Title Background

Allegorical Buildings in Mediaeval Literature.

Allegorical Buildings in Mediaeval Literature.

The complexity of allegory has often been seen to derive from narrative action rather than from the objects that appear in that action; hence the static quality of the allegorical building, deriving in part from Ezekiel 40-44 and Revelation 21, presents a potential problem for writers, which is often addressed by combining the building-allegory with that of the allegorical battle. The stasis of the allegorical castle implies a bulwark against external attack, with movement often represented as moral instability, as it is in the description of the castle of Kind (B.9.1-56), where WL interestingly advances the allegory by retaining the material world in his metaphor to an unusual degree. In the description of Truth’s dwelling (B.5.585-604) closure represents resistance rather than security; stability comes when entry is achieved. With the harrowing of hell, the problem involves getting out of another’s stronghold; Christ destroys the stasis represented by the building, but the building-image is transformed into the New Jerusalem.


MAE 63 (1994): 191-210.


Mann, Jill.