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By Peta Mitchell

The metaphor of contagion pervades severe discourse around the humanities, the scientific sciences, and the social sciences. it sounds as if in such phrases as 'social contagion' in psychology, 'financial contagion' in economics, 'viral advertising and marketing' in company, or even 'cultural contagion' in anthropology. within the twenty-first century, contagion, or 'thought contagion' has turn into a byword for creativity and a basic procedure through which wisdom and ideas are communicated and brought up, and resonates with André Siegfried's remark that 'there is a notable parallel among the spreading of germs and the spreading of ideas'.

In Contagious Metaphor, Peta Mitchell bargains an cutting edge, interdisciplinary examine of the metaphor of contagion and its dating to the workings of language. analyzing either metaphors of contagion and metaphor as contagion, Contagious Metaphor indicates a framework by which the emergence and infrequently epidemic-like replica of metaphor might be larger understood.

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241). Metaphor is, as Derrida so eloquently puts it in Margins of Philosophy, ‘the chance and risk of mimēsis’, the ‘moment of the detour in which the truth might still be lost’ (1982 [1972], p. 241). Contagious Metaphor 35 In a 1989 interview published as ‘Rhetorique de la drogue’ (‘Rhetoric of Drugs’), Derrida goes even further, arguing that the pharmakon is explicitly linked to concepts of contamination, contagion, infection, virality and parasitism. Anything, Derrida argues, that affects ‘the proper’ has ‘the form of a virus (neither alive nor dead, neither human nor “reappropriable by the proper of man”, nor generally subjectivable)’ (1993 [1989], p.

Before I turn to analysing these plague narratives, and in order to set them in the context of the medical paradigms that they engage with, I will provide a brief outline of the history of miasmatic theories of contagion. 6 The Greek mia- (mίa-) denotes ‘defilement, the impairment of a Pestilence and Poison Winds 41 thing’s form or integrity’ (Parker 1983, p. 3), so that the term miasma (mίasma), in its general sense, encompassed both the notions of staining or tainting and also of physical or moral defilement.

49–50; emph. in original). This process of imitation, Nietzsche maintains, is implicitly linked with the process of metaphorization: Imitation presupposes first the reception of an image and then a continuous translation of the received image into a thousand metaphors, all of which are efficacious. Analog. What power forces us to engage in imitation? The appropriation of an unfamiliar impression by means of metaphors. Stimulus and ­recollected image bound together by means of metaphor (analogical inference).

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