Главная страница Случайная страница

Разделы сайта

АвтомобилиАстрономияБиологияГеографияДом и садДругие языкиДругоеИнформатикаИсторияКультураЛитератураЛогикаМатематикаМедицинаМеталлургияМеханикаОбразованиеОхрана трудаПедагогикаПолитикаПравоПсихологияРелигияРиторикаСоциологияСпортСтроительствоТехнологияТуризмФизикаФилософияФинансыХимияЧерчениеЭкологияЭкономикаЭлектроника



An allusion is an indirect reference, by word or phrase, to a historical literary, mythological, biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life made in the course of speaking or writing. The use of allusion presupposes knowledge of the fact, thing or person alluded to on the part of the reader or listener. As a rule no indication of the source is given. This is one of the notable differences between quotation and allusion. Another difference is of a structural nature: a quotation must repeat the exact wording of the original even though the meaning may be modified by the new context; an allusion is only a mention of a word or phrase which may be regarded as the key-word of the utterance. An allusion has certain important semantic peculiarities, in that the meaning of the word (the allusion) should be regarded as a form for the new meaning. In other words, the primагу meaning of the word or phrase which is assumed to be known (i.e. the allusion) serves as a vessel into which new meaning, is poured. So here there is also a kind of interplay between two meanings.

Here is a passage in which an allusion is made to the coachman, Old Mr. Weller, the father of Dickens's famous character, Sam Weller. In this case the nominal meaning is broadened into a generalized concept:

" Where is the road now, and its merry incidents of life!.. old honest, pimple-nosed coachmen? I wonder where are they, those good fellows? Is old Weller alive or dead? " (Thackeray)

The volume of meaning in this allusion goes beyond the actual knowledge of the character's traits. Even the phrases about the road and the coachmen bear indirect reference to Dickens's " Pickwick Papers."

Here is another instance of allusion which requires a good knowledge of mythology, history and geography if it is to be completely understood.

" Shakespeare talks of the herald Mercury

New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;

And some such visions cross'd her majesty

While her young herald knelt before her still.

'Tis very true, the hill seem'd rather high,

For a lieutenant to climb up; but skill

Smooth'd even the Simplon's steep, and by God's blessing

With youth and health all kisses are heaven-kissing."


Mercury, Jupiter's messenger, is referred to here because Don Juan brings a dispatch to Catherine II of Russia and is therefore her majesty's herald. But the phrase "...skill smooth'd even the Simplon's steep..." will be quite incomprehensible to those readers who do not know that Napoleon built a carriage road near the village of Simplon in the pass 6590 feet over the Alps and founded a hospice at the summit. Then the words 'Simplon's steep' become charged with significance and implications which now need no further comment.

Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and the knowledge of the writer who presupposes a similar experience and knowledge in the reader. But the knowledge stored in our minds is called forth by an allusion in a peculiar manner. All kinds of associations we may not yet have realized cluster round the facts alluded to. Illustrative in this respect is the quotation-allusion made in Somerset Maugham's novel " The Painted Veil". The last words uttered by the dying man are " The dog it was that died." These are the concluding lines of Goldsmith's " Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog." Unless the reader knows the Elegy, he will not understand the implication embodied in this quotation. Consequently, the quotation here becomes an allusion which runs through the whole, plot of the novel. Moreover, the psychological tuning of the novel can be deciphered only by drawing a parallel between the poem and the plot of the novel.

The main character is dying, having failed to revenge himself upon his unfaithful wife. He was punished by death for having plotted evil. This is the inference to be drawn from the allusion.

The following passage from Dickens's " Hard Times" will serve to prove how remote may be the associations called up by an allusion.

" No little Grandgrind had ever associated a cow in a field with that famous cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that ate the malt, or with that yet


more famous cow that swallowed Tom Thumb; it had never heard of those celebrities."

The meaning that can be derived from the two allusions, one to the nursery rhyme " The House that Jack built" and the other to the old tale " The History of Tom Thumb" is the following:

No one was permitted to teach the little Grandgrind children the lively, vivid nursery rhymes and tales that every English child knows by heart. They were subjected to nothing but dry abstract drilling. The word cow in the two allusions becomes impregnated with concrete meaning set against the abstract meaning of cow-in-a-field, or cow-in-general. To put it into the terms of theoretical linguistics, cow-in-a-field refers to the nominating rather than to the signifying aspect of the word.

Allusions and quotations may be termed nonce-set-expressionss because they are used only for the оссasion.

Allusion, as has been pointed out, needs no indication of the source. It is assumed to be known. Therefore most allusions are made to facts with which the general reader should be familiar. However, allusions are sometimes made to things and facts which need commentary before they are understood.

Allusions are used in different styles, but their function is everywhere the same. The deciphering of an allusion, however, is not always easy. In newspaper headlines allusions may be decoded at first glance, as, for instance:

" 'Pie in the sky' for Railmen" 1

Most people in the USA and Britain know the refrain of the workers' song: " You'll get pie in the sky when you die."

The use of part of the sentence-refrain implies that the railmen had been given many promises but nothing at the present moment. Linguistically the allusion 'pie in the sky' assumes anew meaning, viz. nothing but promises. Through frequency ofrepetition it may enter into the word-stock of the English language as a figurative synonym.


© 2023 :: MyLektsii.ru :: Мои Лекции
Все материалы представленные на сайте исключительно с целью ознакомления читателями и не преследуют коммерческих целей или нарушение авторских прав.
Копирование текстов разрешено только с указанием индексируемой ссылки на источник.