Anyone who has ever said one thing and meant another has spoken in the mode of allegory. The allegorical expression of ideas pervades literature, art, music, religion, politics, business, and advertising. But how does allegory really work and how should we understand it? For more than forty years, Angus Fletcher's classic book has provided an answer that is still unsurpassed for its comprehensiveness, brilliance, and eloquence. With a preface by Harold Bloom and a substantial new afterword by the author, this edition reintroduces this essential text to a new generation of students and scholars of literature and art. Allegory puts forward a basic theory of allegory as a symbolic mode, shows how it expresses fundamental emotional and cognitive drives, and relates it to a wide variety of aesthetic devices. Revealing the immense richness of the allegorical tradition, the book demonstrates how allegory works in literature and art, as well as everyday speech, sales pitches, and religious and political appeals. In his new afterword, Fletcher documents the rise of a disturbing new type of allegory--allegory without ideas.
Angus Fletcher is distinguished professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. His most recent books are Time, Space, and Motion in the Age of Shakespeare and A New Theory for American Poetry.
List of Illustrations ix A Personal Foreword, Harold Bloom xiii Acknowledgments xvii Introduction 1 1. The Daemonic Agent 24 2. The Cosmic Image 69 3. Symbolic Action: Progress and Battle 147 4. Allegorical Causation: Magic and Ritual Forms 181 5. Thematic Effects: Ambivalence, the Sublime, and the Picturesque 221 6. Psychoanalytic Analogues: Obsession and Compulsion 281 7. Value and Intention: The Limits of Allegory 306 Afterword 362 Afterword to the 2012 Edition 370 Illustrations 413 Bibliography 441 Index 463