Dissertation > Literature > Literary Theory > Literary criticism,literature appreciation

A Study on the Tropology of Hayden White

Author HeChuan
Tutor YangZhu
School Beijing University
Course Literature and Art
Keywords Trope Metaphor Text InterpretationPoetics of History Literariness
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Representing literary criticism of the new historicism, Hayden White constructed a sort of tropology to analyze historical texts after absorbing research findings of modern linguistics, philosophy and the like. It guided the linguistic turn in the philosophy of history after1970’s and became paradigm of interdisciplinary studies. This paper focuses on the theory, endeavoring to explain its origin, concrete connotation and interpreting effect while reviewing its significance and limitations.The first chapter revolves around the etymological meaning of trope. As a figure of speech in traditional rhetoric, it will be contrasted with modern tropology. Meanwhile, White’s four trope models’theoretical origin, e.g. Roman Jackobson and Claude Levi-Strauss’ four categories of trope and Giovanni Battista Vico’s four ones is detailed.The second chapter emphasizes on expounding each trope models, e.g. metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony, showing off their specific features. For White, metaphor is reproduction, stressing the similarity while metonymy means restoring, underling the thing’s externality; however, synecdoche is synthetic, emphasizing internality; irony denies, justifying the denied while affirming or vice versa.The third chapter probes into tropology classics in various disciplines, arguing that these models are not only the deep structure of various works of disciplines but can effectively help with interpreting the content as an explanative model.The fourth chapter describes the important role of tropology in White’s poetics of history, attempting to analyze its relationship with literariness. Meanwhile, combined with criticisms to White’s opinions, it approached and discussed about its limitations.

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