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Reinventing Allegory
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  • Page extent: 364 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.7 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 809/.915
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: PN56.A5 K45 1997
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Allegory
    • Literature--History and criticism

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521432078 | ISBN-10: 0521432073)

DOI: 10.2277/0521432073

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published July 1997

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 26 November 2015)


First published in 1997, Reinventing Allegory asks how and why allegory has survived as a literary mode from the late Renaissance to the postmodern present. Three chapters on Romanticism, including one on the painter J. M. W. Turner, present this era as the pivotal moment in allegory's modern survival. Other chapters describe larger historical and philosophical contexts, including classical rhetoric and Spenser, Milton and seventeenth-century rhetoric, Neoclassical distrust of allegory, and recent theory and metafiction. By using a series of key historical moments to define the special character of modern allegory, this study offers an important framework for assessing allegory's role in contemporary literary culture.

• Comprehensive study of one of the most enduring of literary modes, offering theories for its survival • Explores allegory in terms of theory and literary practice, in the context of modern literary and cultural theories


1. Introduction; 2. Allegory, phantasia and Spenser; 3. 'Material phantasms' and 'allegorical fancies'; 4. Allegorical persons; 5. Romantic ambivalences I; 6. Romantic ambivalences II; 7. J. M. W. Turner's 'Allegoric shapes'; 8. Allegory and Victorian realism; 9. Conclusion.

Prize Winner

South Central Modern Language Association Prize 1998 - Winner


Review of the hardback: 'A learned and ambitious study … a powerful achievement … On every page, Kelley's meticulous, subtle close readings engage in, rather than simply demonstrate, the demanding dialectical work of allegorical figuration … For decades to come - and for readers well beyond the field of Romanticism - it will be a touchstone for all critical discussion of allegory, modernity, and much else besides.' Romantic Circles

Review of the hardback: 'Readers concerned with this still crucial element of literary and artistic practice will find a great deal within this book which is stimulating, original and worthy of further investigation.' Romanticism

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