Main Article Content
The article focuses on the language employed by the people who went through a near-death experience (NDE) when depicting their journey to the other world, the Afterlife, as well as on C. S. Lewis’s essay ‘On Stories’ (1965) in an attempt to draw a parallel between the world that opens up after death, on the one hand, and the world of stories, on the other. Using Raymond A. Moody’s Life after Life (1975/2015) and Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven (2012) as my NDE corpus, I explore the linguistic vehicles and the underlying conceptual metaphors and image schemas used by NDErs when depicting the typical stages that make up their near-death experience. Starting from the assumption that the lexis provides us with points of access to the conceptual content and ultimately to a cognitive world, I use the analytical tools provided by Conceptual Metaphor Theory, namely conceptual metaphors and image schemas, so as to unveil the passage of the soul the other world. To this end, I uncover a ten-stage idealized cognitive model of NDE, based on Lakoff’s concept of ICM (1987) and Barsalou’s model of a frame (1992). One of the aims of the article is to evince that, despite the unanimous claim made by NDErs that their experience is ineffable, they do succeed in providing a depiction—as imperfect as it may be—of this passage between worlds, which results in a world in itself. At the discursive level, I argue that the true ‘creators’ of this world are the kinesthetic image schemas which are pre-conceptual in nature and inherently meaningful. What is more, I aim to unveil the convergences between the NDE narratives and stories as they are analyzed by C. S. Lewis in his essay ‘On stories’.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.