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The Cambridge Companion to Allegory


  • 5 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 324 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.44 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521680820)

Allegory is a vast subject, and its knotty history is daunting to students and even advanced scholars venturing outside their own historical specializations. This Companion will present, lucidly, systematically, and expertly, the various threads that comprise the allegorical tradition over its entire chronological range. Beginning with Greek antiquity, the volume shows how the earliest systems of allegory developed in poetry dealing with philosophy, mystical religion, and hermeneutics. Once the earliest histories and themes of the allegorical tradition have been presented, the volume turns to literary, intellectual, and cultural manifestations of allegory through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The essays in the last section address literary and theoretical approaches to allegory in the modern era, from reactions to allegory in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to reevaluations of its power in the thought of the twentieth century and beyond.

• First single and comprehensive volume in English to cover this vast and crucially important subject • Proceeds chronologically from allegory's origins in Ancient Greece to more recent literary and theoretical approaches to allegory • Aimed specifically towards non-specialists, striking a balance between systematic explanation and critical examination


Introduction Rita Copeland and Peter T. Struck; Part I. Ancient Foundations: 1. Early Greek allegory Dirk Obbink; 2. Hellenistic allegory and early imperial rhetoric Glenn W. Most; 3. Origen as theorist of allegory: Alexandrian contexts Daniel Boyarin; Part II. Philosophy, Theology, and Poetry 200 to 1200: 4. Allegory and ascent in Neoplatonism Peter T. Struck; 5. Allegory in Christian late antiquity Denys Turner; 6. Allegory in Islamic literatures Peter Heath; 7. Twelfth-century allegory: philosophy and imagination Jon Whitman; Part III. Literary Allegory: Philosophy and Figuration: 8. Allegory in the Roman de la Rose Kevin Brownlee; 9. Dante and allegory Albert R. Ascoli; 10. Medieval secular allegory: French and English Stephanie Gibbs Kamath and Rita Copeland; 11. Medieval religious allegory: French and English Nicolette Zeeman; 12. Renaissance allegory from Petrarch to Spenser Michael Murrin; 13. Protestant allegory Brian Cummings; 14. Allegorical drama Blair Hoxby; Part IV. The Fall and Rise of Allegory: 15. Romanticism's errant allegory Theresa M. Kelley; 16. American allegory Deborah L. Madsen; 17. Walter Benjamin's concept of allegory Howard Cagill; 18. Hermeneutics, deconstruction, allegory Steven Mailloux; 19. Allegory happens: allegory and the arts post-1960 Lynette Hunter.


'This collection of essays has two uncommon virtues. First is the nature of the project itself … unprecedented in its chronological and thematic sweep. Secondly, the editors have managed to make a collection that reads as a whole. One can spend time with the essays in this book, ruminating and reflecting on the powerful role that allegory has played in the history of western literature, art, and thought.' Marc Mastrangelo, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'This is indeed a strong and well-edited collection, with individual essays that are useful to the teacher, as well as a larger narrative that, by tracing the development of the different, interrelated meanings of allegory, clarifies a complex and ever evolving literary-intellectual tradition.' Journal of English and Germanic Philology


Rita Copeland, Peter T. Struck, Dirk Obbink, Glenn W. Most, Daniel Boyarin, Denys Turner, Peter Heath, Jon Whitman, Kevin Brownlee, Albert R. Ascoli, Stephanie Gibbs Kamath, Nicolette Zeeman, Michael Murrin, Brian Cummings, Blair Hoxby, Theresa M. Kelley, Deborah L. Madsen, Howard Cagill, Steven Mailloux, Lynette Hunter

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