Thursday, May 05, 2016

Not what you may think …

… An allegory is not the same as a metaphor. In praise of the medieval literary tradition. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… as Lewis demonstrates in a long, virtuosic reading of Roman de la Rose, this is because they aren’t actually meant to be characters. Instead these people, the objects they handle, and the spaces they occupy all represent aspects of the self. Roman de la Rose describes the courtship of a noble maiden by a courtier. Like many allegories it is framed as a dream, a sign that we’ve entered into a psychological interior. The lover seeks the Garden of Love, where he meets such clashing figures as Mirth, Companionship, Pride, and Shame. The lady herself seems strangely dematerialized because, as Lewis observes, “her character is distributed among personifications.”

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