with Eigures that the reader must create from and
add to the text, the argument highlights the active role of the reader' s embodied mind in
creating ghosts and other time compression Eigures.
Analysis of the conceptual constituents of these Eigures of time compression sheds
light on the elements required for the reader's active engagement with these texts, as well
as on the insights and limits of previous literary critical responses. Rather than replacing
other approaches to literature, the cognitive approach used here opens up and
supplements canonical interpretive approaches.
Because the Eigures examined here reveal mostly new attempts to conceptualize the
future in a culture deeply concerned with time, their analyses contribute to the Hields of
Victorian studies and utopian studies. As examples of temporal blending, they are
offered as evidence to the Hield of cognitive science and its inquiry into embodied
conceptualizations of time.
INTRODUCTION: FIGURING THE FUTURE INT BODIES OF BLENDED TIMES
The Aims of Literature
According to a tradition that goes back to Horace, the aims of literature are to
instruct and to delight: "aut prodesse [...] aut delectare" ("Ars Poetica" 1.333).
Sometimes, however, literature reaches for more. Turning a critical eye on the world,
literature may reveal a belief that merely entertaining or even edifying an audience is not
enough, that what is needed is more radical change. Breathing through the text may be a
desire that the audience must become completely different people, or that the conditions
people find themselves in must be completely altered--or that both people and their
conditions must be fundamentally changed together. In such literary aspirations, the urge
simply to instruct is ratcheted up several notches. The hope is not to teach what wise
sages have already learned. The hope is for unprecedented knowledge, the kind that
leads to unprecedented experience: a previously unimaginable life, a previously
There are diverse ways to conceptualize such change, and it is the intrepid effort of
the interdisciplinary field called "utopian studies" to identify and consider them all. This
dissertation attempts to identify and to examine just one: the literary figure created by an
imaginative blending of the future with the present. By compressing the future and the
present into the same conceptual space, such a figure often aims to give its present
audience a proleptic experience of the future. Offering the reader a foretaste-or what
Marxist utopian theorist Ernst Bloch called an "anticipatory illumination" (Zipes xxxy)--
of the future, the time compression figure attempts to confirm the reality of seeds that
have been planted either within the reader or the reader' s world, seeds that give promise
of more and better fruit to come.
The Biblical Sources of Figures That Blend Future and Present
I first became interested in this rhetorical figure, an imaginative device that
prompts readers to blend the future with the present, as a student of biblical eschatology.
Bloch has acknowledged that the utopian spirit arrived with "the eschatological
conscience, which was brought to the world by the Bible" (152). In its narrowest sense,
eschatology refers to the eschaton, the "last" things of the end-time envisioned by biblical
writers. The term "was coined in the early 19th century by theologians to refer to that part
of systematic theology which deals with Christian beliefs concerning death, the afterlife,
judgment, and the resurrection" (Aune 594). Over time, eschatology has acquired a more
general definition and now signifies "the whole constellation of beliefs and conceptions
about the end of history and the transformation of the world which particularly
characterized early Judaism, and early Christianity, and Islam" (594).
Discussing the concepts of promise and fulfillment in biblical eschatology, New
Testament scholars distinguish between "consistent" (or "future") eschatology and
"realized" eschatology (Aune 599-600). In consistent eschatology, God's promise of a
new reality is experienced as not yet fulfilled because it consistently exists only in the
future. In realized eschatology, the promise is experienced as having been already
fulfilled; the promised reality can therefore be experienced now in the present.
New Testament texts, especially the epistles of Paul, have created incessant debate
because they exhibit a tension between the "already" and the "not yet," sometimes
manifesting realized eschatology, sometimes manifesting consistent eschatology. Paul's
letters make it clear that he had to deal with problems that arose when his followers could
not, to his satisfaction, discern when and how to apply these two eschatological principles
to daily life. If Jesus has already been resurrected to rule over the cosmos, does this
mean that Paul's followers who call Jesus "Lord" no longer need to obey the laws of
Rome? If the sinful body has died with Christ in baptism, does that mean the believer
baptized by Paul has a body that is now radically free from both sin and death?
According to the logic of realized eschatology, these are plausible conclusions. When
Paul felt his co-religionists had gone too far in the direction of realized eschatology, he
pulled them back to consistent eschatology. He maintained that some things (including
the final rule of Christ and the absolute inviolability of the spiritual body) will be fully
realized only when Christ returns.
On the other hand, Paul also exhorted spiritual slackers to actualize in present
behavior their already redeemed, already heaven-stamped selves. These included Gentile
Christians who thought they needed to be circumcised into Judaism to become part of
God's "new creation" (Galatians 6:15 NRSV). And these also included some Jewish
Christians who continued to wait for the political restoration of Israel rather than believe
that an alternative, "utterly spiritual" kingdom had "already been granted in the
resurrection of Christ" (Fredriksen 173).
The presence of an already-not yet tension in Christian scriptures has led some to
describe it as the defining dynamic, or even the key "problem," of Christian personal and
communal life (Ramey). When the believer (or the community of believers) is
conceptualized as an entity having one foot in the promised kingdom of God and the
other foot still in this world, the result is a distinctively Christian figure of future-present
In the Christian literary canon, a prime example of future-present blending can be
found in Luke' s story of the Transfiguration of Jesus (9:28-36; all citations NRSV). As
Luke tells it, Jesus had taken Peter, John, and James up to a mountain to pray. Jesus
suddenly became altered: "his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white."
Moses and Elij ah appeared alongside Jesus and "were speaking of his departure"-
literally, his exodus--"which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." The context
surrounding the story clarifies that the Transfiguration is telling Luke's readers about the
impending death of Jesus: "[Jesus] said to his disciples, 'Let these words sink into your
ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.' But they did not
understand this saying" (9:43b-45a). Luke's readers are meant to understand what the
disciples, apparently, do not. They will understand that the present Jesus on the mountain
with his disciples is simultaneously the future Jesus, the one who will have departeded"
and accomplisheded" God's work, and who will have been given the "white robe"
reserved for "the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the
testimony they had given" (Revelation 6: 11, 9).
In the Transfiguration story, readers are shown a Jesus in whom the future and the
present are blended. Readers are prompted to see a future, resurrected Jesus at the same
time as they see a present Jesus who has yet to be crucified. This kind of temporal
confusion in a text may present no problem for the literalist who thinks that God can do
anything, and who believes that God wrote the Bible by somehow bypassing biologically
created, historically situated, fully human brains of living writers. But the responsible
scholar should be interested in how a human mind could have conceived the
Transfiguration: how that mind could invent a person who is at once the present Jesus,
living among his first disciples, and the future Jesus, martyred and resurrected and
dwelling in heavenly glory. Of equal importance is the question of how the reader 's
mind can be prompted by the textual data to recreate that blend of distinctly different
The Prior Question of the Figuring Mind
In other words, simply noticing a figure that blends the future with the present is
not enough. When I began to notice time-blending figures in other, non-biblical texts, I
began a deeper inquiry into this particular figuration process. How can the human
imagination invent such figures of blended times in the first place, and what functions
might they serve? My search for answers, the results of which are laid out in the rest of
this introductory chapter, proceeded along several lines:
1) Because these figures are temporal blends, we first need to ask how the human
mind conceptualizes time, as well as different times, such as past, present, and future. I
found answers to this set of questions in the "conceptual metaphor theory" of George
Lakoff and Mark Johnson.
2) Because these figures blend different times, we must also ask how human minds
can conceptualize what might seem impossible to conceive. If, after all, we start off
conceptualizing the future and the present as mutually exclusive concepts, then how can
we turn around and blend them into the same conceptual space? I found answers to this
set of questions in Gilles Fauconnier' s and Mark Turner' s theory of "conceptual
integration networks," also known as "blending theory." My use of the term "blend" is
borrowed directly from them.
3) Because the Eigures I am identifying blend the future with the present, we can
ask what is gained by such blends. In addition to Bloch's "utopian function" that offers
an "anticipatory illumination" of the future, might there be other operations that these
Eigures perform? Blending theory suggests that these Eigures do, indeed, have other
functions, chief among them the function of compression as a means to insight.
4) Because the literary blends I examine in the following chapters are each Eigured
as human bodies, we can ask why the figure of the human body is so important to time
compression. Are there time compression blends that are not Eigured as human bodies?
If so, then why are the blends that are figured as bodies so compelling? For these
questions, I have settled upon answers that ultimately derive from "second-generation
cognitive science," which is the interdisciplinary umbrella under which both conceptual
metaphor theory and blending theory fall (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh
Time in the Theory of Conceptual Metaphor
To create a figure of blended times, a mind must be able to conceptualize time.
The experience of time is real, yet it is thoroughly mediated through human brains.
Because humans experience time only relative to the experience of events, humans must
conceptualize time using terms that come from our bodies' experience of events; this
means, consequently, that our conceptualizations of time are metaphorical. Apparently,
we learn to perform this metaphorical translation from experience to time so quickly that
it soon becomes unconscious. According to George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, our brains
are built to help us forget that when we think about time we must use "metaphorical
concepts" (the original term used in M~etaphors We Live By ), also known as
"conceptual metaphors" (the more recent term used in Philosophy in the Flesh ).
Lakoff and Johnson have continued to work on an understanding of the
unconscious mind and its store of conceptual metaphors ever since their first
collaboration, M~etaphors We Live By (1980), up through Philosophy in the Flesh (1999),
their most recent. They explain human imagination and reason with the model of a
"mapping" or "projection" from a "source domain" to a "target domain." When the mind
conceptualizes a more abstract target domain of human experience or judgment, it
"maps" or "proj ects" inferential structure from (what is usually, but not necessarily) a
more bodily, concrete, literal, and familiar source-domain concept. The result is a
conceptual metaphor. These source-to-target mappings acquire a subjectively felt
stability because they are hard-wired along neural pathways in the brain, "presumably
stored as a knowledge structure in long-term memory" (Grady et al. 102).
Yet if conceptual metaphors are hard-wired and thus have the subj ective feel of
stable truth, they are nevertheless invented. They are not innate. They are neural
creations that occur after birth as the infant's embodied mind begins to interact with its
environment. Although new conceptual metaphors can be learned later in life, the set of
conceptual metaphors that builds with the developing brain is called the "cognitive
unconscious" (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh 9-15). (It should also be
noted that when cognitive scientists use terms like "hard-wired," they do so fully aware
that they are reasoning metaphorically--yet inescapably so--about real neural activities
in real human brains.)
In analyses using conceptual metaphor theory, a conceptual metaphor is usually
capitalized, often with small capitals, and frequently in the form of [TARGET DOMAIN] IS
[SOURCE DOMAIN]. In an analysis of any particular conceptual metaphor, the projection
or mapping of inferential structure from one domain to the other is always depicted with
an arrow in the opposite direction: [Source] + [Target].
Because this dissertation identifies and examines figures of blended times, the
theory of conceptual metaphor helps point us to a cluster of what are called TI1VE IS
SPATIAL EXPERIENCE metaphors. In these metaphors, the sensorimotor body's early
experiences of navigating its spatial environment serves as the source domain of our
concepts of time.
Within the cluster of TI1VE IS SPATIAL EXPERIENCE metaphors is the TI1VE
ORIENTATION metaphor. In this metaphor, the target domain is an understanding of the
concepts of past, present, and future. The source domain is one's familiarity with bodily
orientation in space, which gives us the literal concepts of "in front of" and "behind."
The following array presents a skeletal analysis of the TI1VE ORIENTATION metaphor and
how the embodied mind maps concrete spatial experiences to the abstract domain of
different times (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh 140):
THE TI1VE ORIENTATION METAPHOR
The Location of the Observer The Present
The Space In Front of The The Future
The Space Behind the Observer The Past
The metaphorical results of the TI1VE ORIENTATION METAPHOR can be seen in everyday
statements such as "The future is before us," "I want to live in the here and now," and
"As soon as this issue is behindus, we can relax." The [Source] + [Target] array is
especially useful because it helps us attend to the left side of the arrow, the source
domain. There we can quickly discern the presence of what Lakoff and Johnson refer to
as the literal, "basic sensorimotor concepts" that serve as the stable source domain for the
abstract concepts to the right (58). In the TI1VE ORIENTATION METAPHOR, the
conceptualization of time derives especially from structure borrowed from the body's
visual system that has eyes that look forward in the same direction from one area of the
head (unlike fish, which have eyes on right and left sides). The observer's eyes perceive
and observe the space in front of its body, but the observer can also turn so that the eyes
can look behind its body or even at its own body as it is standing still in one place. The
mind proj ects these experiences of visual orientation of space around the body to
understandings of future, past, and present, respectively.
In a related conceptual metaphor for time, the MOVING OBSERVER metaphor, the
visual orientation is supplemented by the body's motor skills. Temporal experience is
conceptualized through the experience of an observer who physically moves from
locations now behind it to locations ahead of it, hence, from the past to the future. The
result creates the possibility of conceptualizing more times than simply three (past,
present, future). It also permits the conceptualization of time as something that can
"pass" in the same manner as bodies that can travel (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy in
the Flesh 146):
THE MOVING OBSERVER METAPHOR
Locations On Observer's Path Times
The Motion Of The Observer The "Passage" of Time
The Distance Moved By The The Amount of Time
The MOVING OBSERVER METAPHOR permits us to unconsciously and quickly make
statements about the future such as "We'll get to Friday soon enough" and "You'll find
yourself running into a problem down the road."
Additionally, because the sensorimotor body not only moves in space but also
experiences obj ects as they move toward and away from it, we also have a flip version of
this metaphor in our cognitive unconscious, the MOVING TI1VE METAPHOR. In the
MOVING TI1VE METAPHOR, figure and ground switch places; instead of conceptualizing
time as a static landscape across which an observer can move, time is now conceptualized
as an obj ect that moves relative to a stationary observer (141):
THE MOVING TI1VE METAPHOR
Obj ects Times
The Motion Of Obj ects The "Passage" of Time
Past The Observer
The MOVING TI1VE METAPHOR permits us to utter such statements as "My, the hour has
flown by!" and "I can't wait until the weekend arrives."
If the body's experience of motion in space grounds everyday conceptual
metaphors for talking about time, it also grounds the metaphors and rhetorical flourishes
that poets and other imaginative thinkers use to express time. Poets create extraordinary
art, but they do so using the building blocks of ordinary conceptual metaphors. Their art
is especially evident in the ways they add flesh to the bodily skeletons that structure
unconscious conceptual metaphors. Consider this passage from Tennyson's "Locksley
When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed;
When I dipt into the future as far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.-- (13-16)
Tennyson's narrator is thinking about time, which is especially noticeable due to the
repeating instances of the word "When." The narrator uses the TI1VE ORIENTATION
metaphor in which past, present, and future correspond to observable positions around
him. Starting from the premise that time is a spatial location, the narrator then proceeds
to visualize time as an entire landscape. On that landscape Tennyson can add fruit-
bearing trees, and he can depict his narrator clinging to the ground beneath him while
gazing "as far as human eye could see." Tennyson's poem simply gussies up an
everyday concept from the cognitive unconscious to express a temporal "vision" of the
future (and, in case you are wondering, no, it is not ultimately a pretty one).
Often the creative mind can do more than simply add flesh to the bodily skeletons
that ground conceptual metaphors. It can also try to represent that conceptual skeleton in
a new artistic form. Consider the spatial dynamics of William Butler Yeats's "An Irish
Airman Foresees His Death" (1919). In this poem, a pilot ponders the meaning of his
life. Combining several conceptual metaphors for time, the poem has the pilot observing
that the future is "to come" and that the past is "behind" him, even as he himself is also
flying in motion over a landscape. Yet what is unique in Yeats's poem is not the mixture
of metaphors (anyone can do that!); rather, it is the arrangement of different times as
different spaces within the visible form of his text. The spatial array of words on the
page mimics the spatial grounding of the metaphor for time:
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death. (13-16; emphases added)
For the airman, spatial orientation provides temporal orientation, which ultimately
provides existential orientation. But for Yeats, the poet who must arrange words on a
page, the orientation in the airman's mind can also be recreated spatially on the page.
"The years to come" and "the years behind" visually balance each other on left and right
sides of lines 14 and 15; this balance corresponds to a spatial balance made possible by
the unconscious roots of the temporal concept. The airman is basically an observer who,
in the present, occupies a midpoint between past and future. Or rather, he concludes that
his imminent death may provide a perfect midpoint between one set of years (the past)
and another (the future), both of which are equally a "waste of breath." He seems to find
existential meaning in conceptualizing a balance between two equal spaces, two
In this dissertation, it is assumed that literary imaginations of the future necessarily
employ conceptual metaphors for time. Often, I will treat a text' s imagined future as
target domain, and I will proceed to draw attention to the source domain that grounds it.
In some cases, the grounding experience can be strikingly peculiar. In Chapter 3's
discussion of "The Wreck of the Deutschland," for instance, Gerard Manley Hopkins
adapts a bride's experience of going to her bridegroom and being sexually penetrated by
him to ground a vision of a dying saint going to her future reward in heaven. In other
cases, the grounding experience can seem quite conventional. As I discuss in Chapter 5,
each of three short stories in E. M. Forster' s The Life To Come relies on the MOVING
OBSERVER metaphor. Yet in Forster' s stories, the conventional metaphor for time is
employed for unconventional purposes, as is demonstrated when these stories send bodies
or books leaping to their deaths as protests against imagined futures.
At this point I should make an important disclaimer about conceptual metaphors for
time: the conceptual metaphors discussed above are not the only ways to conceptualize
time. Admittedly, linguistic evidence seems to support the claim that there is no human
culture that does not conceptualize time in terms of the body's experience of motion and
space. Yet as the MOVING OBSERVER and MOVING TI1VE metaphors demonstrate in their
figure-ground reversals of one another, there is ample room for variety even within the
TI1VE IS SPATIAL EXPERIENCE cluster of conceptual metaphors. Anthropological evidence
exists to support this variety. The Aymara of the Chilean Andes, for example, are
reported to be alone in regularly conceptualizing the future as behind them. This is
because the Aymara conceptualize the future as that which cannot be seen, the eyes
perceiving only what is in front of the body (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh
141). Yet two things must be said about the Aymaran conceptualization of time: first,
because the Aymara conceptualize the future as coming toward them from behind, they
still rely on space and motion to conceptualize the future. Second, the Aymaran
conceptualization of the future as unseen relies on another common conceptual metaphor,
KNOWING IS SEEING, which is also rooted firmly in basic bodily experience: to see an
obj ect is to have some basic knowledge of it; hence, ideas can be conceptualized as
obj ects that can be seen and manipulated. The KNOWING IS SEEING metaphor, by the
way, forms the bodily basis of Descartes' ironically disembodied epistemology (Lakoff
and Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh 393-414).
In the course of working on this dissertation, I have often been stirred by the
utopian spirit to wonder what it would be like to have a radically different source domain
grounding a radically new conceptual metaphor for temporal experience. In the west,
there is, in fact, an alternative metaphor for time already available in our cognitive
unconscious: TI1VE IS A RESOURCE. Some cultures, such as the Pueblo, do not produce a
statement such as "I didn't have enough time for that," although they might produce the
statement, "My path didn't take me there" to express the same thought (Lakoff and
Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh 164). But in the west, we can produce and understand
statements such as "I've wasted this hour," "Who gobbled up my weekend?" and "Steal
some moments this evening for yourself." Money is one kind of resource, and the
importance of money in the west has brought the full force of cultural institutions and
artifacts, including clocks, time management, budgets, and efficiency studies, to help the
TI1VE IS MONEY metaphor become entrenched in the cognitive unconscious of most
westerners. That said, however, I have yet to see any literary work in which its
conceptualization of time and the future is fundamentally grounded in money or any
other resource. (Intuitively, the changing light of the day and the change in amount of
water seem chief possibilities.) Until I am surprised by a literary work that is structured
on a TI1VE IS A RESOURCE, TI1VE IS MONEY, or some other, entirely unprecedented,
metaphor, I must satisfy myself with exploring texts in which the experience of motion in
space grounds the conceptualization of time and the future.
The Theory of Conceptual Integration Networks, or "Blending" Theory
Conceptual metaphor theory can account for the ways we conceptualize past,
present and future. But how do we explain a Eigure, such as the Transfiguration of Jesus,
in which exclusive times seem pressed together, and in which the distant future
impossibly shares the same space with the present? To account for creative clashes such
as this, we need a different theory.
Conceptual metaphor theory offers a model with two distinct conceptual spaces: a
source domain and a target domain. In addition, the model proposes a unidirectional
flow: because the arrow goes from source to target, the model implies that the source
domain provides all the crucial structure for understanding the target domain. Using a
diagrammatic model, conceptual metaphor theory might be represented something like
Source Domain Target Domain
Figure 1-1. The Two-Domain Structure of Conceptual Metaphor
Each circle represents a conceptual domain. Each line represents the mapping or
proj section from the source domain to the target domain. The black points represent the
schematic structure that is proj ected from the source domain to create counterpart
structure for the target domain. For example, in the TI1VE ORIENTATION metaphor, the
source domain counterpart "the location behind the observer" is connected to its target
counterpart "the past is behind."
Upon discovering figures that could not be explained by the conceptual metaphor
model, Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner developed a new model, called the
"conceptual integration network." Their model is reproduced below in Figure 1-2
("Conceptual Integration Networks" Cognitive Science 22.2: 142-144; The Way We Think
Figure 1-2. Conceptual Integration Network
In this model, there are not two but four conceptual constituents: two distinct "input
spaces," an all-important "blended space," and a "generic space" (not to be confused with
genre) that shares basic structure with the other spaces. The solid lines in the model
represent connections between counterparts across the input spaces (these would include
the metaphoric counterparts that we see in conceptual metaphors). The broken lines
represent selected elements that are proj ected from one space to another. The unlinked
dots in the input spaces represent the fact that not every element of an input space is
selected to, or has relevance for, the blended space. Moreover, the unfilled dots within
the blended space represent new elements that may be recruited to the blend, but that do
not come from any of the main input spaces. Importantly, the blended space thus
develops structure that is not directly available from either input--it is not "copied from
the inputs" ("Conceptual Integration Networks" 144). The square in the blended space
represents this emerging structure that is composed and completed in the conceptual
blend, and which can even be elaborated further if the mind traces out the new logic and
principles made possible in the blend.
One clear advantage of the blending model over conceptual metaphor theory is that
it challenges the idea that only one source domain will provide all of the key structure in
a rhetorical figure. In so-called "primary" metaphors such as KNOWING IS SEEING and
the TI1VE IS SPATIAL, MOTION, the source alone does appear to provide all of the key
structure to the resultant blended space (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh 49-
54). In many cases, however, a figure that we might call metaphorical actually receives
crucial structure from more than just one input space. Such a blend may even have more
than two input spaces (Figure 1-2 is only a minimal network), and a blend will often
develop new structure of its own, recruiting new elements not available from the inputs.
Another advantage of blending theory is that the two circles correlating to source
and target domains are here called "input spaces" (or "input mental spaces") rather than
"domains." The concept of the input mental space is potentially more open-ended than
the concept of the domain, which may imply a completed or bounded set of knowledge.
Indeed, whereas conceptual metaphor theory emphasizes the stable and enduring set of
conceptual metaphors in the cognitive unconscious, blending theory is more apt to stress
the "partial and temporary" nature of the "mental space," defined as
a partial and temporary representational structure which speakers construct when
thinking or talking about a perceived, imagined, past, present, or future situation.
Mental spaces (or, 'spaces', for short) are not equivalent to domains, but, rather,
they depend on them: spaces represent particular scenarios which are structured by
given domains. (Grady et al. 102)
So while the input mental space relies on, and thus does not contradict, the dynamics of
conceptual metaphors, because they are "scenarios" that are "partial and temporary," they
may be fed by diverse and even clashing metaphors.
Important in blending theory is the claim that the mind constructs this network "on-
line"; that is, the entire conceptual integration network is dynamic and active along real
neural pathways in the brain. We find a blend meaningful only because our brains are
actively sustaining and integrating each of the contributing spaces within a live network,
while simultaneously keeping those spaces distinct, too. Also, it must again be cautioned
that cognitive scientists are aware that these diagrams are nothing more than useful
representations of actual neural processes they are trying to model. And if words like
"network" and "on-line" sound overly mechanical, we should recall that cognitive
scientists are quite aware that they are using metaphors to conceptualize mental processes
that remain largely a mystery. Cognitive scientists do not have a problem with the fact
that conceptual metaphors and blends ground reasoning, including scientific reasoning.
While the cognitive theory of blending is quite recent, the recognition of literary
blends is quite old. Horace begins the "Ars Poetica," his letter to those aspiring poets, the
Piso boys, by advising them to refrain from inventing exceedingly fantastical blends:
If a painter were willing to join a horse 's neck to a human head and spread on
multicolored feathers, with different parts of the body brought in from anywhere
and everywhere, so that what starts out above as a beautiful woman ends up
horribly as a black fish, could you my friends, if you had been admitted to the
spectacle, hold back your laughter? Believe me, dear Pisos, that very similar to
such a painting would be a literary work in which meaningless images are
fashioned, like the dreams of someone who is mentally ill, so that neither the foot
nor the head can be attributed to a single form. "Painters and poets," someone
obj ects, "have always had an equal right to dare to do whatever they wanted." We
know it and we both seek this indulgence and grant it in turn. But not to the degree
that the savage mate 11 ithr the gentle, nor that snakes be paired as ithr birds, nor
lamnbs l ithr tigers. (1.1-13; emphases added)
Although Horace is warning against blends he finds rhetorically silly, it is noteworthy
that this granddaddy of reader-response criticism does begin, nevertheless, by describing
invention as a kind of conceptual blending. Before telling the Pisos to rej ect the
fantastical creature, he requires his readers to construct it in their own minds. He asks his
readers to select elements from normally distinct conceptual species--what we might call
distinct input spaces--and then he directs his readers to blend those elements into a single
figure, creating something altogether new.
If we, as Horace's readers, select a horse's neck, a human head, and some bird' s
feathers, we create in our minds something that is neither a horse, nor a human, nor a
bird, but something radically new--let us call it a hormanird. In the theory of conceptual
integration networks, the hormanird is a conceptual blend. Because it behaves in a way
that no horse, no human, nor bird ever could, it manifests emergent structure--that is, it
has properties that do not derive from any of the mental input spaces alone but that
emerge only within the resultant blend. Suppose, for example, that this hormanird is said
to "squawk with j oy" whenever it sees a human child. Its emotion would come from the
input space of the human being, but that emotion would be expressed through the sounds
coming from the input space of the bird with feathers, even though we know next to
nothing about whether birds actually express happiness, let alone how they feel about
human children. Moreover, the neck, where human vocal chords are located, is a horse's
neck in the hormanird, yet instead of whinnying, as we might expect, it squawks.
"Squawking with j oy" would be an emergent property that is developed in the blend--
something new, something not derived from any single contributing input space.
Let us further conj ecture that the hormanird gives rides to young children, but that
the children ride on its long neck, rather than on its back. Neck riding, however, does not
derive from the input space of the horse, for a horse is ridden on its back, not its neck.
The concept of hormanird riding would derive in great part from the input space of
horseback riding, but the part of the horse required for riding would be completely absent
from the blend! A new property-hormanirdneck riding--would emerge from the
hormanird blend. It would not be available from any single input space, but would
emerge as a new development within the creative blend.
If our hormanird seems too implausibly fantastic and, for this reason, as Horace
advises, should be rejected, we should recall that Horace has plenty of advice to give
about the proper way to depict satyrs and fauns, those fantastical goat-men of myth (220-
250). For Horace, of course, it is not the invention of the hormanird that is problematic
but the audience's predictable response to it. For our purposes, however, it is important
to ask what Horace only takes for granted: how a hormanird, a satyr, or any other such
novelty can be conceptualized in the first place. Indeed, there is reason to believe that the
origins of art in modern Homo sapiens can be traced back at least 30,000 years to
artifacts exactly like Horace's satyr: drawings, figurines, and carvings that blend animals
with humans (Mithen 155-164). From many diverse fields from anthropology to
neurobiology, a consensus is converging on the thesis that the unique property of the
modern human brain is its ability to invent by "crossing," "mapping," "proj ecting," or
"blending" across distinct "domains," "modules" or "spaces" of knowledge and
experience (Mithen; Fauconnier and Turner The Way We Think 183-87; Spolksy Gaps in
Nature 19-41; Spolsky "Darwin and Derrida"). In accord with this consensus, the theory
of conceptual integration networks offers a non-reductive explanation of invention as that
which also newly emerges as a result of the mixtures of previously available conceptual
A Common Figure of Blended Times: The Conventional Ghost
We can now bring conceptual blending theory to bear on the issue of how the
embodied mind creates--and, through reading, recreates--a figure of blended times,
which is a different kind of blend than Horace' s figure of blended animal parts. Let us
consider, instead, the conventional ghost. Unlike the future-blending figures that this
dissertation's chapters examine, the conventional ghost is a figure that blends the present
with the past. Using the theory of conceptual integration networks, we can begin to
understand such a ghost as the blend of input spaces distinguished primarily (if not
solely) by their temporal differences.
Like a satyr or a hormanird, a ghost cannot be corroborated by empirical evidence;
according to all the laws of physics and biology, it is an impossible being. But the figure
of a ghost emerges as the new product of an imaginative process of time compression
blending. The ghost becomes possible when the mind compresses the distance between
the past and the present (Figure 1-3). To imagine such a ghost, the mind must select
elements from two distinct input spaces, past and present, and blend them into the same
space. In the input space of the past, there is the living body, but which has since died,
decayed, and disappeared from normal human sight. In the input space of the present, we
do not have tangible communication with dead people--at least, not of the kind that can
be recorded on videotape or audiotape sufficiently to convince a public audience that the
ghost can also be experienced by those not subj ectively or emotionally tied to the ghost.
But in the blended space, some feature or features of that once living or dying body are
voice, animation /
others in past time
Real shape, voice,
-' Communicates with
,'others in current time
Input Space 1:
Body in Past
Input Space 2:
; Absence of material
basis for shape, voice,
O Obeys some laws
\ of physics but
Figure 1-3. Typical Ghost: Time Compression Figure Blending Past and Present
perceptibly present, contrary to the laws of physics: a familiar shape is seen, even though
the material body that produced that shape is gone; a recognizable voice is heard, even
though there are no vocal chords to create sound; moreover, information may be shared,
even though the ghost has no brain which could store information to share. By its very
existence, the typical ghost bridges distant space-time events that could not be naturally
experienced by a human being, and it becomes an "apparition" or "presence" capable of
communicating across the temporal divide.
Figure 1-3 accounts for how the mind can imagine Eigures that have one foot in the
past and one in the present. This dissertation, however, examines figures distinguished
by having one foot in the future. Because the processes required to imagine these Eigures
are similar to those involving the imagination of conventional ghosts, I refer to them, too,
as essentially ghost-like. The only difference involved in imagining ghosts from the
future is that the mind must activate and sustain an input space of the future.
Because ghosts from the past are common in culture and literature, we may forget
to be amazed that they pose a serious problem to the scientific, empirically rigorous,
modern mind. In fact, for the extreme positivist, even imagining a ghost poses a problem
because the positivist assumes that the reasoning mind should only discuss empirically
verifiable entities. Because the positivist assumes that ghosts, fantasies, and other
fanciful figures (including metaphors) are irrational, he banishes them from the realm of
meaningful public discourse. This is too bad, for he consequently deprives himself of a
powerful rhetorical tool of reason and persuasion.
The Purposes of Figures of Blended Times
We have already mentioned the "utopian function" that blending figures can
perform. But the most powerful tool of time-blending figures may be the "global insight"
they offer due to their time-compressing nature. As Fauconnier and Turner put it, any
compression blend--whether it compresses time, cause and effect, change, or other "vital
relations"--aims chiefly to provide "global insight" through a Eigure that can be
apprehended on a "human scale":
Compression is a phenomenon in conceptual integration that allows human beings
to simultaneously control long, diffuse chains of logical reasoning and to grasp the
global meanings of such chains. [...] In blending networks, a vital relation across
inputs (outer-space vital relation) can be compressed into a vital relation within the
blended space (inner-space vital relation). [...] [O]ne of the overarching goals of
compression through blending is to achieve 'human scale' in the blended space,
where a great many of our conscious manipulations take place. ("Compression and
Global Insight" 283)
Figures created by time compression blends offer insight into what would otherwise be a
"long, diffuse chain" of connections and relationships over time. The blended figure
affords the mind a shorter, more comprehensible link between distinct and distant times
that the mind might otherwise find rather difficult to link.
Significantly, the blended figure often conceptualizes these distant connections
across separated input spaces as an internal relationship aI ithrin the blended space.
Fauconnier and Turner call this the "compression of an outer-space relation to an inner-
space relation" (The Way We Think 94), where "outer-space" refers to the different input
spaces, and "inner-space" refers to the blended space.
Translated to the conventional ghost blend, for example, we can see that a complex
(we might even say impossible) relationship between the past and the present can become
conceptualized as a conversation between two people (Figure 1-4). A conversation is a
simple scene we can understand at human scale. The ghost blend creates the possibility
of an otherwise impossible conversation between someone from the past and someone in
the present. Moreover, other chains of connections between the distinct spaces may
become possible as a result of the conversation. Conversations with others often lead us
to change our minds and to embark on different actions. Consequently, according to the
logic emerging in the ghost blend, there is the possibility that the ghostly conversation
can lead to changed minds and new actions. One can "live in the blend," thinking and
acting according to the logic engendered there (Fauconnier and Turner The Way We
Space 1: Space 2:
Past Time Present
Figure 1-4. Compression of an Outer-Space Relation to an Inner-Space Relation
Figures that compress the future offer global insight in much the same manner.
Epistemologically, future-blending figures may even offer potentially more insight than
past-blending figures due to the difference between our knowledge of the future and our
knowledge of the past. Because the future is radically less knowable than the past, the
real relationship between present and future may appear even more diffuse than that
between present and past. The future-blending figure provides a way for the mind to
manage that diffusion by creating a relationship between present and future that is
intelligible at human scale. And once the figure has prompted the mind to understand the
relationship between the present and the future, the mind can then perform "conscious
manipulations" that were formerly unavailable in what had been a diffuse and
indeterminate relationship. By means of the blend, the mind can manage the unknown
variables inherent to any thinking about the future. The blend allows the mind to
conceptualize causal links between the present and the future, and to undertake action
As aids to action, figures of future-present time compression manifest a pragmatic
function. As Mark Johnson argues in M~oral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive
Science for Ethics, "the 'aesthetic' permeates every aspect of our lives" (208), including
the pragmatic aspects relating to our moral and temporal lives:
Moral imagination is our capacity to see and to realize in some actual or
contemplated experience possibilities for enhancing the quality of experience, both
for ourselves and for the communities of which we are a part, both for the present
and for future generations, both for our existing practices and institutions as well as
for those we can imagine as potentially realizable. And this holds true for whether
we are experiencing and judging artworks or engaged in pressing moral
deliberations that determine the course of our lives. (209)
Time-blending figures are particularly well-suited for the moral imagination because they
allow the mind "to see and to realize in some actual or contemplated experience" an
intelligible relationship between the present and the future. "In order to act in the best
way we can, we must try out various framings of situations [...] and explore possibilities
for constructive interaction that are latent within situations" (212). In their human-scale
compactness, future-blending figures offer themselves precisely as such new "framings"
for possible action.
The moral significance of the mind' s invention of blended figures is implicitly
made in a comment by the philosopher Merleau-Ponty toward the end of
Phenomenology ofPerception. In a response to Sartre on the question of the nature of
freedom, Merleau-Ponty imagines a scene in which a prisoner must invite "phantoms"
into his cell in order to help him act well:
Let us suppose that a man is tortured to make him talk. If he refuses to give the
names and addresses which it is desired to extract from him, this does not arise
from a solitary and unsupported decision: the man still feels himself to be with his
comrades, and, being still involved in the common struggle, he is as it were
incapable of talking. Or else, for months or years, he has, in his mind, faced this
test and staked his whole life upon it. [...] What withstands pain is not, in short, a
bare consciousness, but the prisoner with his comrades or with those he loves and
under whose gaze he lives [...]. And probably the individual in his prison daily
reawakens these phantoms, which give back to him the strength he gave them.
(453-54; discussed in Winter 354-57)
Merleau-Ponty's prisoner creates scenes of spatial and temporal blending; because the
prisoner conjures up friends and family from his past to share his cell with him, the way
he understands his current situation is ultimately affected. Merleau-Ponty uses the
example to conclude that "we choose our world and the world chooses us" (454). Figures
of time compression blending are the means by which we conceptualize our world, and,
when we "live in the blend," such figures indeed frame the conditions and possibilities of
The Body's Role in Assessing the Effectiveness of Time Compression Figures
If we want to assess the rhetorical effectiveness of time compression blends, then
we will want to judge how well the imagined blend creates an "inner-space" relation that
compresses "outer-space" complexity. Charles Dickens' sA Christma~s Calrol, the subject
of the next chapter, ends with the repentance of Ebenezer Scrooge. Because of Scrooge's
conversion, most readers might judge Marley's Ghost to be quite effective. Scrooge is
the intended audience of Marley's Ghost, so Scrooge' s response to "reading" that ghost
will indicate the ghost' s rhetorical effectiveness. Marley's Ghost is a figure formed from
elements of a complex, Christian-based web of ideas asserting certain vital relations
between bodies and souls, between sinful acts and end-time punishments, between human
and divine beings, and between earthly life and the afterlife. When Scrooge converses
with the ghost and "sees" its chains, he gains "global insight" into that complex web.
And once Scrooge accepts the blend and lets it reconstruct his temporal thinking, he can
then consciously work within the blend, too, and act according to its logic. He can do
something uncharacteri stically new and different based upon hi s understanding of the
ghost blend. Because we know that Scrooge ultimately changes his life, it can be argued
that Marley's Ghost is a superbly effective rhetorical figure of time compression.
Scrooge proves that "the fantasy world seems to have had profound effects on the
psychological reality of the real world" (Fauconnier and Turner The Way We Think 23 1).
But Scrooge, alas, is an invented and purely imagined audience. As Scrooge's
creator, Dickens could make sure that Scrooge would correctly and competently read
Marley's Ghost and would thereby become "as good a man, as the good old city knew"
(Dickens 65). Dickens had control over both the blend and how its reader, Scrooge,
would respond to it. It will always be possible to question whether Scrooge could have
understood the blend differently, or whether he could have been visited by a different
kind of ghost--one whose inner-space logic grew more out of economic critique, say,
than of Christian individualism. The inner logic that emerges in any blend may always
be judged to be inappropriate as an insight if it is first judged that the "real" relationships
that should be compressed are something else entirely. If "false" consciousness produces
some blends, then "true" consciousness can always supply other blends. (In Victorian
fiction, it could be argued that Olive Schreiner' s time- and space-compressing allegories
in Dreams offer socialist and feminist "global insight" into the same conditions
An even more basic difficulty is that, from person to person, the insight offered by
time compression figures may vary in their ability, first, to be understood by the reader,
and, second, to be sufficiently appropriated. Many readers have failed to notice the
Ghostly Nun blend in Gerard Manley Hopkins's "The Wreck of the Deutschland"
precisely because his poetry can appear more diffuse than the insight it tries to offer.
Admittedly, Hopkins probably did not intend his poem for unpracticed readers--those
without the prerequisite "literary competence" (Culler). But it did bother Hopkins that
the poem's first audience, his friend Robert Bridges, could remain so completely
unmoved by the logic of the Ghostly Nun. We may have to conclude that, for Hopkins,
at least, she was persuasive enough.
Even when a Eigure of time compression blending does not ultimately persuade its
audience, we can at least credit some of its rhetorical effectiveness to the compelling
nature of its figuration. Once we see Hopkins's Ghostly Nun being tossed to and fro in a
sea storm, she attracts our attention. Whether we choose to follow her or not to the future
she posits, she is at least effective in turning our eyes toward her.
So what is the nature of this first-level effectiveness, this attraction, of Hopkins' s
Ghostly Nun and Dickens's Marley's Ghost, as time compression figures? I have
concluded that it has to do with the sensorimotor body. If the figures examined in this
dissertation are interesting for their speculations about the future through insightful
compressions of time, they are equally compelling for the ways those speculations and
compressions are figured in physical bodies, which must be the most "human scale"
figures we know. When Scrooge imagines what his future soul will look like, he sees the
chained body of Marley (Chapter 2). When Hopkins imagines how souls will experience
God's active power in heaven, he sees a nun's body buffeted and penetrated by gale force
winds (Chapter 3). When Walt Whitman imagines a future reader cradling his Leaves of
Grass, he sees a reader touching his body (Chapter 4). When we imagine the alternative
lives that characters in E. M. Forster' s The Life to Come might (or might not) have
enjoyed, we see bodies leaping and falling to their deaths (Chapter 5).
When conceptual metaphor theorists and others in the field of "second-generation
cognitive science" claim that our knowing is ultimately rooted in our body's most basic
experiences, they usually talk first about our experience as bodies in motion. Taking a
different, but parallel, route, Elaine Scarry, who can also be categorized as a cognitive
theorist, has claimed it is the body in pain that grounds human imagination and art (The
Body in Pain). Scarry's claim is at least partially supported in Chapter 3 of this
dissertation, where I argue that Hopkins' s "The Wreck of the Deutschland" grounds an
experience of the future in the body's experience of being the passive and painful object
of another agent' s activity. Then again, moving the opposite direction from pain, I argue
in Chapter 4 that Walt Whitman' s So Long!i," the concluding poem to Leaves of Grass,
partially grounds an experience of the future on a different bodily experience, that of
sexually mature erotic pleasure.
Whether it is the body in motion, the body in pain, or the body in pleasure, it is
apparent that the sensorimotor body plays a central role in our conceptualizations of time.
When employed well, the body can effectively confer its qualitative feel of certainty onto
our concepts of time. Consider, for example, how the human-scale, sensorimotor body
can even be recruited to ground the unsexy Hield of geology. Geologists have had to
invent time-compressing figures to explain the notion of "deep time." Stephen Jay Gould
cites several examples of these Eigures in Time 's Arrow, Time 's Cycle. I offer two below;
the first is taken directly from Mark Twain, and the second is Gould' s paraphrase of John
McPhee from McPhee' s book Ba~sin and Range. Which of the two is more effective?
1. If the Eiffel Tower were now representing the world' s age, the skin of paint on the
pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; and anybody
would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they
would, I dunno. (qtd. in Gould 2)
2. Consider the earth' s history as the old measure of the English yard, the distance
from the king' s nose to the tip of his outstretched hand. One stroke of a nail file on
his middle Einger erases human history. (3)
As metaphorical blends, both examples present images--a tower and a king--that
compress deep time to human scale. Looking at the Eiffel Tower and looking at a king
are much easier than comprehending the billions of years of the earth's history. But even
Gould confesses that "the most striking metaphor of all" is the second statement. Could
this be because its image puts time onto an actual human body, and then also shows that
same human body being slightly whittled away? Sadly, we do not have Gould around so
that we might ask him, but that would be my guess.
If we choose to argue, instead, that Twain' s Eiffel Tower Eigure is superior, I
cannot imagine how that argument could prevail without referring to Twain's image of
paint as "skin." For human bodies, our skin is the largest, most visible human organ, and
essential for life. But we also experience a loss of skin that is entirely innocuous:
peelings after sunburn, calluses bitten off, scrapes that heal, etc. In addition, we have the
conceptual metaphors IlVIPORTANT IS INSIDE and UNI1VPORTANT IS OUTSIDE. These
metaphors are grounded in a number of experiences, including experiences of the self or
soul (as an internal agent who causes the external body to move) and experiences of
containers of valuable obj ects (the peel vs. the fruit, the clothes vs. the person, the
strongbox vs. the cash, etc.). The paint of a building is unimportant compared to the
steely edifice it covers. So Twain's Eiffel Tower blend results in a clashing set of
inferences: a) human beings are unimportant because they are mere paint; and b) human
beings are important because human skin is essential to human life. If the clash of
inferences in Twain's figure is rhetorically effective, it is so chiefly because it is achieved
through the blending of a steel tower with a human body.
Because it failed to sway even its first intended audience, perhaps the rhetorical
lesson of Hopkins' s The Wreck of the Deutschlan2dis that the most effective blends are
the ones we create ourselves. If this is true, then the blends in Whitman' s poetry and
Forster's short stories may ultimately prove quite significant. More than Dickens and
Hopkins, Whitman and Forster require their readers to become conscious that it is our
own reading minds--our own embodied reading minds--that create blended Eigures from
texts. Reading Whitman and Forster, we can become aware that the rhetorical energy is
flowing along new neural pathways created by firings inside our own brains. The time
compression blend, its global insight, and its eliciting of new contexts for meaningful
actions--these are all things that our embodied minds do, even when we are reading
someone else's words. The words--the textual cues that prompt us to build the figures of
blending--may dim compared to the brilliance of the embodied minds of both writers
and readers who can create, and recreate, those figures.
The Uses of Blending Theory in Literary Criticism
For my own mind, this dissertation succeeds on one level by simply identifying
literary figures of future-present time compression blending, examining their constituent
elements, and appreciating their new and emergent properties. Indeed, readers of the
following chapters will discover a bulk of analytical and formal discussion about the
particular figure at hand and how it could be invented. But I hope the chapters will
demonstrate that the uses of blending theory can succeed on other levels, too. Once it has
been added to their toolboxes, literary critics can find that blending theory helps opens up
literature to new questions from other interpretive fields.
In Chapter 1, an analysis of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Calrol opens up an
inquiry into a specific chapter of Victorian history. An "anatomy" of Marley's Ghost
reveals conceptual dynamics operating in Victorian religious debates about the afterlife,
which dovetailed legal debates about punishment. Significantly, the anatomy reveals that
the conceptual groundwork that permitted one to shift from the orthodox view to the
emerging liberal view--from the belief in hell as a future punishment to the belief that
hell is a quality of present life--can be seen in the conceptual differences between the
blended figure of Marley's Ghost and Scrooge' s internalization of new logic emerging
from Marley's blend.
In Chapter 2, an analysis of Gerard Manley Hopkins's "The Wreck of the
Deutschland" shows how the reader is prompted to blend past, present, and future scenes
in one figure, whom I call the Ghostly Nun. While this analysis helps explain the variety
of scholarly interpretations of the poem, it ultimately leads to a focus on the generic space
of the Ghostly Nun blend. By understanding the basic story of this generic space as that
of a body who is the passive obj ect of another' s agency, light is shed on the
psychology--the cognitive unconscious-grounding Hopkins's religious experience.
The value of blending theory for mapping out the variety of scholars'
interpretations of a particular work becomes even more apparent in Chapter 4. Walt
Whitman's poems in Leaves of Grass have been alternately called hymns for the
individual sexual body or praises of social democracy. A first-time reader of Whitman
can become confused about which group of scholars to follow in reading Whitman's
poems. Do they read the poems as using sexual experience to conceptualize political
experience, or, vice versa, do the read the poems as using political experience to
conceptualize sex? An analysis of "So Long!" reveals that these two interpretations of
Whitman are metaphorical, and it proceeds to show how blending theory can better
account for the formal dynamics of his poems. Moreover, in this chapter it is argued that
Whitman' s blending of distinct times in "So Long!i" also blends distinct emotions,
creating a unique conceptualization of the future as a blend of short-term sexual
anticipation with long-term political hope.
The fifth chapter nudges just beyond the nineteenth century to examine three short
stories written in the early twentieth: "The Life to Come," "The Other Boat," and
"Ansell," which are all included in E. M. Forster's posthumously published collection
The Life to Come. I argue that in order to find meaning in these stories, the reader must
create in his or her own mind a blended figure who is simultaneously young and at the
end of a long and happy life--what I call a "dying young" figure. This blended figure
created in the mind is pre-figured by the stories' depiction of bodies and obj ects that
travel, leap, and fall along a finite spatial line whose end-point can move, as it were, from
one expected point to another. Through the TI1VE IS SPATIAL EXPERIENCE metaphor, this
spatial line projects to a "lifetimeline" of meaningful temporal experience. Blending
analysis offers a new way of thinking about the problems Forster had with what he felt to
be inescapable Victorian narratives with heterosexist, racist, and classist endings--
narratives that foreclosed the future end-point of what could be considered a meaningful
lifetimeline. But just as important, in my view, is the way a blending analysis of
Forster' s stories illustrates how reading a meaningful narrative and living a meaningful
life both involve the blending of times in order to be judged "meaningful" at all.
Victorians and Time-Compression
On an added level, in my view, this dissertation succeeds by finding an approach to
a set of texts that suits both their content and their context. Although rigorous scientific
inquiry into the time-conceiving, time-blending mind is relatively nascent, the concern
with time is, of course, an established theme within Victorian studies.
If cognitive anthropologists are correct, the ability to conceptualize time and to
create Eigurative blends of past, present, and future has been part of the human species for
no less than 30,000 years. Yet if one were to pick up the latest literature on human time,
one would be tempted to conclude that it is only in our present age that human beings
have felt themselves to be living in a time-pressed world--a world that corresponds to the
time-compressing faculty of the human imagination. In his notable Faster: the
Acceleration of Just About Everything, James Gleick concluded in 1999 that "We are in a
rush. We are making haste. A compression of time characterizes the hife of the century
now c haing` (9; emphasis added). Declaring ours to be the "epoch of the nanosecond,"
Gleick appreciates how our "worldwide communications systems" depend upon the
"Hinicality of the modern timekeepers" to manage "[i]nhuman ... compressed time
scales." Gleick cites even Bill Gates, the computer baron, who worries, "It seems like the
whole world operates in five-minute intervals" (qtd. in Gleick 12).
As much as he positions himself among time-anxious nanotechies at the end of the
twentieth century, Gleick sounds like a Victorian Englishman. Indeed, one can argue that
nineteenth-century westerners contemplated more radical changes in their experience of
time than those now living at the dawn of the third millennium. Mostly, the change in
their experience of time was due to the introduction of the railroad. Reducing the time
for ordinary stagecoach travel by two thirds, railroads caused Londoners (and Parisians
and Baltimoreans) to become lightheaded at the sudden reconstitution of normal space-
time experience. It was one thing to imagine, as a youthful Dickens did while reading Le
Sage, floating above the city on a magic carpet. It was quite another to physically see the
landscape zipping past one's eyes from a railcar.
As Wolfgang Schivelbusch has deftly noted in The Raibray Journey: the
Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Centwry, Victorians' concrete experience
of space was doubly affected by the railroads: "space was both diminished and'
expanded" (35; original emphasis). Space was diminished because distance seemed to
decrease as the customary time for traveling from one point to another decreased. In
1850, Dionysius Lardner in Raibray Economy formulated the equation this way:
"Distances practically diminish in the exact ratio of the speed of personal locomotion"
(35; qtd. in Schivelbusch 33). Yet the reduction in transportation time was met by a
corresponding expansion of space; if people could travel from point A to B in only one-
third the time, they could also traverse three times more space in the customary time.
Lardner observed how the new expansion of spatial travel was creating London's
It is not now unusual for persons whose place of business is in the centre of the
capital, to reside with their families at a distance of from fifteen to twenty miles
from that centre. Nevertheless, they are able to arrive at their respective shops,
counting-houses, or offices, at an early hour of the morning, and to return without
inconvenience to their residence at the usual time in the evening. Hence in all
directions round the metropolis in which railways are extended, habitations are
multiplied, and a considerable part of the former population of London has been
diffused in these quarters. (36; qtd. in Schivelbusch 35-36; emphasis added).
Though commuters arrived home "at the usual time," they were traversing unusually
expansive landscapes in the process. It would be a while before the unusual felt
As locomotive technology was giving Victorians a new sensorimotor basis for what
constituted daily time, developments in geology and biology were forcing Victorians to
comprehend an unprecedented expansion of historical time. Lyell's Principles of
Geology (1830-1833) and Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) extended the earth's
age from several thousand to several hundreds of thousands of years. In one sense, deep
time produced intellectual humility; Lyell declaimed, "We are prepared to find that in
time also, the confines of the universe lie beyond the reach of mortal ken" (3 84; qtd. in
Buckley 27; original emphasis). In another sense, however, the expansion of earthly time
magnified the confidence Victorians had that human progress had culminated in their
These developments in practical and theoretical science helped produce what
Patricia Murphy has aptly called the "Victorian engrossment in time" (10). This
preoccupation with time--as well as with time's correlate, space--was manifest in
various ways, expressed in the modes of both expansion and compression. As Victorians
were busy advancing history's progress by spatially extending the Queen's empire, they
were also busy finding ways to compress or cut up time in order to study it, manage it,
and benefit from it. Whether we look in on Charles Kingsley, who in 1850 imagined a
tailor having an dream in which he personally evolves from "the lowest point of created
life" up through "soft crab," remoraa," and "baby-ape" finally to become not merely a
"selfish-savage" man but a Christ-like "servant" (Alton Locke chap. XXXVI); or Frederick
Winslow Taylor, who in 1880, in the first of his time-efficiency studies, determined that
"a laborer could load a wheelbarrow with loose dirt and wheel it a hundred feet two
hundred and forty times in a 10-hour day" (Kanigel 202); or Eadward Muybridge, who in
the 1880s captured the Human Figure in M~otion and Animal Locomotion using split-
second photography; or H. G. Wells, who in 1895 sent one man in The Time Machine to a
revolutionary future in 802,701 A.D.-no matter where we look, it seems, what we
repeatedly notice is the Victorian mind trying to master the enigma of time, both the long
and the short of it.
As different as they are, the works of Dickens, Hopkins, Whitman, and Forster that
are discussed at length in this dissertation emerged from, and provide further evidence of,
the "Victorian engrossment in time." Yet more than just representatives of the era, these
texts are particularly interesting because they offer central figures that prompt the mind to
perform time-compression blending. They thus lead readers to re-enact in their own
minds the time-compressing character of the Victorian age.
The Future of Figuration
If we are to think about the future differently, we will have to appreciate both the
limits and the possibilities of the mind that can first conceptualize the world before
undertaking to change it. Utopian (or, for that matter, dystopian) futures can only be
conceptualized by human brains, and human brains will undoubtedly continue to be, for a
very long time yet, embodied brains. It is true that our present sensorimotor body sets
some limits on the basic image schemas and primary experiences that will resource our
concepts for time as well as our concepts for other complex subj ective and social
experiences. It is also true, however, that the embodied mind's creative power of
blending allows a virtually unlimited number of possibilities for new concepts, new ideas,
and new modes of experience made possible by "living in" these new blends. The
inherently creative, embodied mind grounds our imagining, conceptualizing, planning,
and acting. If there are to be alternative imaginations, concepts, plans, and actions, we
will have to look there. The path to the future, to utopia, leads through the body--
probably even to the body. And with their creative blends, the artists are leading the way.
CONCEPTUAL ANATOMIES OF MARLEY'S GHOST AND VICTORIAN
DEBATES ABOUT HELL
A Conceptual Anatomy of Marley's Ghost
This chapter presents two conceptual anatomies and shows their relation. The first
anatomy is of Jacob Marley's Ghost, a chief character in Charles Dickens's 1843 short
novel A Christma~s Calrol. Using instruments from the theory of conceptual integration
networks--also called blending theory--the anatomy will show that the reader's mind
must activate and integrate several input mental spaces to construct, comprehend, and
competently read Marley's Ghost, each input mental space lending different elements to
the blended space that composes the ghost. Furthermore, some of the input spaces
feeding into the ghost blend will be proven to be conceptual blends that are themselves
fed by still other input spaces. In this first section, a significant finding will be presented:
a particular element in the ghost blend--namely, the chain surrounding the ghost--
prompts the mind to create both metonymic and metaphoric meanings. The ghost' s chain
thus offers evidence contesting Roman Jakobson's famous conclusion that there is a
"competition between both devices, metonymic and metaphoric" (46; emphasis added).
This first conceptual anatomy will show why blending theory is well equipped to account
for the way the imagination can create and understand a complex figure possessing
elements that must be read as simultaneously metonymic and metaphoric.
In the second section of the chapter, the Marley's Ghost blend will be recruited for
a conceptual anatomy of Victorian notions of punishment, both legal and theological.
Geoffrey Rowell, in Hell and the Victorian2s, identifies three chief beliefs about hell
evident in British religious debates of the period:
1. hell as a future destiny of re-embodied souls following the resurrection at the jitture
Last Judgment and Second Coming of Christ;
2. hell as a state of spiritual or moral punishment, into which sinful or immoral souls,
conceptualized as disembodied and immortal, enter immediately after death;
3. hell as an internal, self-imposed state experienced in one's present life on earth.
Historical evidence shows that there was a marked emergence of the third belief during
the Victorian era, and that theological calls for reform in the divine justice system
resonated with legal calls for reform in the British penal system.
Marley's Ghost can help explain the dynamics that made it possible for Victorians
to move from the first two conceptualizations of punishment and hell to the third. One of
the key features of Marley's Ghost is its compression of time (past, present, and future)
into one figure, with a corresponding compression of cause and effect (past deeds lead to
punishment in a future afterlife). While Marley's Ghost compresses what are normally
contrasting and dissimilar temporal states into one figure, that compression into one body
makes possible the concept of the self-production of hell in the here and now, which
becomes evident in the novel's narration of Ebenezer' s Scrooge' s life. Scrooge
effectively "lives in the blend" made possible by the compressions of traditional
eschatological dynamics, for he exhibits a personal hell and heaven compressed to
internally caused, present states of mind. Literary critics have already noted the
Victorian character of Scrooge' s self-made hell and subsequent self-reform into domestic
bliss. However, the anatomy performed here offers a new account of the dynamics that
permit Marley's future hell to be conceptualized as Scrooge's present hell. Marley and
Scrooge are themselves condensed pictures of larger Victorian conceptual developments
made possible by the compression that results from conceptual blending.
Contributing Spaces to the Conceptual Network Containing Marley's Ghost
There are several input spaces that contribute to the network from which Marley's
Ghost can emerge as a unique conceptual blend. These spaces include no fewer than the
* the living, embodied person
* the corpse
* the soul and its afterlife
* Victorian concepts of justice, both legal and theological
* the notion of a life as the unified product of a unified individual's own labor over
* the embodied experiences of carrying a heavy burden and of being physically
By attending to each of these spaces, we can dissect and reassemble the conceptual blend
that is Marley's Ghost and account for the meanings it prompts readers' minds to create.
The Living, Embodied Person
In the fictional world ofA Christmas Calrol, Jacob Marley was once a living,
embodied person, the business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge. At some point Marley died,
his body was buried, and, until Christmas Eve seven years later, Scrooge had no reason to
think that there was anything left of Marley except some memories and business
accounts. From that once-living Marley, the ghost receives much of its physical
appearance: it has "The same face: the very same" (Dickens A Christmas Carol 22). It
"looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look, with ghostly spectacles turned up upon its
ghostly forehead." Along with these visible features, Marley's Ghost receives its audible
voice from the living Marley, as the narrator confirms in relating the first conversation
between Scrooge and the ghost:
"(How now!" said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever. "What do you want with
"Much!"--Marley's voice, no doubt about it. (26)
Despite its "transparent" immateriality, the ghost also has some of the motor activities of
Marley's physical body, for it can to do certain activities that seem familiar to Scrooge,
like sitting in a chair:
"In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley."
"Can you--can you sit down?" asked Scrooge, looking doubtfully at him.
"Do it then."
Scrooge asked the question, because he didn't know whether a ghost so
transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair; and felt that in the
event of its being impossible, it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing
explanation. But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fire-place, as if he
were quite used to it. (26-30)
Additionally, from the living Marley the ghost receives the things attached to its
chain: cashboxess, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel"
(26). In this input space, these items are connected to Marley as objects of the business
hife he led. (We should keep in mind, however, that not every obj ect Marley used in
business is attached to his chain. There are no pens or inkbottles, for example, even
though they contributed just as much to his money-lust. As we shall see, the obj ects
selected are done so for their weight, which derives from a different input space.)
Finally, Marley's Ghost retains the memories of the living Marley, as well as the
ability to call upon those memories when conversing with Scrooge. In many ways, the
ghost seems very much like the once-living Marley.
The corpse of Jacob Marley lends two inputs to the ghost blend. First, the
appearance of the ghost has the appearance of Marley at his death. The ghost does not
look or sound like a version of Marley in his youthful prime. The ghost has the "death-
cold eyes" (26), the "fixed, glazed eyes" (30) that correspond to the dead body. Scrooge
notices, too, that the ghost has a "folded kerchief bound about its head and chin, which
wrapper he had not observed before" (26). The kerchief was commonly tied around the
head and chin after death; in fact, in 7he Annotated Christmas Calrol one can see a sketch
of a hauntingly similar wrapper around Dickens's own deathbed corpse, drawn by John
Everett Millais in 1870 (77). When the ghost removes its kerchief, "its lower jaw
dropped down upon its breast" (Dickens A Christmas Calrol 32)--a reminder of the
corpse's loss of muscle control prior to rigor mortis. Marley's Ghost, the corpse of Jacob
Marley "seven years dead" (24), maintains this aspect of the memento mori.
Second, the corpse input space provides a very important inference of the end of
agency. Although Marley's Ghost appears to have animate agency, it is limited in one
crucial way: it cannot change its fate. His partner, Scrooge, has a future that is still open,
for Scrooge is still alive and can ask, hopefully, "Are these the shadows of things that
Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be, only?" (128). But Marley's Ghost
lives with a closed future; the "things that Will be" cannot be changed. This closure
comes from the input space of the corpse, for the corpse marks the endpoint of the time
period for which the soul is morally and spiritually accountable.
In cognitive terms, we can identify the concept of a corpse as an input space that is
itself a constructed blend of other input spaces. We will be able to understand how the
corpse is a conceptual blend if we compare it to the concept of the soul, for the two are
According to Turner, the western notion of the soul, which has roots going back
before Aristotle, is the result of a blend of two input spaces. In one input space, there is
the irreducible, living human being; in the other, there is the embodied and neurally
entrenched "spatial story" of actors who cause obj ects to move:
If actors move obj ects, what moves the actors? What is the source of their
movement? One answer that has come up historically is the soul. The soul is what
moves the body. The body is the obj ect the soul moves as a consequence of its
own self-movement. In On the Soul, Aristotle surveys theories on the nature of the
soul, showing that in nearly all of them, soul is regarded as having movement and
sensation. His survey testifies to the antiquity and durability of recognizing actors
as movers and sensers. This abstract concept of the soul is created by a [...]
projection. We know the small spatial story in which an actor moves a physical
obj ect; we proj ect this story onto the story of the movement of the body. The
obj ect proj ects to the body and the actor proj ects to the soul. (The Literary M~ind
21; original emphasis)
In cognitive terms, the soul is not an obvious fact; it is rather an entailment created by the
creative proj section of a generic story about how we experience the world onto the
irreducible living human organism. If we picture how the generic story actor causes
object to move is proj ected onto living bodies, we can better see how the
conceptualization of the soul is an invention of the embodied mind (Figure 2-1).
As Figure 2-1 helps clarify, the concept of the soul is an entailment that results
when the mind proj ects onto an otherwise irreducibly unified organism an intentional,
"internal" actor that moves an "external" body. It is grounded in our most basic
embodied experiences of observing others actors as they cause other obj ects to move.
Input Space 2:
Input Space 1: Generic Story of
The Whole Caused Motion
I Cause of motion
Person,I (pushing, pulling,
\ ~ Object
< ~ ~ Inetin
Blended Space: 't ,
Body Moved a ,
By The Soul \ ,' Body
Figure 2-1. The Soul as an Entailment of a Conceptual Blend
Furthermore, when we use the word "corpse" we are already presupposing a body
that no longer seems to have a source of animate agency, an internal actor. Because the
concept of a corpse manifests the same concern for agency, it is related to that of the soul.
In the case of the corpse, what we proj ect into the blended space is the idea of absence
(Fauconnier and Turner The Way We Think 205, 241). We project the person's source of
agency and intention into the blend, but we conceptualize that source as missing (Figure
In addition to observing an actual corpse, other embodied experiences may help
entrench in the mind the paired concepts of internal soul and external body. When we
see a person put on clothes and move around in them, we conclude that the person inside
the clothes is the agent that causes the external clothes to move. However, if we see the
Input Space 2:
Generic Story of
Input Space 1:
Figure 2-2. The Corpse as a Conceptual Blend of a Body Missing the Soul
same suit or dress hanging before us on a hanger or a mannequin, it can seem as if the
clothes are missing their internal agent. In A Christma~s Calrol, the clothes of Jacob
Marley may thus play an important part in convincing Scrooge that the entity moving
inside Marley's clothes is Marley's soul: "Marley in his [...] usual waistcoat, tights, and
boots" (Dickens A Christma~s Calrol 26; emphasis added).
Another embodied experience that helps entrench the dualism of soul and body is
the experience of dreaming. After having a dream, we may conclude that our soul has
been traveling outside the body, for on awaking we find ourselves suddenly in our body
once again instead of in the dream world. In our dreaming, we may experience flight or
instantaneous travel to different spatial and temporal realms, and so we may conclude
that the source of our conscious thoughts and emotions is radically disembodied. In this
sense, it may be significant that Scrooge meets the ghost at a time and place associated
with dreaming. Scrooge meets Marley's Ghost not in the crowded London streets, and
not during daylight hours, but when he is alone, at night, in his bedroom.
Finally, Dickens invokes an additional set of embodied experiences that aid the
entrenched dualism of soul and body. When Marley's Ghost climbs the house stairs and
passes through the locked door, the flames in Scrooge's bedroom fireplace undergo a
sudden change: "Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried 'I
know him! Marley's Ghost!' and fell again" (26). It is a common experience to observe
the flames in a fire suddenly intensify after previously waning. But with the generic
concept of caused motion, the mind can readily supply an agent to account for that event.
So the embodied experiences of flames, dreams, clothes, and corpses all help
reinforce the concept of the soul as an agent that causes the body to move. The
entailments from this blend create the possibility of claiming that the soul is something
that is distinct from the body, something that is absent from the body at death, and
something that can even escape the body.
We are now in a position to ask what happens to the soul when it is conceptualized
as absent from the body. What has Marley's soul been up to in the seven years since it
escaped the corpse?
The Soul in the Afterlife
We would not be able to conceptualize the afterlife of the soul without the prior
conceptualization of the soul as an agent that animates the body and, consequently, as
something that may metaphorically depart the body at death, leaving an inanimate corpse.
In Marley's case, the departed soul appears to have an afterlife that is very similar to
embodied life. The soul appears to animate Marley's Ghost form much the same way
that it animated the living body. It causes the ghost body to move and to sit in a chair.
But more important than physical movement, the ghost exhibits emotions that the living
Marley could experience: regret, anger, despair. The ghost also exhibits the resource of
memory necessary to have these emotions, and memory and emotions are necessary as a
basis for intentional action. In short, Marley's Ghost seems to exhibit a consciousness
capable of thought, zentory, emotion, and desire--much like the consciousness that
seems to depart from our body when we dream.
But the soul animating Marley's Ghost differs from the soul that animated the
living Marley in several significant ways. First, as we have already discussed, even
though Marley's soul exhibits agency, that agency is restricted. The fact of the body's
death bars the soul from being able to change its ultimate destiny in the afterlife. Second,
the soul that moves Marley's Ghost also exhibits a different kind of agency: it can now
move its ghost form through walls and travel across the globe without restriction--an
unprecedented form of motion unavailable to the living Marley except, perhaps, in
involuntary dreams. Third and most innovatively, the soul of Marley's Ghost
experiences new emotions and acquires new memories, insights and thoughts after the
body's death. It even relates some of these afterlife experiences to Scrooge. When
Scrooge asks, "But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?" (32),
Marley's Ghost indicates the new knowledge and feelings his soul has acquired in the
"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him
should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that
spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to
wander through the world--oh, woe is me!--and witness what it cannot share, but
might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"
In sum, after bodily death, Jacob Marley's soul experiences continued consciousness. In
the afterlife the soul acquires new memories, new knowledge, and new feelings. And yet
this afterlife consciousness is also restricted in one specific way: it can no longer act on
its own behalf. Indeed, its particular form of suffering appears to be the direct result of
this discrepancy: despite its enlightenment, Marley's soul cannot use its afterlife
awareness in any practical way. It cannot change its fate.
Punishment in the Afterlife
The ghost states that its suffering in the afterlife is punishment deserved for the
earthly life of Jacob Marley. In the passage cited above, the ghost comments to Scrooge
that the soul is "required" or "condemned" to perform certain acts. These words point to
concepts about justice that are also feeding the ghost blend. While these concepts are
specifically theological, we must admit the possibility that theological concepts of justice
are partially based on already existing legal (or even other) concepts of social justice.
Many Victorians took the biblical concepts for divine justice to be literally true.
Indeed, in the Hebrew scriptures, or Christian Old Testament, the Judaic faith develops as
a literal, legal covenant, a contract between God and the people, complete with stipulated
punishments should the people fail to obey (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). However, many
Victorian theological and secular scholars presumed that human concepts for divine
attributes and actions are inherently metaphorical and thus always provisional. There is
precedence, from both biblical texts and the history of theology, for adopting such
epistemological humility. The second commandment prohibits reifying any single image
as a sufficient representation of the divine (Exodus 20:4). And in the history of Christian
theology, John Calvin, whose Reformation writings in the Institutes of the Christian
Religion heavily influenced Protestant belief, repeatedly stressed the limitations of human
concepts for divine reality. Calvin, emphasizing the "impossibility of a purely literal
interpretation" of scripture, consistently warned that believers should not "insist precisely
upon the words" (1388, 1389).
This imprecision of human concepts for the divine is evident in one important
difference between the Victorian legal system and the theological. In Victorian England,
people were not ordinarily rewarded by the Queen for obedience to her laws. In Judaism
and Christianity, however, the souls of those who obeyed God in life are rewarded. In
Judaism, the obedient bnai brith, children of the covenant, can die knowing that their
obedience will be remembered within the surviving community. In Christianity, despite
the Protestant emphasis on faith over works, the faithful can die with the Pauline hope
that they shall receive eternal life after death: a "crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also
that love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8 KJV). So the Heavenly King who dispenses
justice metes out reward as well as punishment, unlike his earthly counterpart who seems
preoccupied with punishment alone. People's ability to keep the legal and eschatological
systems distinct is not insignificant, for it manifests an ability to consciously keep two
conceptual domains in metaphorical relation without substituting one for the other. This
is a key finding of blending theory: when creating conceptual blends, including
metaphors, from input spaces, our minds are both selective and creative. We selectively
proj ect only some elements from an input space to the blend (the human monarch
executes justice; the Heavenly King does, too). But we also disregard many other
elements in the input spaces (human monarchs age and die; the Heavenly King does not).
Moreover, the blended space can develop new inferences, too (human monarchs are
powerful enough to hand out rewards to the living who have served them well, but the
Heavenly King, omnipotent, can hand out rewards even to the dead, whom he resurrects).
Despite their differences in the matter of reward, in the matter of punishment
Victorian concepts of human and divine justice were quite similar. As John R. Reed
notes in Dickens and Thacker~ay: Punishment and Forgiveness: "'Forgiveness' is a word
in a moral lexicon, 'pardon' in a legal one. 'Punishment' appears in both" (xiii). Many
Victorians could acknowledge that the human social justice system was but a dim copy of
the divine justice system. Yet most Victorians also believed that once real people died,
their souls would be subj ected to some real form of heavenly justice, even if that form
remained imperfectly knowable by human minds. Just as a criminal is condemned to do
recompense for his crimes, the soul animating Marley's Ghost states that it is "required"
or "condemned" to perform certain acts as penalty for the life it led while it animated
Marley's living body. Like the earthly penalty, the divine penalty laid upon the soul
produces discomfort. The ghost says that one of its punishments is "to wander through
the world" with regret (32). The ghost is conscious of "what it cannot share, but might
have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!" In addition to emotional suffering, there
is also visible in Marley's Ghost an indication of something like physical punishment.
The ghost' s body is bound by a chain, to which heavy obj ects are also attached.
Under closer scrutiny, this chain and its obj ects prove to be in both metonymic and
metaphoric relation to different input spaces.
"I wear the chain I forged in life"
Marley's chain is described in Scrooge's first introduction to the ghost: "The chain
he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and
it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cashboxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers,
deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel" (26). Later in their conversation, the ghost
answers Scrooge' s question about the origins of the chain:
"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and
yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.
Is its pattern strange to you?"
Scrooge trembled more and more.
"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong
coil you bear yourself! It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas
Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!" (32)
This chain is no mere piece of metal. Despite how easily and quickly we may grasp its
meaning, the chain is an element in a complex blend of input spaces. The ghost that is a
conceptual blend wears a chain that is also a conceptual blend.
Although Scrooge immediately understands the chain to be an instrument of
punishment and restriction ("You are fettered"), the ghost explains the chain as
something else entirely. It is, claims the ghost, a reified metaphor of its earthly labor. In
this metaphorical blend, a chain and its interconnected links proj ect to a human life. In
the target space, there is a human being who physically changes over time and who likely
undertakes many diverse activities over time. In the source space, there is a metalworker
who never changes over time and who does only one thing: he forges metal links into a
chain. A key entailment of this metaphor is that a person fashions, out of a supply of
resources, a unified life. Notice, however, that we do not proj ect into the target space any
split between the subj ect and the obj ect (metalworker alienated from metal) that might
exist in the source space. Once again, this confirms blending theory's claim that
projections from one space to another are always selective rather than total. Indeed, the
metaphor does not indicate alienation at all, but rather a unity produced out of diverse
activities over time. Through this CHAINOF LIFE metaphor, a human being's subjectivity,
temporality, and productive activity can be conceptualized as one unified event.
The CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor achieves the conceptualization of life as a unity
through compression. It compresses identity over time: a person can be said to have a
unified life because, in the metaphor, there is only one person, a metalworker, who is
never anything else. Unlike any actual person, this metalworker begins and ends life
knowing how to do his job. But the chain also compresses actions over time. He never
stops making a chain to do anything else. In the metaphor, a person's life of activities is
one chain. Different actions across different times are compressed into a unified whole,
connected by sequence and by category. Actions in the target domain of life receive
sequential connection because each link is preceded by one link and followed by another.
And actions are also connected by category because each link, no matter where it exists
on the chain, is the same kind of thing: a link.
In the conceptual space of Marley's Ghost, Marley's soul is a metalworker, and his
actions during--but not after--his earthly life make up the chain. When his body died,
the forging ceased, and his chain then became apparent. Moreover, according to Marley,
Scrooge's soul is a metalworker, too. But because Scrooge is not dead yet, Scrooge (and
the reader) cannot see the "ponderous chain" Scrooge has been forging for himself. Only
Marley's Ghost is in a spiritual, post-death, post-forging position to see Scrooge's chain.
So when viewed from the input space of Marley's life, the chain around it is
metaphoric: by conceptualizing Marley's labors and actions over time as a chain,
Marley's soul prior to death is metaphorically understood to be an unchanging
metalworker who does one thing, and his earthly life is metaphorically understood to
have sequential and categorical unity.
The Chain as Instrument of Punishment
We have seen how Marley's Ghost wears a chain that relates to the input space of
his earthly life, metaphorically conceptualized as the CHAIN OF LIFE. As we may recall,
however, Scrooge first identified the chain as a restraint: "You are fettered." The chain
appears to bind the ghost, just as a literal chain binds an inmate in the penal system. If
Marley's chain is also an instrument of punishment, how is it punitive? Literally?
The punishment of resurrected bodies at the future Last Judgment
Marley's chain may, in one sense, be considered a literal instrument of punishment.
As Geoffrey Rowell confirms, some (if not most) Victorians believed divine punishment
is more like literal human punishment, for they believed it has yet to fall upon future,
resurrected bodies, of which Christ' s, so far, is the first and only one. This Jewish, pre-
Hellenistic strand of eschatology still abided in the nineteenth century (as it does to this
day), especially among dissenting Protestants such as the Baptists, who may have
influenced Dickens as a child (Rowell 28; Ackroyd 43-44). According to this belief, the
earth will have its eschaton, its Last Day, at an undetermined future point. The Last Day
will also bring a Last Judgment. According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, at the Last
Judgment the dead will no longer "sleep" but "shall be raised incorruptible"; "this mortal
must put on immortality," resulting in a new blend of spirit and body, a "spiritual body."
Resurrected, the dead will be then be sentenced by Christ to either heaven or hell, where
they will experience either j oy or torment in a manner befitting a "spiritual body."
In this view, then, Marley's Ghost could be interpreted as a preview of punishments
to come for Marley's yet-to-be-resurrected body. His chain is nzetonynzically associated
with his fieture punishment. In its current afterlife state, Marley's disembodied soul
suffers spiritual torment, but his soul, along with all of creation, is still awaiting the Last
Judgment. The ghostly body that appears to Scrooge's eyes is but a shadowy anticipation
of that future re-embodied state in which Marley will wear a real chain for all eternity.
For the Victorian who leaned toward this view, Marley's Ghost could be read as a
nzetonynzic precursor of the Last Judgment that is yet to come.
The punishment of immortal souls immediately after death
Among Victorian Christians, the belief that judgment only happened at a distant
Last Day was not the prevailing view. Rather, as Rowell indicates, "both Protestant
orthodoxy and pietism reverted to an emphasis on the day of death as the decisive point
in eschatology" (28). A corollary to this emphasis was the belief that the soul is immortal
and entirely distinguishable from the body. Although this latter belief derives from non-
Christian, Hellenistic roots, it combined with the earlier eschatology to form a belief that
the immortal soul is judged, sentenced, and enters its eternal destiny immediately after
separation from the corpse. Crucially, in this view the soul's route to final judgment is
direct rather than deferred to an unforeseeable end-time.
As Christian scriptures offer evidence that spiritual punishment and reward are
deferred to a Last Day, they likewise attest to the more direct path. In the New
Testament parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke recounts the story of a poor beggar,
Lazarus, who lies outside a rich man's gate hoping for a few crumbs. The two die and
are immediately located in what appear to be post-judgment spaces:
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into
Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up
his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that
he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in
this flame. (22-24; KJV)
We may safely presume that, like Calvin, some Victorians understood Abraham's
heavenly "bosom" and the hellish "torments" of "flame" as metaphors for realities that
are ultimately beyond human comprehension. Yet these same Christians--indeed, even
non-Christians and deists influenced by the Enlightenment idea of "natural immortality"
manifested by the rational mind (Rowell 28)--also believed in the immortal and
disembodied soul as a literal fact. Victorian Christians assumed that, after bodily death,
the soul continued to experience conscious thought and emotion. But they also believed
that death immediately brought the soul to final judgment by God and a sentence to an
immortal life of heaven or hell. Consequently, Victorians could take Luke' s parable to be
literally true in terms of time: a dead person's soul inanediately enters heaven or hell. At
the same time, though, Victorians could take the parable to be metaphorically true in
terms of physics: there would be no real flames tormenting real bodies in hell, but rather
the spiritual or emotional equivalent of physical torment.
For Victorian Christians who understood divine justice to work in this way,
Marley's Ghost would not be a metonymical preview of a future resurrected body but a
metaphorical affirmation that Marley's immortal soul has been punished ever since it left
the corpse. The chain surrounding the ghost is likewise metaphoric rather than
metonymic: borrowing from the human legal system, the chain conveys an idea of
penalty bestowed upon a disembodied soul. Marley's Ghost's body surely cannot feel the
chain as literally restrictive--indeed, in the ghost's own words, his ghost body is
condemned to move freely about the world. The chain surrounding him is thus
incongruous with physical restriction. The chain must be understood as an embodied
metaphor conveying the restriction of something other than the body. In Marley's case,
what is restricted is the soul's agency. He is unable to intervene in the world and "share"
or "turn[ ] to happiness" any of the world' s misery. So, more than punishment of the
visible body, Marley's punishment is of the will and emotions--and in the conceptual
blend that has the soul as an entailment, the will and emotions belong to the soul, not the
In sum, in this view Marley's chain is only metaphorically related to his
punishment. As a metal chain restricts the material body of an inmate, Marley's chain
restricts the agency of his immaterial soul. And his torment lies precisely in having the
desire to be an agent of change while lacking all ability.
Marley's Ghost seems tormented by more than restricted agency, however. His
ghost body is restrained by more than just a chain. Our anatomy of the ghost must still
account for all the obj ects that are attached to that chain.
"Cashboxes, keys, padlocks [...] and heavy purses wrought in steel"
Attached to the chain around Marley's Ghost are several obj ects: cashboxess, keys,
padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel" (26). We can now view
these obj ects from the standpoint of each of the different spaces in the entire conceptual
integration network. Depending on the space from which we consider these obj ects, they
are either absent, metonymic, metaphoric, or, strangely enough, at once metaphoric and'
*In the space of the human justice system, which serves as a basis for the divine
justice system, these items are absent. Real prisoners may be chained, but they do
not usually have items associated with their life prior to imprisonment physically
attached to that chain.
* In the space of the living Marley, they are metonymic--that is, they are things that
Marley actually worked with in his business. Importantly, they are only a selection
of things from Marley's business, e.g. cashboxes and ledgers, but not pens or
* In the space of divine justice understood as future judgment of resurrected bodies,
these elements are also metonymic, but in a different way. They are precursors of
future punishment. Because divine justice dispenses a sentence befitting the sin,
Marley's resurrected and re-embodied soul will suffer holistically-physically and
spiritually--in relation to the very things he used in the course of his sinning.
* In the space of divine justice conceptualized as a spiritual burden experienced by
immortal souls after death, these items are metaphoric. Cashboxes, ledgers, and
steel purses are additional weights and restrictions placed upon the immortal spirit,
conceptualized here through the metaphorical source domain of the physical body
("You are fettered"). Added to the weight of the chain, their weight further restricts
the soul's agency in the afterlife.
* In the unique space of2arley 's Ghost itself; the ghost wears the "chain I forged in
life," so these additional items are metonymic elements from Marley's life that also
compose his metaphoric CHAIN OF LIFE. The ghost experiences the items as
simultaneously metonymic and metaphoric.
We can now see that the ghost space truly differs from the other input spaces. The
ghost space is a uniquely inventive blended space. It is fed by selected elements from the
other input spaces. And while it includes elements from the input spaces, it also develops
new inferences that do not derive from the other inputs.
The Ghost Blend Offers New Meaning at Once Metaphoric and Metonymic
For one thing, we can see that "chain" in the ghost space develops new meanings
that do not derive from any of the other input spaces. The CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor has
been created solely 0I ithrin the blended space of the ghost. The chain is not a vital
element taken from any of the other input spaces. The CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor has
nothing inherently to do with Marley's embodied business life--he was an accountant,
not a metalworker. The CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor does not derive from biblical texts or
theologies, either; it is not inherent in the idea of the soul's disembodied afterlife, or in in
the idea of the soul's resurrected and re-embodied afterlife.
Very significantly, the CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor does not derive from the input
spaces of legal or divine punishment, either. The only element connecting the metaphor
to punishment is the literal idea of a chain. But the meaning that "chain" has in the
CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor, where it is the product of one 's labor, is completely different
from the meaning it has in the conceptual frame of punishment, where it is an instrument
So how can one of the world' s most famous ghosts be built upon such a weak
semantic link (pardon the pun)? Actually, according to Turner and Fauconnier,
conceptual blends are often crystallized by just such random, circumstantial connections:
"Creating the blend often involves the exploitation of metonymies" ("Metaphor,
metonymy, and binding" 469). Consequently, what appears to be a coincidental
connection between input spaces can be exploited to serve as the cornerstone of a new
construct that offers new insights and inferences. In the conceptual integration network
producing Marley's Ghost, there is the concept of divine justice, and this in turn is
metaphorically understood through the experience of human justice, which has the
element of chain metonymically associated with it. This chain is recruited by the ghost
blend to create an entirely new concept, the CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor. This metaphorical
concept posits the unity of a person's identity over time and the unity of a person's
actions over time. It also posits a direct causal relationship between a person and the
varied actions that person undertakes. The causality and unity posited by the metaphor
help us to a new insight: Marley has forged the very chain that restricts him. Having
reached this insight, we may then proj ect it back into the space of divine justice, so that a
key new inference emerges there, too: in earthly life, Marley's soul created the very
instrument of spiritual punishment that will restrict his soul in the future and/or eternal
We cannot exaggerate the creativity of the mind manifested by the invention of
Marley' s Ghost, as well as the creativity of the reader' s mind that can comprehend the
ghost and its chain. Somehow, as Dickens's mind was playfully traversing across the
various input spaces he was dealing with, his mind forged a link between two different
meanings of "chain." This mental link occasioned a new conceptual link, permitting the
concept of productive activity (forging a chain) to be blended with the concept of
instruments of punishment (a fettering chain).
It might be argued that the force compelling this conceptual link is the notion from
the space of human and divine justice that "the penalty should fit the crime." Admittedly,
when we look at Marley's Ghost, we have an almost immediate sense that he is being
punished according to his own sin. If we scrutinize this thoroughly, though, we can see
that this immediacy starts to fall apart. Even if we take the ghost' s suffering to be a
literal precursor of his resurrected body's future punishment, we have to ask: What crime
is the counterpart of a punishment that weighs down a body with heavy ledgers and
cashboxes? Marley is not accused of having weighed down other bodies during his
lifetime. Nor is he accused of having been so peripatetic in life that his soul must now at
last be restricted. Indeed, his punishment is that he is "doomed to wander," so he really
can move, and without the normal restrictions placed on physical bodies. By his own
testimony, Marley says his chain does not keep him from moving out into the world, it
only keeps him from helping other people, which is what he now, in eternal hell, desires.
So Marley's crime is not directly related to his moving body. The only way that the
cashboxes and the chain can fit his crime is as a metaphor of restriction. The restriction
is on the soul's ability to share "what it cannot share, but might have shared."
If we let our own minds play within the network and elaborate it, we might also
discover that cashboxes and keys and padlocks--unlike pens or ink, which have not been
selected to the blend--look like items connoting enclosure. To the enlightened soul in
hell, they are painful reminders of the person who, in life, was unwilling either to share
his (literally) enclosed accumulations or to escape his own (metaphorically) enclosed area
This anatomy of Marley's Ghost has demonstrated that the chain and its contents
are part of a blended space with both metaphoric and metonymic connections to several
distinct input spaces, including the accounting business, the human penal system, the
theologies of eschatological justice, and the embodied experiences of being confined,
bound, and weighed down. The blended space has exploited a metonymic relation to one
of the input spaces in order to develop the concept of metalwork as metaphor for life, a
new meaning that does not derive from the input spaces. In this blended space,
metonymic counterparts from Marley's life are visited upon the ghost as metaphoric
burdens that confine the disembodied spirit. Blending theory can account for each of the
spaces that contribute to the larger network, and for the complex relations that exist
between the spaces. But blending theory is especially equipped to explain how the
ghost' s chain and cashboxes can be simultaneously metaphoric and metonymic. Without
referring to these multiple spaces and the complex relationships between them, the
Jakobsonian model, in which metaphor and metonymy are always assumed to be in
"competition," can appear rather oversimplified and inflexible (Jakobson 48).
A Conceptual Anatomy of Victorian Debates about Punishment
In Marley's Ghost, we have seen how the chain in the blend occasions new
meanings unavailable from the input spaces. Another set of crucial new meanings also
arise from within the blended space alone: the compression of time, and a corresponding
compression of cause and effect. In the figure of Marley's Ghost, Scrooge and other
readers of the ghost get to see what is normally impossible for any human being to
actually see: a direct and visible connection between earthly life and future afterlife. This
leads us into the second section of this chapter, in which we show how compression in
Marley's Ghost can illuminate legal and theological debates arising in Victorian England
and, consequently, shed light on several literary critiques of A Christmas Calrol.
If we juxtapose A Christmas Calrol alongside Victorian debates about both penal
and eschatological punishment, we can see in Marley's Ghost, as well as in Scrooge's
response to the ghost, the conceptual dynamics that make these debates meaningful.
Because Marley's Ghost compresses time, it also compresses cause and effect. In
Marley's ghostly body, future effects (punishments to come in the afterlife) are
compressed with past causes (the deeds of earthly life). As a result, what are normally
radically disconnected spaces--earthly past and present, on the one hand, and deferred or
unascertainable eschatological future, on the other--are visibly and tightly connected
aI ithrin the same body. At the same time, in the ghost blend the agents and instruments of
sin are compressed with the agents and instruments of punishment. Marley's earthly
preoccupation for his business becomes the chain that restricts his eternal soul. As a
result, the ghost condenses a justice system that normally requires several agents and
instruments-an individual commits acts through various means, is judged by another
individual, and is then sent to be punished by other individuals with other means of
punishment--to a system that requires only one agent and instrument: the individual
The implications of these compressions visible in Marley's Ghost are mind-altering
and life-changing for Ebenezer Scrooge. Though Marley's Ghost is constructed of
orthodox eschatology, Scrooge appropriates from the ghost something unorthodox.
Instead of being reminded that a state of true justice is rendered only after death or at the
end of time, Scrooge learns from Marley's Ghost that a person creates his own living
heaven or living hell. Indeed, as Dickens scholars have argued, this is the precisely way
Scrooge is depicted throughout A Christma~s Calrol. Readers are shown a Scrooge who is
not so much a figure bound for a future hell as one who already lives in a present-day
hell of his own making. And readers also see that Scrooge, rather than adopting a radical
hope in a future justice rendered by God, also becomes his own agent of destiny,
ultimately creating for himself a present-day state of heaven-like j oy.
If we understand the compressions that are made visible in Marley's Ghost and
appropriated by Scrooge, we can gain insight into debates that emerged in the middle of
the nineteenth century concerning both penal and eschatological punishment. In penal
terms, Marley's Ghost compresses the many parties, agencies, and instruments involved
in the legal justice system to the internal dynamics within the mind of one individual.
This mirrors a utilitarian desire in the Victorian era to help the lower classes educate
themselves to avoid crime and its punishment. In eschatological terms, Marley's Ghost
compresses past deeds and future punishment into a single body. This helps us trace how
a Victorian Christian--someone like Scrooge, or someone like the liberal theologian F.
D. Maurice--could move from believing that hell is a future punishment delivered by
God, to believing that hell is a present state of mind caused by oneself.
Victorian Challenges to Retributive Justice
In debates about both eschatological justice and Victorian legal justice during the
nineteenth century, the concept of punishment experienced challenges and calls for
reform. In order to foreground these developments, it will be helpful first to highlight the
existing background ideas of punishment in both the eschatological and penal arenas.
In eschatology, the entrenched view was, as the apostle Paul writes in Romans
3:23, that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (KJV). Paul presumed
that God's glory is injured by human sin, and thus the only penalty for a crime committed
against the divine nature is the annihilation of the sinner: "For the wages of sin is death"
(Romans 6:23 KJV). In the British justice system, this theological concept of punishment
was matched by a feudal legal code that established penalties based upon the status of the
injured. A crime against the monarch, for example, was defined as essentially different
from a crime against a peasant or a member of the working class. Harsher punishment
was merited because the offence was against a more important being. In theology, hell
was defended the same way, "on the old feudal ground that an offence against an Infinite
Being merited infinite punishment" (Rowell 30); "Orthodox Christians insisted that it
was retributive, 'vindictive', as they frequently described it" (42). We could argue about
which way the influence flowed, from the legal to the theological or vice versa, but we
can safely conclude that the two systems of justice reinforced each other. The
appropriate punishment for any crime, penal or eschatological, was retribution, and
retribution was based not on the dynamics of the act itself but on the assumed nature of
the party injured by the act.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the utilitarian ideas of Jeremy
Bentham generated new doubts about retribution. In utilitarian theories of punishment,
emphasis shifted from the needs of the injured party to the need to prevent criminal
activity in the first place. Because urban crime was increasing, retribution no longer
seemed a perfect deterrent. Moreover, too harsh a punishment was seen to exacerbate,
rather than to soften, criminal behavior. Utilitarian critique led to a new focus on the
intentions of the individual offender; intervention was needed to affect those intentions so
the potential offender would never commit offenses and the past offender would not
repeat. As Michel Foucault famously argued, the compulsion behind much European
penal and educational reform in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can be
understood as an attempt to get subj ects to provide their own surveillance (Discipline and
Punish 195-228). In traditional retribution, cause and effect--individual offense and
state discipline--were separated. In the emerging conceptualization, however, distinct
cause and effect were becoming compressed to the subj ect' s own self-controlling
Because of this desire to mold the inner life of potential criminals, the Victorian era
witnessed broad efforts to educate the lower classes, which were viewed as the cradle of
most criminal activity. Apparently, just before he wrote A Christma~s Calrol, Dickens
appeared with fellow novelist and future prime minister Benj amin Disraeli at a fundraiser
at "The Manchester Athenaeum, founded to provide a place of education and recreation
for the labouring men and women of that city" (Ackroyd 407). Dickens often expressed
his firm belief in the need to reduce crime by improving "Ignorance," famously depicted
in A Christmas Calrol as a "Yellow, meager, ragged, scowling, wolfish" street urchin in
present-day London (102). Yet Ignorance is also just a boy; if he is sent to schools
instead of "prisons" or "workhouses" (103), he may have a chance to be led not into
temptation: "Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out
menacing" (102). Throughout the Victorian era, leaders and institutions, both evangelical
and secular, collaborated in this desire to educate the lower classes so they would be
ruled by inner "angels" rather than inner "devils."
Among Victorian theologians, similar uneasiness about retribution affected debates
about eschatological justice, resulting again in a focus on the inner life of the individual.
Rowell notes that the "uneasiness" that carried over from legal to theological debates
"appears more in terms of the general way in which hell was questioned, than in the
specific citation ofBentham's ideas," which was rare (13). This "general"
reconsideration of punishment in both the penal and the eschatological domains is
significant, but not simply because it indicates how deeply the two were enmeshed in the
Victorian mind. More significant is that, in both penology and eschatology, the focus
was increasingly on the (potential) offender's own mind:
By Benthamite criteria hell was not a successful punishment, for it manifestly did
not prevent sin and crime; as an evil, which all punishment was held to be, it
inevitably compromised the goodness of God; and an infinite punishment, which
was imposed because the offence had been committed against an infinite Being, did
not tally with Bentham's contention that in punishment regard should be paid to
the intentions and understanding of the offender. (14; emphasis added)
So under the influence of utilitarianism, liberal ministers began conceptualizing orthodox
eschatology differently. Just as legal reformers turned the spotlight away from injured
parties and vindictive punishment to focus, instead, on the mind of the potential criminal,
some liberal theologians shifted away from sin as injury to God and hell as God's
retribution to focused on the mind of the potential sinner.
A key entailment of this shift is that the temporal sequence of cause and effect
involved in offenses and punishments could be reframed as occurring within the mind
itself. The theologian who best exemplifies this reframing is F. D. Maurice, who taught
at King's College in London until being dismissed for his unorthodox views. In his
Theological Essays of 1853, Maurice removes the future from eschatology altogether,
and he argues that heaven and hell are present-day emotional states of the individual:
The state of eternal life and eternal death is not one we can refer only to the future,
or that we can in anywise identify with the future. Every man who knows what it is
to have been in a state of sin, knows what it is to have been in a state of death. He
cannot connect that death with time; he must say that Christ has brought him out of
the bonds of eternal death. Throw that idea into the future, and you deprive it of all
its reality, of all its power. I know what it means all too well while you let me
connect it with my present and personal being, with the pangs of conscience which
I suffer now. It becomes a mere vague dream and shadow to me, when you proj ect
it into a distant world. (405; original emphasis)
For Maurice, sin is not an act committed by one party against another. Sin is the "pangs
of conscience," a state of "my present and personal being." Notice that Maurice also
equates sin with hell, now an earthly experience of feeling "the bonds of eternal death."
Sin is not what causes a future eschatological judgment; it is the present feeling of hell.
And salvation is not something given to the believer in an eschatological future; it is the
present feeling of having been delivered from the feeling of hell.
The individualistic shift in Maurice' s Theological Essays results in a definition of
sin as individualistic, as a turning away from social connections: "the sense of Sin is
essentially the sense of solitude, isolation, distinct individual responsibility" (25). And
sin is experienced when a person "recollects how he has broken the silken cords which
bind him to his fellows; how he has made himself alone, by not confessing that he was a
brother, a son, a citizen" (25-26). As the disease is individualized, so is the cure. It is up
to the individual to repent of individualism. All responsibility for both feeling and for
action falls upon the individual; the presence or possibility of social, ecclesiastical, or
divine agencies (as in orthodox theology) appear to recede backstage.
Marley's Ghost: Decompressing Cause and Effect to Disconnected Spaces?
Rowell cautions against exaggerating Bentham's and Maurice's influences on both
penology and religious belief, reminding us "that there were those who stood by a
retributive theory of justice" throughout the Victorian era (14). Belief in a future hell,
too, was steadfastly and widely preached, mostly for its "deterrent value [...] used to
ensure virtuous living in the present" (30). Contrary to what we might expect of
someone, who, as a child, was scarred by his father's stint in debtors' prison, Dickens
seems to have preferred plain old punishment to many penal reforms. The biographer
Peter Ackroyd reports that in the year before writing A Christma~s Calrol, Dickens toured
the United States, where he was introduced to alternative "model prisons." Apparently,
Dickens found them too comfy:
He believed the 'model prisons' to be too lenient to their inmates and extolled
instead the virtues of hard and unrewarding labour. Certainly he preferred a regime
which relied more upon punishment than upon moral improvement; 'it is a
satisfaction to me,' he wrote some years later, 'to see that determined thief,
swindler, or vagrant, sweating profusely at the treadmill or the crank'" (377).
If Ackroyd' s characterization is accurate, then we could surmise that Dickens believed
that Marley gets the future afterlife that his earthly life deserves, and that Scrooge is
effectively deterred by the spectacle of Marley's future in hell.
Upon this assumption, we could easily be tempted to conclude that the Marley's
Ghost conceptual blend performs an important function that Fauconnier and Turner call
"decompression" (The Way We Think 237). Some blends have the aim of being
decompressed: they prompt our minds to dissolve a tight inner relation that exists in the
blend so that we can reflect on the way that certain input spaces in the network actually
clash. This is especially obvious in counterfactual blends, where an analogy created by
the counterfactual possesses rhetorical effect only when it is decompressed into
disanalogy. For example, suppose I were to say, "If I were Superman, I could push the
earth back three months in its orbit around the sun and give myself more time to finish
my dissertation." In the counterfactual blend, two identities are compressed into one: I
am Superman and thus able to reverse time. But my counterfactual statement really
prompts the mind toward disanalogy: I most certainly am not Superman, I cannot turn
back time, and my dissertation deadline is rapidly approaching. Decompressing what is
compressed in the blend puts me and Superman back in our two appropriate, but very
different, input spaces. The counterfactual and its decompression have the effect of
spotlighting feelings of powerlessness in the input space that includes me.
Likewise, when we contemplate Marley's Ghost, our minds may--and I stress
may--be prompted to decompress what appears to be compressed in the counterfactual
ghost. Decompressing the ghost leads us to remember that we do not take it literally.
Decompressing its painful appearance reminds us that, in our actual experience, sinners
often do not suffer the consequences of their acts during their lifetimes. Decompressing
thus spotlights a rather desperate hope in a future time or divine realm--what Maurice
derided as a "distant world," "a mere vague dream and shadow" (405)--in which all
people will actually get what they deserve. Decompressing Marley's Ghost in this way,
we sustain a very ancient theological view of eschatology. Our minds first loosen the
tight causal connection that exists in the ghost blend: we see that Marley's earthly activity
forges the very chain of his soul's eternal punishment, but then we push the cause and the
effect back to their distinct and disconnected spaces. Decompressing Marley's Ghost
reminds us that we live in an earthly, unjust realm where many evil people are actually
quite happy, and where many good people unduly suffer. The ghost and our mind's
decompression of it spotlight an awareness that the two spaces, living deeds and just
deserts, are radically disconnected in real life, and can only be connected by an act of
equally radical hope.
Marley's Ghost: Compressing Penal Cause and Effect within the Individual
Now, if you do not feel that the Marley's Ghost blend prompts our minds to
decompress its tight connections, I cannot blame you. Marley's Ghost seems confident in
the truth of its compression of cause and effect over time: acts done during lifetime create
the instruments of a future, eternal punishment. If daily experience disconfirms the
connection of cause (actions during life) and effect (just deserts for those actions),
Marley's Ghost provides Scrooge with visible proof of that connection (Figure 2-3).
Because Marley's Ghost compresses two input spaces, two times, that in normal
life appear disconnected, it consequently exhibits a justice system very different from the
normal idea of retribution. Earthly retributive justice involves actions of many parties:
the state, which relies on several actual agents (police, prosecutor, prison warden),
punishes the offender for harming an injured party. Hell's retributive justice also
involves many parties: God punishes sinners for offenses against the glory of God,
against the commandments of God, or against another person bearing God's image. But
Marley's Ghost condenses these many parties to one: Marley punishes himself.
Space 1: Space 2:
Earthly Future or
Causes: Lack of Percetible Effects:
actions, `\ Connection ,, just deserts
just and for all
unjus 1 / actions
Cause Is Effect
Figure 2-3. Compressions of Cause and Effect in Marley's Ghost
If Marley's Ghost compresses many parties to one, it also compresses many actions
to one. In earthly retributive justice, the means of offense and the means of retribution
are varied:. a burglar may use a gun to rob a store, and a warden may use food rations,
chains, guards with rough habits, etc., to punish the burglar. And in eschatological
justice, orthodox belief holds that sinners commit various offenses, and that in final
reckoning before God, God will create punishments that will be appropriate to the sins.
But in Marley's Ghost, the instruments of sin are the instruments of punishment. Again,
the many are compressed to one. Various actions, distinct causes and effects, are
compressed to a relationship of identity: cause is effect.
By compressing times, identities, and causes and effects into one self-punishing
body, Marley's Ghost makes possible new eschatological concepts that are remarkably
congruent with the liberal views of F. D. Maurice and others. Borrowing a term from
blending theory, we can understand Maurice's unorthodox eschatology as the product of
"backward proj section According to Turner, new inferences that emerge in the blended
space may be "proj ect[ed] back to give correlative inferences for the influencing spaces"
(Turner Cognitive Dimensions of Social Science 36). Inferences created in the Marley's
Ghost blend may consequently be applied to input spaces that feed the blend. The ghost
compresses earthly time and eschatological future into one body that is visibly "present"
to Scrooge. If that inference is proj ected back to the input space of religious belief, the
result is an eschatology like Maurice's: each individual suffers hell or enj oys heaven in
their present body.
Incidentally, while backward proj section of inferences from the blended space may
permit new conceptualizations of an input space, it may also necessitate downplaying
other critical inferences that are part of the original blend. In eschatology, for example, if
compression erases the distinction between life and afterlife, then a key inference from
the input space of the corpse--the idea of a decisive end point to the soul's agency--is
diminished. There is not as great a need for an end point to the soul once the gap
between the two realms has been closed. In fact, Maurice fell into hot water precisely
over this matter because most readers of his Jheological Essays~sssssssss assumed, incorrectly,
that the author professed the universalism of the Unitarians (Rowell 62). In universalism,
the afterlife permits no retribution because God's nature, it is presumed, is not vindictive.
The weakness of universalism, charged opponents (including Maurice), was that it
inadequately acknowledged the reality of "spiritual evil" (Maurice 28; Rowell 77).
Despite Maurice' s rejection of universalism, the popular misperception of Maurice
as soft on sin makes sense as an entailment of his compressions of eschatological time
and causation. First, his compression of eschatological time creates a problem: once
earthly life and eternity are conflated, it is a small step to conclude that all souls will
eventually be reformed and saved, whether in this life or the next. If there is not some
point in time that marks an end point of the soul's agency, then there is less incentive to
try to make the soul's immortal life on this side of bodily death count for good. One can
always use the next stage in eternity to work out one's troubles. Second, an additional
problem is created by the compression of eschatological cause and effect. Once hell is
defined as the present product of one' s own sin, then sin, having no final, eschatological
standard, may seem to be relative to each person's personal experience. And to the
ancient protest that evildoers have it too easy in this life, the only answer can be that
people must try harder to persuade evildoers that, despite evidence that they are happy,
they are actually experiencing hell. This task of persuasion can quickly be scorned as just
one more burden the evil do not have to bear.
Interpreting Scrooge as "Living in the Blend"
In A Christma~s Calrol, the task of persuading Ebenezer Scrooge that he is actually
experiencing hell falls upon many characters, major and minor. While it is true that the
novel maintains some ostensible concern for the state of Scrooge's soul in a future
afterlife, it is more apparent that the novel repeatedly portrays Scrooge as someone who
lives in a present hell of his own making. Several Dickens scholars have noted this fact,
even if they have not sufficiently related the eschatology emerging in Scrooge to the
eschatology in Marley's Ghost.
Elliott L. Gilbert, revealing a Mauricean preference for an existential rather than
eschatological definition of eternity, argues that Scrooge's story is one of eternal
innocence lost and found again. Gilbert lauds the novel for showing that "chronology, in
short, is an illusion" (28) caused by the individual's fall from eternal innocence into the
"machinery" of "rational society" (27). Restoring one's innocence is escaping from the
"enemy" of chronological time by recognizing that "the past, present, and future exist in
an eternal present":
[T]ime, which is therefore the enemy, can be defeated by a phenomenological
insight into the simultaneity of all experience; defeated as Scrooge himself defeats
it when, immediately upon awakening from his dream, he cries out, "I will in the
Past, the Present, and the Future! The Spirits of all Three shall live within me!"
Gilbert adroitly observes the ways Dickens compresses time to simultaneity for the
novels' characters as well as for the reader. In the case of Scrooge, "the whole of his life
is actually lived in the course of one night"; consequently, "if he is of any age at all, he is
barely half-a-dozen hours old" (28) by the reader's standard, even though the reader has
seen Scrooge's entire life fastforwarded.
Additionally, says Gilbert, Dickens compresses time by juxtaposing a child with an
adult so that we see only one, identical character:
[O]ne of Dickens' favorite devices [...] is the use of a child and an adult together in
a story to represent the same character at different stages of his life, but with the
two existing--as if to underscore the metaphysical point of the story--
simultaneously. Tiny Tim and Scrooge have that kind of a relationship in A
Christmas Carol, the rej ected child of Scrooge' s memory of himself being
actualized in the crippled boy (29)
In the alternate future in which Tiny Tim dies, Scrooge also dies; in the actual future of
the story, Tiny Tim lives, and so does Scrooge. In Gilbert's analysis, when the reader
sees the two as one, the reader is engaging in the same redemptive act of simultaneity.
Gilbert' s claim that Scrooge' s redemption lies within his own power is echoed by
Dennis Walder in Dickens and Religion: [I]t is one of Dickens' s deeper and more
convincing insights that [Scrooge's] alienation from humanity is shown to be rooted in
self-alienation" (123). John R. Reed explicitly ties Scrooge's self-alienation to the idea
of self-punishment. Scrooge's "punishment is to discover through psychological travail"
his own "internal fault" (155). "Gradually," says Reed, "Scrooge emerges from the
dungeon of his self into the light of family affection, and into a recognition of his
fellowship with all creatures." Reed' s inclusion of penal, theological, and domestic
elements in his statement-"dungeon," "light," "family affection"--may look like a
forced mixture of distinctly different conceptual domains. But Reed' s mixture makes
sense when readers observe Scrooge first refusing the love offered to him by his former
fiancee, Belle, and his nephew, Fred, and subsequently repenting by finally joining
himself to the welcoming families of Fred and the Cratchits.
In these interpretations, Scrooge is said to exemplify what we identified at the
beginning of this chapter as a third view of hell that emerged in the Victorian era: hell as
an internal, self-imposed state experienced in one's present life on earth. Interestingly,
while these interpretations clearly point out the eschatology implied in the narration of
Scrooge's life, these interpretations are rather silent about the eschatology apparent in
Marley's Ghost. And none accounts for the fact that, although the eschatologies of
Scrooge and the ghost share conceptual roots, they yield very different theological fruit.
A cognitive anatomy of Marley' s Ghost and the life of Scrooge can show how the
two eschatologies are related but different. Let us first recall that the ghost' s body
confirms three beliefs from orthodox eschatology:
* The afterlife really exists
* At bodily death, one loses the agency to affect one's eternal fate
* In the afterlife, just deserts are rendered for choices made in earthly life
Scrooge never directly challenges these beliefs--indeed, he seems to accept them as
having been verified by the words and appearance of the ghost. However, as scholars
have pointed out, Scrooge's life as it is narrated by Dickens seems to confirm some
surprisingly unorthodox beliefs about eschatology:
* Scrooge exhibits the afterlife (hell) as identical with his earthly life
* In his earthly life, Scrooge experiences the just deserts for choices he has made
In the argument presented here, Scrooge is "living in the blend" created by
Marley's Ghost. Marley's Ghost as a unique conceptual blend within a larger conceptual
integration network that includes pre-existing contributing input spaces. If we
decompress Marley's Ghost as a counterfactual, we create no revision of orthodox
eschatology. The ghost confirms the traditional hope in a final and perfect system of
justice, without forcing us to confuse the concepts of this life and the afterlife. However,
if temporal and causal compressions in the ghost are proj ected back to the input space of
theology, we create two unorthodox, yet intriguing, possibilities: earthly life and afterlife
are no longer disconnected but simultaneous~tttt~~~ttt~~~ within the same person; and earthly actions
and eschatological justice are no longer disconnected but identical within the same
The eschatology exhibited by Scrooge can be explained as the backward proj section
of temporal and causal compressions that exist visibly in Marley's Ghost. I do not mean
to imply that this is what actually occurred in Scrooge's mind--Scrooge, of course, is a
Sectional character with no biological brain apart from the one that created him. But
neither do I mean to claim that Dickens must have first created Marley's Ghost, next
reflected on the theological possibilities created by his ghost, and last created Scrooge's
existential hell and redemption by reifying the compressions made visible in the ghost.
What I do claim, however, is that Dickens, like many Victorians, had a creative mind that
could play along several input spaces. Moreover, Dickens's mind, like the minds of
many social reformers and theologians of his era, was playing along some of the same
conceptual input spaces. And because the mind naturally seeks to blend conceptual
spaces in order to solve problems and create new solutions, it therefore makes sense that
similar kinds of blending would pop up in different arenas, from theological essays to
works of the narrative imagination.
As Turner writes, "The blend does not eliminate the influencing spaces. On the
contrary, the blend exists in a conceptual integration network of different and interacting
mental spaces, all of them with their uses. We can work inside the blend, or outside the
blend, or in both simultaneously and interactingly" (Cognitive Dimensions of Social
Science 44). F. D. Maurice' s Theological Essays and Dickens' sA Christma~s Calrol share
"interacting mental spaces," especially the spaces of penal theory and Christian
eschatology. The unique advantage of Dickens's creation is that it provides a single
Eigure, a ghost, in whom we can detect those mental spaces and how they are blended to
make possible new inferences. Furthermore, the present conceptual anatomy ofMarley's
Ghost exemplifies how minds can "work inside the blend, or outside the blend, or in both
simultaneously and interactingly." Working inside the blend, we have accounted for the
implicit hell of Scrooge's own making, as well as for Maurice's explicit compression of
the distance between present and eschatological future to simultaneity in the present.
Working outside the blend, we have shown how Marley' s Ghost can still be interpreted
as confirming traditional orthodox beliefs about the afterlife. Working between the blend
and the input spaces, we have accomplished two more steps. First, we have illustrated
how the construction of the entire integration network is occasioned by the innovative
CHAIN OF LIFE metaphor, recruited to the blend by the exploitation of a metonymy from
the domain of punishment. Second, we have indicated that any interpretation of the
entire network depends on whether what is connected in the blend is proj ected back to
affect an input space, or is decompressed to outer space relations.
If Scrooge is the decisive reader of Marley's Ghost, then his experience of "living
in the blend"--allowing his daily life to exhibit to the eschatological logic confirmed by
the ghost--points to a single interpretation. But the possibility remains, of course, that an
adequate interpretation will play along many possibilities-especially because we cannot
escape the fact that the orthodox eschatology generating Marley's Ghost' s is
incompatible with the unorthodox eschatology that Scrooge takes from the ghost. A
Christmas Carol thus vividly confirms how conceptual blends permit the mind to
generate new meaning that may appear to clash with the very sources of its generation:
We create mental blends to see whether we want to make them real, or to create
emotional states, or to draw inferences that impinge upon reality, or to solve
problems, or to achieve a compressed version of more diffuse knowledge, or to
supply a global insight into diffuse knowledge, or to create new meaning, or to help
us reason to choices, or for other purposes, and in doing so we often work
inevitably, simultaneouslyttt~~tt~~tt~~ having it both ways, 0 ithr a blend and an influencing
space that are incompatible or even, sometimes, centrally opposed. (Turner
Cognitive Dimensions of Social Science 44; emphasis added)
Having it both ways, we can keep Marley's Ghost and Scrooge in conceptual
tension with one another. That tension best illuminates the period's theological debates
about hell. It also best exemplifies the flexibility of the mind that can create and
comprehend conceptual blends.
THE GHOSTLY NUN: TIME COMPRESSION INT GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS' S
"THE WRECK OF THE DEUTSCHLAND"
From Sinful Ghost to Saintly Ghost
Marley's Ghost had a limited mission: to convert one man to a state of belief in the
afterlife of his soul. And the ghost succeeded: it changed the way Ebenezer Scrooge
thought about his future. Having experienced Marley's Ghost as a insightful
compression of time, Scrooge was able to change his decidedly unghostly life. If
Marley's Ghost surpassed its mission--by changing, say, the way Dickens's readers also
think about their own futures-then this can only be attributed to the hopes of the author
and the imaginations of his readers, not the explicit j ob description of the ghost.
A less familiar work than Dickens's tale, Gerard Manley Hopkins' 1875 poem
"The Wreck of the Deutschland" shares the hope of changing the future, and it also
conjures up a ghostly figure to that end. But while Marley's Ghost points its finger at a
single miser shaking in his bed in London, Hopkins's ghost points at everyone in
England. In "The Wreck," the ultimate hope is that all "English souls," once they
understand "the heaven-haven of the reward" in the afterlife, will be converted. Their
present impairment is not that they are Scrooges but Anglicans. Hopkins's poem tries to
persuade England that its future happiness lies in turning, as Hopkins himself had done
nine years earlier, to Roman Catholicism.
Because even the short poems of Hopkins are often complicated, many readers shy
away from "The Wreck of the Deutschland." At 280 lines, "The Wreck" is as difficult to
understand on a second or third reading as A Christmas Calrol is easy on a first reading.
Hopkins's friend Robert Bridges, upon introducing "The Wreck" to the public in the
1918 edition of Hopkins' s poems, wrote that "the poem stands [...] like a great dragon
folded in the gate to forbid all entrance" (Poems 1876-1889; qtd. in Milward Read'ings of
The Wreck v). Yet if we are guided by the model of the ghost as a conceptual blend, we
can get past that dragon and understand Hopkins's work as something very much like
Dickens's simple tale. Using the theory of conceptual integration networks, we will see
that Hopkins's poem prompts readers to construct a ghostly network of earthly, heavenly,
and nuptial scenes that results in the compression of different temporal moments into
one. By giving "English souls" a rather intimate insight into past, present and future, the
poem aims to motivate "rare-dear Britain" to turn from the apostasy of Henry VIII and
return to its once, and future, Roman Catholic faith.
Where "The Wreck of the Deutschland" Is Headed
To understand the future hope to which "The Wreck of the Deutschland" is
oriented, let us start at the poem' s end. In the last of its thirty-five stanzas, "The Wreck"
offers a prayer. Because it concludes the poem, this prayer is a clue as to how Hopkins
hoped to affect his readers. Further below, we will examine the complex blending that
leads up to this prayer, but in its last stanza we get a glimpse of the future hope that
generates the conception of ghostly blends in Hopkins's imagination:
Dame, at our door
Drowned, and among our shoals,
Remember us in the roads, the heaven-haven of the reward:
Our King back, Oh, upon English souls!
Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-
More brightening her, rare-dear Britain, as his reign rolls,
Pride, rose, prince, hero of us, high-priest,
Our hearts' charity's hearth' s fire, our thoughts' chivalry's throng' s Lord. (273-
The "Dame" refers to one of five nuns-"She was first of a five and came / Of a coif~d
sisterhood" (153)--who drowned when the Deutschlan2d ran aground off the mouth of the
Thames in a storm in December 1875. This particular nun is usually referred to by
scholars as the "tall nun," following Hopkins' s use of the term in line 15 1 of the poem.
News reports had noted the physical height of one of the five nuns. She and her fellow
Franciscan sisters had fled Prussia due to anti-Catholic legislation there. Hopkins, a
Jesuit priest who had converted to Catholicism nine years earlier, interpreted their deaths
as martyrdom. In his mind the nuns, after their deaths, received the "heaven-haven" of
"reward" for their witness to the true faith. In Catholic tradition, one can pray to those in
heaven and ask them to intercede with God on behalf of those still living. In this manner
Hopkins makes a request of the dead but risen "Dame," directing to and through her his
own desire for the eventual conversion--or, more accurately, the "reconversion"--of all
England (Moore 120; see also Bumstead).
In this final prayer, the poem offers a simple scenario of a king who rules over his
subjects. The sighing "Oh" and exclamation point in the fourth line of the stanza indicate
the depth of Hopkins's longing to have "Our King back, Oh, upon English souls! "
Although Roman Catholicism is not expressly mentioned here--it is more directly
praised, and Protestantism more directly condemned, elsewhere in the poem--a Roman
Catholic England is implied. To wish a king "back" implies that that king has been
absent. Absent since when? Since the days of "rare-dear Britain," the medieval days
when "chivalry" and "throng" and Rome-allied royals were part of a Catholic English
culture. Other terms-"high-priest," Easterr," "dayspring"--cast the reader' s eye
eastward to Rome and the "crimson-cresseted"' pope there who, until Henry VIII's
apostasy, was also "high-priest" of England.
Hopkins' s future hope is also captured in the last stanza' s imperative to the nun.
"Remember" is not only a call to mentally bring "back" something from the past. It is
also, in its literal sense, a call to gather again, to re-member, the lost (British) members of
the Catholic faith. In typical Hopkins fashion, this meaning is reinforced by the nearby
placement of an apparently insignificant word. As a noun, "shoal" means a shallow area,
but it also has a second, verbal meaning: "To come together in large numbers; throng"
(American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd ed.). The rhyme prompts our minds to link
the two: If English souls would only shoal under a Catholic king again, then the
heavenly King would be more pleased, and "his reign," restored from the "dimness" of
"our" English apostasy, more gloriously "roll."
Other images earlier in the poem contribute to this hope of a future regathering. If
the poem' s Einal stanzas depict a king "royally reclaiming" (271) his subj ects, the thirty-
first stanza shows a shepherd reclaiming his lost sheep. There, Hopkins expresses his
hope that the faithful obedience displayed by the nun, the fact that the "Maiden could
obey so" (247), will "Startle the poor sheep back!" (248). He immediately follows up the
shepherd image with another New Testament image of reclamation, that of the harvest:
"is the shipwrack then a harvest, does tempest carry the grain for thee?" The harvest
image has been shaping Christians' imaginations of the future since the time of Jesus'
death. For believers, the future holds the promised return of Jesus who will return to
retrieve what properly belongs to him: his harvest, his sheep, his subjects. Hopkins
nudges this traditional hope in a particular direction, emphasizing it as a future re-taking
of his England: "Our King back" "royally reclaiming" his "poor sheep back!" (emphases
added). Hopkins bends the flexible New Testament imagery of reclamation toward the
specific rewriting of English political and religious history. If the biblical Christ will
return to rule over a world of unified believers, then, for Hopkins, this hope should direct
English souls to be unified under one faith and under one Catholic king, again, on
English souls, shoals, and soil.
The Multiple Blend Network That Steers "The Wreck" to Its End
Now that we have seen why Hopkins set his poem sailing, let's look at the
conceptual integration network he creates to drive his readers toward his future hope.
Recall that in A Christmas Calrol Marley's Ghost prompts the reader to compress
different temporal realms into one embodied figure, giving visible confirmation of the
continuity of the soul on both sides of death' s divide. "The Wreck of the Deutschland"
offers similar insight, but through slightly more complicated means. Unlike Scrooge,
who was visited by a sinner, the English readers of "The Wreck" are visited by a saint.
She is one of the five nuns, "the tall nun" (151). In the poem, her body is figured as
simultaneously approaching death on the sinking ship and experiencing her heavenly
reward after death. What truly distinguishes Hopkins's nun is that her compression of
earthly and heavenly scenes is made possible by blending each of those two input scenes
with a third scene, nuptial intercourse. The presence of this third input space prompts the
reader of "The Wreck" to construct not one but three blended spaces:
1. There is a blend of the shipwreck scene with the nuptial scene.
2. There is a blend of the heavenly scene with the nuptial scene.
3. There is a blend of the previous two blends--a "multiple blend rather than two
intertwined metaphors" (Fauconnier and Turner The Way We Think 281).
It should be noted that the above are ordered not chronologically but conceptually; it is
likely that the reader will become conscious of the second and third blends before
noticing the first. For clarity's sake, I shall call the first two blends--the nuptials-
shipwreck blend and the nuptials-heaven blend--"minor" blends in the network. The
blend of the two minor blends creates the "maj or blend," which I also call the Ghostly
Nun blend. As we shall see, there are important differences between each of these
blends, and these are not eliminated as readers activate the entire network in their minds.
For example, an inconsequential element in a minor blend may become quite significant
in the maj or blend.
Ultimately, it is the maj or blend that achieves the compression of future and present
in "The Wreck." When the reader successfully activates this third blend, the nun
becomes an eerie figure inhabiting two temporally distinct times. She becomes a Ghostly
Nun, for her body simultaneously exhibits both before-death and after-death experiences.
The Input Spaces to the Ghostly Nun Conceptual Integration Network
For an adequate analysis of the Ghostly Nun, it will be useful to lay out the input
and blended spaces individually without referring to the text too much. Because even a
short phrase from Hopkins's poem can prompt readers to start constructing and
integrating all the conceptual spaces, it is better to delay that integration and, instead,
attend to the individual conceptual spaces that will be integrated. After we have briefly
elucidated the input and blended spaces feeding both the minor and maj or blends, we will
be able to return to Hopkins's words more closely and notice how they exhibit the entire
network and invite dynamic play along all the spaces.
Once we understand the conceptual makeup of "The Wreck," we will then turn to
various interpretations of "The Wreck." Responses to "The Wreck" can be distinguished
by which of the contributing spaces to the entire network a critical reader seems to
emphasize. By identifying which spaces scholars highlight in Hopkins, we can identify
both the merits and the limitations of an individual reading of the poem.
Finally, we will identify and examine the generic space that also contributes to the
entire multiple blend network. The generic space feeding "The Wreck" presumes the
experience of one' s own body being altered by external forces. The generic space is a
term we passed over in the previous chapter, yet it will prove more salient here. Any
argument about the overall rhetorical effectiveness of "The Wreck" may finally depend
upon a reader' s appreciation of the poem's generic space--or what Hopkins might have
called the "underthought, conveyed chiefly in the choice of metaphors etc used and often
only half realized by the poet himself" (Further Letters 252).
The Input Space of the Nuns' Shipwreck and Death
The tall nun as central character. The most ostensible input space given to the
reader is a scenario of one nun suffering and dying on a storm-tossed ship. The scenario
imagined in "The Wreck" is richly supplied by the events an actual disaster. There is
evidence that Hopkins was searching for a way to crystallize his powers to a new poetic
and religious purpose when the Deutschlan2d ran aground (White 250). While more than
sixty aboard the ship died and "Hopkins wrote without knowing all the particulars"
(Robert Bernard Martin 244), Hopkins focused on the political and religious significance
of the fact that five Roman Catholic religious women, "Banned by the land of their birth"
(Hopkins "The Wreck" 162), had also died in the disaster. Having read a report in the
December 11, 1875 issue of The Times that the tallest of the five, amid "shrieks and
sobbing of women and children," had been calling to Christ "till the end came," Hopkins
turned his sights on her (The Times; qtd. in Robert Bernard Martin 255). In his dramatic
poem, this particular nun vividly upstages all other characters who appear in "The
Wreck." The ship itself and the scores of other doomed passengers do not play key roles
in this drama. They receive almost no poetic attention compared to the tall nun who calls
out to Christ and her four sisters who together play lesser, but still meaningful, roles.
The nun is mortally vulnerable to natural forces. The other key element in the
shipwreck space is that of nature. The most important inference from the shipwreck that
pervades "The Wreck" is the inference that the nun's body is painfully and mortally
vulnerable before powerful natural elements. Wind, water, and cold each pose a danger
to ships and to human beings; combined together, however, these three forces become
Into the snow she sweeps,
Hurling the haven behind,
The Deutschland, on Sunday, and so the sky keeps,
For the infinite air is unkind,
And the sea flint-flake, black-backed in the regular blow,
Sitting Eastnortheast, in cursed quarter, the wind;
Wiry and white-fiery and whirlwind-swivelled snow
Spins to the widow-making unchilding unfathering deeps. (97-104)
In a deft touch, Hopkins manages to suggest two additional natural perils even though
they are not actually present in the Deutschlan2d disaster. He invokes the threat of jire by
calling the snow "white-fiery," and he raises the danger of sharp rock by giving the "sea"
the modifier "flint-flake." In this manner, Hopkins makes the reader see that his
shipwreck is more than just a story of one nun in peril at sea. His shipwreck calls to mind
the many natural perils that can cause human life to suffer and die.
The Input Space of the Nun's Afterlife in Heaven
A second input space to the Ghostly Nun network concerns the tall nun's future
experience after her death at sea. According to Hopkins, she is received into the
"heaven-haven of the reward" (275), which is awarded her for earthly service to Christ
and obedience to Christ's (Roman Catholic) Church.
The heavenly characters. In the heavenly input space, there are primarily two
beings: the tall nun and the deity (God/Christ), who causes the nun to receive her future
state of saintly afterlife. In the poem' s vision of heaven, the other nuns who have died
play a minor role in the heavenly scene, just as they do in the earthly scene. Their
presence recalls the fact that in Christian doctrine, all obedient believers who have died
for Christ will be given the heavenly reward. Indeed, Hopkins wonders if he can imagine
himself in that heavenly population, too: "But how shall I...make me room there?" (217;
The nun experiences a continued consciousness but a changed body. The
heavenly input space carries the assumption that the nun will still have conscious
existence after her death. Hopkins refers to the nun with the same identifiers--"she,"
"her"--in both the earthly and heavenly input spaces. Because she retains her
consciousness in the afterlife, she is much like the ghost of Jacob Marley in A Christma~s
Calrol, although with none of his regret and misery.
The heavenly space assumes some kind of new body for that consciousness,
however. Hopkins agrees with the apostle Paul that the human body "is sown a natural
body; it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44 KJV). Although it is difficult to