Allegory in America: From Puritanism to Postmodernism by D. Madsen

By D. Madsen

Allegory in the US surveys the background of yankee allegorical writing from the Puritans during the interval of yank romanticism to postmodernism. In a chain of theoretical chapters the cultural functionality of allegory is mentioned with regards to the mythology of yankee exceptionalism. every one theoretical bankruptcy is by way of a bankruptcy that analyzes a particular textual content or staff of texts. Allegorical indeterminacy is noticeable to provide a literary culture that either represents and subverts the beliefs of yank orthodoxy.

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Sample text

The ancient champion of the colonial people represents the values of temerity, determination, independence and community feeling that are recognized to be anachronistic by the oppressed subjects of Governor Andros. 31 This ancestry, however, is no longer the community of biblical exiles with which the founding fathers identified, but those immigrants who willingly departed England to follow the dictates of their faith. The narrative displays a preference for the human character of the past, not its ideal spiritual dimension.

It is significant that representatives of the Church who are sought out by Will in the course of his quest are unable to provide this insight. Part of Langland's scathing attack on abuses of Church power and the corruption of the clergy is articulated by the device of representing characters such as Lady Holy Church and Clergy as personifications (associated so closely with pagan forms 30 Allegory in America of interpretation) and not as typologically represented characters the latter form of representation being reserved for Piers the Plowman alone.

Absent is the notion of fulfilling a role prescribed by the Bible; instead, Cushman argues that all of the promises encoded in the Old Testament have already been fulfilled by Christ and chronicled in the New Testament. Any figurative expressions remaining in the Bible must therefore refer literally to spiritual realities; emphatically they do not refer to prophesied future events. 8 Divine rhetoric is no longer mysterious, it is mystical. The sacred significance of Scripture, in Cushman's view, has already been realized - but in heaven, not on earth.

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