Title Background

<i>‘Piers Plowman’ and the Origin of Allegory</i>

‘Piers Plowman’ and the Origin of Allegory

The relationship between allegorical writing and interpretation in the Middle Ages, this book argues, is more complex than is often assumed. How solid are the grounds on which Michel Foucault has based his distinction between early modernity and its past — a time when, he claims, the languages of the world were still perceived to make up ‘the image of the truth’? This study addresses such questions through a heuristic comparison between historically and culturally different approaches to narrative allegory. Kasten sets up a critical dialogue between PPl and Walter Benjamin’s study of German baroque allegory, The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Far from serving the narrow purposes of didacticism, the author contends, PPl invites a reconsideration of the very grounds on which (post-) modernity has tried to distance itself from its cultural past. (MK)

Rev. by:

  • Stephanie Kamath, YLS, 21 (2007), 208–11;
  • Nicolette Zeeman, Medium Ævum, 77 (2008), 340–42;
  • Denise Baker, Speculum, 84 (2009), 168-70.