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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Europe as Metaphor and Metonymy (in Relation to the History of Russia)

P. 175-190.

The diffusion of a name related to a certain cultural-historical center and representing a particular cultural-historical tradition, generally speaking, may be based either on the principle of metonymy or on the principle of metaphor. In the first case we have a natural process of cultural expansion, while in the other we face an artificial process of cultural orientation. In the one case centrifugal forces are manifested (the principle of metonymy), in the other centripetal forces prevail (the principle of metaphor). When England was called "Great Britain" (i.e. Great Bretagne), it was the result of a metonymic association. When a town in America received the name New Amsterdam or New Orleans, it was the result of a metaphoric association. In the case of a toponymic nomination based on metonymy the problem of center and periphery is actual; in the case of a toponymic nomination based on metaphor, the problem of old and new prevails. Generally speaking, metonymy is connected with relations in space, while metaphor is connected with relations in time. While a periphery is not necessarily contrasted to the center, the relations of old and new as a matter of principle appear as a contrasting opposition: the new is created as the antithesis of the old.

After the reforms of Peter I, Russia belongs to Europe not in a metonymic but in a metaphoric sense. In other words, the appurtenance of Russia to Europe appears as a result not of the expansion of Europe as the center of civilization to adjacent lands, but rather as a conscious and conspicuous orientation towards Europe: this was not a centrifugal but a centripetal proces

In book

Europe as Metaphor and Metonymy (in Relation to the History of Russia)
Uspensky B. A., Zhivov V. M. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2012.