Saturday, 12 July 2014


Metalepsis (from Greek μετάληψις) is a figure of speech in which a word or a phrase from figurative speech is used in a new context.

In narratology (and specifically in the theories of Gerard Genette), a paradoxical transgression of the boundaries between narrative levels or logically distinct worlds is also called metalepsis.

“deliberate transgression of the threshold of embedding”  resulting in “intrusions [that] disturb, to say the least, the distinction between levels.” It produces an effect of “humor” or of “the fantastic” or “some mixture of the two […], unless it functions as a figure of the creative imagination […]” (Genette [1983] 1988: 88). Genette (2004) also argues that not only is metalepsis a violation of the separation between syntactically defined levels, but also a deviant referential operation, a violation of semantic thresholds of representation that involves the beholder in an ontological transgression of universes and points toward a theory of fiction

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