De la métaphore à l’allégorie dans la sémiotique écologique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From metaphor to allegory in ecological semiotics

Göran Sonesson

If allegory is an extended metaphor, as classical rhetoric would have it, we should have to start by studying the latter. The system of the µ group, which I have elsewhere tried to amend and build out, steers clear of this traditional terminology, but if the resulting system should still be relevant to linguistic rhetoric, correlations must be found. However, while pictorial metaphors, contrary to verbal metaphors, are almost entirely a kind of primary iconicity, allegory must, in both cases, be founded on secondary iconicity. I use the term primary iconicity to describe the case in which similarity precedes and determines the sign function, opposing it to secondary iconicity, in which case similarity can only be perceived thanks to the sign function. Nevertheless, I will try to show that, in the case of the picture, allegory may more easily turn into “symbol”, in the sense in which this termed was used by the romantics in opposition to allegory. The argument is based on the distinction made by Lessing between two modes of representations reconceived in terms of modern semiotics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • signe visuel, visualité, image, figure, rhétorique, allégorie
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)77-92
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch