allegory


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Related to allegory: allusion, Allegory of the cave

allegory,

in literature, symbolic story that serves as a disguised representation for meanings other than those indicated on the surface. The characters in an allegory often have no individual personality, but are embodiments of moral qualities and other abstractions. The allegory is closely related to the parable, fable, and metaphor, differing from them largely in intricacy and length. A great variety of literary forms have been used for allegories. The medieval morality play Everyman, personifying such abstractions as Fellowship and Good Deeds, recounts the death journey of Everyman. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, a prose narrative, is an allegory of man's spiritual salvation. Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene, besides being a chivalric romance, is a commentary on morals and manners in 16th-century England as well as a national epic. Although allegory is still used by some authors, its popularity as a literary form has declined in favor of a more personal form of symbolic expression (see symbolistssymbolists,
in literature, a school originating in France toward the end of the 19th cent. in reaction to the naturalism and realism of the period. Designed to convey impressions by suggestion rather than by direct statement, symbolism found its first expression in poetry but
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).

Bibliography

See C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love (1936); P. de Man, Allegories of Reading (1979); M. Quilligan, The Language of Allegory (1979)

Allegory

A figurative representation or sculpture in which the meaning is conveyed by the use of symbols.

Allegory

 

a conventional representation, in art, of abstract ideas which are not assimilated in the artistic image but retain their independence and remain external to the image. The connection between image and meaning is ascertained in allegory by analogy (for example, the lion as the embodiment of strength). Unlike a symbol, which has multiple meanings, allegory is characterized by a unique, constant definition and is revealed not directly in the artistic image but only through interpretation of the obvious or hidden allusions and evidence contained in the image—that is, by subsuming the image under some concept (religious dogma, moral, philosophical, or scientific ideas, etc.). Insofar as the universal and the particular are inseparably intertwined in an artistic image, allegory cannot fully account for the content of the image, even while being a fundamental and necessary component of it.

The term “allegory” was first used in Longinus’ and Cicero’s treatises on rhetoric. In the aesthetics of the Middle Ages allegory was one of the four meanings contained in a work of art, in addition to the grammatical (literal), moral, and anagogical (edifying) meanings. As a specific form of artistic image, allegory was studied in detail by German aes-theticians of the 18th through the beginning of the 19th centuries (Winckelmann, Goethe, Schelling, Hegel, Solger, Schopenhauer, and others).

In literature many allegorical images are borrowed from mythology and folklore. Fables, morality plays, and parables, as well as many works of Eastern poetry of the Middle Ages, are built on allegory; it also appears in other genres (“The Three Springs” by A. S. Pushkin, the stories of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin). In the mid-19th century the concept of allegory was narrowed to mean only an artistic technique.

In the fine arts, allegory (figures with constant attributes, groups of figures, and compositions embodying some concept) constitutes a separate genre whose features are discernible in the mythological pictures of antiquity. Allegories of virtue, vice, and the like, which were widespread during the Middle Ages, took on humanistic attributes during the Renaissance. Allegories in mannerist, baroque, and rococo art became particularly complex and refined. Classicism and academism viewed allegory as part of the “high” historical genre. In contemporary art allegory has given way to symbolic images with a more highly developed psychological imagery.

REFERENCES

Losev, A. F., and V. P. Shestakov. Istoriia esteticheskikh kategorii. Moscow, 1965. Pages 237–57.
Sorensen, B. A. Symbol und Symbolismus in den ästhetischen Theorien des XVIII. Jahrhunderts und der deutschen Romantik. Copenhagen, 1963.

allegory

allegory: Cathedral of Worms, 13th cent. The beast with four heads symbolizes the Four Gospels
A figurative representation in which the meaning is conveyed symbolically.

allegory

1. a poem, play, picture, etc., in which the apparent meaning of the characters and events is used to symbolize a deeper moral or spiritual meaning
2. the technique or genre that this represents
3. use of such symbolism to illustrate truth or a moral
References in classic literature ?
To continue the allegory, Prince," she answered, passing on to the next table, "also with poisonous berries.
He saw in Mr Chivery, with some astonishment, quite an Allegory of Silence, as he stood with his key on his lips.
Allegory secured a position more superior to those of other rhetorics in the process of disseminating doctrines in the Middle Ages.
First, I problematize the contemporary scholarly distinction between typology and allegory, seeing it as supporting an often unwarranted anxiety about ancient allegorical practice.
An Allegory of Divine Love offers the first art-historical analysis of the Canticum Canticorum, Latin for Song of Songs, as an independent work of art of the highest caliber: rather than the end of a long Gothic tradition, it is revealed as a major work of Early Renaissance art, full of beautiful compositions, original ideas, and an intellectual challenge to a devoted, reading public.
David Melbye Landscape Allegory in Cinema: From Wilderness to Wasteland New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
In this classic study, first published about 40 years ago, Fletcher (emeritus, English and comparative literature, Graduate School of the City University of New York) describes his original theory of allegory as a symbolic mode and uses the theory to demonstrate allegory's relationship to other aesthetic devices, with examples of how allegory works in art, literature, and in areas of everyday life, from religion to politics.
Instead, becoming human in Jarrell's poetry requires entertaining alternative sites of subjectivity--including the suspension of allegory in service to a specific moral--and may be revealed by the light of other, vestigial traces (usually non-sentient, plant and animal forms) through which anterior versions of being have passed.
Summary: An allegory, by definition, discloses meaning -- albeit not directly.
We cannot recognize its allegorical dimensions so long as we concede authority to Tolkien's foreword or to the occasional, brief discussions of allegory in his Letters.
With a healthy dose of allegory and some not-so-allegory, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is a fun read sure to entertain and make readers think.
The thirteen essays that make up Early Modern Visual Allegory examine the complex ways in which visual allegory renders meaning.