People say that Li Shangyin’s poems, which is ‘difficult to understand’ with the head of ‘Untitled Poems’ in the reader’s mind, can actually touch the readers deeply. What makes this possible? This paper examines the characteristics of Li Shangyin’s poems as an analysis method of cognitive poetics to solve this question.
Cognitive poetics deals with literary texts through the methodology of cognitive science. It is considered to be a useful methodology for analyzing how Li Shangyin’s poems are embraced. Main terms used in cognitive poetics include conceptual metaphors, foreground and background, image schema, mental space, text world, conceptual blending, and deixis. In this paper, the characteristics of Li Shangyin’s poems using these concepts of cognitive poetry are summarized as follows.
Li Shangyin’s poems often used conceptual metaphors such as ‘THINGS ARE HUMAN’, ‘LIFE IS A CHANGE OF SEASONS’, ‘LOVE IS A BIRD’, ‘LOVE IS A CORPORATED THING’ etc. There is also a case of securing the cohesion of messages by using an oriented metaphor. We can confirm that maximizing the rhetorical effect of Li Shangyin’s poems from the approach of foreground-background and image schema theory. And these feature seem to be cognitively strengthened through image schemas. It is able to reexamine the fact that the rich text world was unfolding in the Li Shangyin’s poems. The reader feels the fun of confirming the poet’s message across the colorful text world. The characteristic of Li Shangyin’s poems on things is to project the objects to the poet himself through the conceptual blending and deictic shift, and this technique was examined in the poems on emotions as well.
In short, the characteristics of Li Shangyin’s poems seen from the viewpoint of cognitive poetics are as follows: First, there is a conceptual metaphor or metonymy area which is usually used by Li Shangyin. Second, Li Shangyin’s poems have various text world that does not go far beyond the scope of the reader’s cognitive ability. Third, Li Shangyin’s poems depicts subjective feelings, but if you understand the meaning of conceptual blending and deixis, you can set your own interpretation direction. From the standpoint of cognitive poetics, I think that some of these features are backgrounds that can give a sense of aesthetic inspiration to the reader, even though it is said that Li Shangyin’s poems are hard to understand.