2019, Volume 16, Issue 4

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Natalia V. Vasilyeva
Institute of Linguistics of the RAS
Moscow, Russia

Literary Onomastics: Traditional and New.
Review of the book: Kohlheim, V. (2019). Der Name in der Literatur. Heidelberg: Winter. 371 S.

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp. 241–251 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.4.055

Received 15 November 2019

Abstract: The review provides a critical assessment of the content of the book by the German onomastician Volker Kohlheim, composed in cooperation with Rosa Kohlheim and devoted to literary onomastics. The content of the book reflects first of all the categories of proper names, which the authors studied in detail in literary texts of different times: anthroponyms (Chapter 1), toponyms (Chapter 2) and urbanonyms (Chapter 3); secondly, particular problems relevant to modern literary onomastics: alien name in literature (Chapter 4), psychological factor (Chapter 5), name in translation (Chapter 6). The reviewer points out the way the book successfully combines traditional and innovative approaches to the analysis of proper names in literary texts. The tradition is evident in the application of the conceptual apparatus well developed in the German literary onomastics. The novelty is observed, first of all, in the use of tools of cognitive linguistics (cognitive mapping) and psychoanalytic literary criticism, as well as in an attempt to transfer the focus of the research from anthroponyms to other categories of proper names. The reviewer notes the subtle philological analysis of abundant onomastic material and the general informative value of the book that also contains a detailed terminological index and a large list of references. This combination makes the book useful for anyone interested in literary onomastics, especially for Germanic and Romance philologists. At the same time, the reviewer expresses some regret that the book does not contain a concluding part in which the authors would generalize the results of their research.

Keywords: literary onomastics, narrative texts, types and functions of poetonyms, name in mental lexicon, cognitive mapping, psychoanalytic literary criticism, proper names in translation.


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