Allegories of Paradise: Rhetoric and Archetype

  • Paul Tynegate Piehler


For the rhetorician, allegory must be counted as the one really unpredictable and unruly member of his otherwise orderly family of rhetorical figures. After a quiet youth in the classical period, he quite suddenly takes over and dominates the literary and visual arts for some thousand years, is swiftly and indeed violently discarded by the Puritan iconoclasts of the Reformation, and is nonetheless given a polite and honourable though somewhat marginal role with the revival of classicism. Guilty, however, by association with the Augustans, he is sternly rejected by the Romantics in favour of his brilliant if somewhat raffish cousin, Symbolism. For many years he lived on in the quietest academic obscurity, but recently he has been dragged out of retirement to act as a respectable figurehead for deconstructionists.


Erotic Love Rhetorical Figure Ideal Landscape Latin Poetry Classical Rhetoric 
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  1. 4.
    Maureen Quilligan, The Language of Allegory: Defining the Genre (Ithaca, 1979). Joel Fineman, ‘The Structure of Allegorical Desire’, and Stephen J. Greenblatt, ’Preface’, in Allegory and Representation, ed. Stephen J. Greenblatt (Baltimore, 1981 ).Google Scholar
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    See William S. Anderson, ‘Calypso and Elysium’, in Essays on the Odyssey, ed. Charles H. Taylor (Bloomington, Ind., 1963 ), pp. 7386.Google Scholar
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    Charles S. Baldwin, Medieval Rhetoric and Poetic (New York, 1928); J.W.H. Atkins, English Literary Criticism: The Medieval Phase (Cambridge, 1943); C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Cambridge, 1964 ), pp. 190–7, 200.Google Scholar
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    See Dorothy Everett, Essays on Middle English Literature (Oxford, 1955), pp. 103–6, 113, 153–4.Google Scholar
  5. 25.
    Edmond Faral, Les Arts Poétiques du xne et du me Siècle (Paris, 1958), p. 149.Google Scholar

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© Paul Tynegate Piehler 1991

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  • Paul Tynegate Piehler

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