The Fell Gard Codices

An Observation on Allegory

December 4th, 2012

Of late I’ve started reading both The Vision of Piers Plowman and Harry W. Robbins’ verse translation of The Romance of the Rose. I’ve read parts of both books before, but this time I’m aiming to get through both of them. What’s become clear so far, reading them together instead of apart: allegory is actually a tremendously flexible form.

For that it’s limited, or let’s say reads a bit oddly to modern eyes, it’s capable of a considerable range of tone. Langland’s satire is different from Guillaume de Lorris’ genial comedy of romance. Which is different from Spenser’s dreamlike fictions of chivalry. But what they share, to me, is a certain artificiality; and not just that, but a consciousness of artificiality. As though the story were a game the writer was playing, with the complicity of the audience. Which in itself feels strikingly modern.

So that’s allegory for you: distinctly medieval, and yet also oddly contemporary.

Comments are closed.

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © The Fell Gard Codices. All rights reserved.