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Abstract

Philosopher Max Black proved in 1962 that metaphor is a rhetorical device that does not necessarily depend on an exegetic factor; he proposed instead the Interactive formulation that he based on the ‘untranslatable’ dimension of metaphor and that he understood as an alternative to the metaphorical mode of cognition by analogy existing until then. Metaphor, seen in this new light, emerges as a strategy of epistemological resistance aligned with some of the theoretical foundations of modernism and postmodernism. This article maintains that metaphor finds a privileged position in postmodernism, and many writers —among whom William Gass deserves special attention as a disciple of Black himself— use this metaphor of interactive nature as a structural device of literary works that are very often founded on the intuitive processes of metafiction; these pieces, that translate with difficulty, are formulated both as allegories of the act of writing and as prototypes of formal integrity. Paradoxically though, the aesthetic utopia of modernist tincture originally conceived by these artists gets dissolved into polymorphic and labyrinthine texts that usually have an equivocal and provisional character as tropological constructions.