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From Late Latin tropologia, from Late Greek τροπολογία (tropología), equivalent to trope + -ology.


tropology (countable and uncountable, plural tropologies)

  1. (rhetoric) The use of a trope (metaphor or figure of speech).
    • 1998, Allen Mitchie, Between Calvin and Calvino: Postmodernism and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Greg Clingham (editor), Questioning History: The Postmodern Turn to the Eighteenth Century, page 54,
      But she is not right to claim this is because "rhetoric" must necessarily be "in the Nietzschean sense that all language is founded in tropology."37 Since when has tropology been in conflict with theology? Tropology and rhetoric thrive in the works of both Calvin and Calvino, and tropology is the very lifeblood of The Pilgrim's Progress.
  2. (theology, philosophy) The interpretation of scripture or other work in order to educe moral or figurative meaning; a treatise of such interpretation.
    • 1993, Miguel Tamen, Manners of Interpretation: The Ends of Argument in Literary Studies[1], page 58:
      Where the syntax of propositions is broken, we see a very general principle of tropology that grants a priori that things like texts are replacements of things like authors.
    • 2009, Geoffrey Grossus, The Life of Blessed Bernard of Tiron[2], page 58:
      He must distinguish the historical information from the allegory, divide the allegory from the tropology, and separate the tropology from the anagogy.
    • 2009, Frank Ankersmit, 2: White's "New Neo-Kantianism": Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics, Frank Ankersmit, Ewa Domanska, Hans Kellner (editors), Re-Figuring Hayden White, page 37,
      A similar story can be told for White's tropology. Tropology also is something that “the mind brings” to (past) reality and that is not part of the past itself.
  3. A recurring motif or metaphor, a trope; an interplay of tropes.
    • 1994, Lee Edelman, preface, Homographesis, hardcover edition, page xiv,
      These essays, in other words, endeavor to read the literary, cultural, and political implications of the tropologies of sexuality that are put into play once the field of sexuality becomes charged by the widespread availability of a "homosexual" identity, and they explore the determining relation between "homosexuality" and "identity" as both have been constructed in modern Euro-American societies.
    • 1998, Elisabeth Sheffield, Joyce's Abandoned Female Costumes, Gratefully Received[3], page 10:
      Finally, I differentiate Joyce's use of a feminine tropology from that of Derrida, Lacan, and the proponents of écriture féminine: in Joyce's work it serves to express his ambivalence and anxiety concerning a writing that would open up the play of the signifier and challenge the authority of the unified self.
    • 2007, Fred Dallmayr, In Search of the Good Life: A Pedagogy for Troubled Times[4], page 227:
      In lieu of this opposition, the lecture speaks of a “substantive tropology” of love, where tropology means more than a decorative interplay of tropes; it signifies the ability “simultaneously to capture the real analogy of sentiments and the power of eros to signify and express agape."
    • 2009, Paul Fairfield, Why Democracy?[5], page 70:
      I have suggested that the explanation of the overwhelming support that democracy currently enjoys consists less in the formal merits of its justificatory argumentation or its practical results than in the effectiveness of its dominant metaphors, narratives, aspirations, meanings, and self-understanding which together constitute a tropology more evocative and formidable than its rivals. It is a tropology of equality above all else—of antihierarchy, antiprivilege, and antiauthoritarianism—one in which human relations both ethical and political are symmetrically structured in principle, if not always in fact, and every person counts for no more or less than one.

Usage notes[edit]

The countable interpretation of the sense the use of a trope is an instance of something being used as a trope, which is indistinguishable from trope.

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]