Abstract

Analogy was a crucial conceptual tool for Victorian natural philosophers, who regarded the physical world less in terms of material bodies than in terms of formal relationships. Thus, even as he aimed for verisimilitude in his theoretical models, James Clerk Maxwell used analogical figures freely, for he understood nature itself to be structured around analogical relations. Like Maxwell, Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote an undergraduate essay on the subject of analogy, conceiving it as fundamental to both scientific advancement and poetic production, where its logic of equivalence subsumes not only metaphor, but also rhythm and rhyme. The essay concludes with an argument that Swinburne’s poem “Before the Mirror” (1866) is a dramatization of the replacement of the traditional notion of metaphor by the structures of formal analogy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2052
Print ISSN
0042-5222
Pages
pp. 389-397
Launched on MUSE
2014-09-26
Open Access
No
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