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Brljak, Vladmir
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: PR
The thesis examines the place of allegory in the literature and intellectual culture of sixteenth-and seventeenth-century England, especially in its complex and contested relationship to the notion of the period’s (early) modernity. What is modernity’s quarrel with allegory? Why does it run so deep in Western thought, and why has it remained with us to the present day? What specific forms does this quarrel assume in the literary culture of the period now commonly designated as “early modern”? Why has allegory, under its many names, remained a point of differentiation and dispute between various sets of ancients and moderns even into our – some would say “postmodern” – times? Even as scholarship on allegory grows increasingly comprehensive and sophisticated, commentary on these issues has remained sporadic and inconclusive, and the thesis seeks to provide a more focused and comprehensive examination of the subject than has thus far been available.\ud \ud In terms of its format, the thesis pursues with these concerns through three chapters – on “Allegory and Poetics”, “Allegory and Drama”, and “Allegory and Epic” – preceded by an Introduction on “Allegory and Modernity”, and followed by an Afterword on “(Neo)allegory and (Anti)modernity”. The Introduction and Afterword discuss the broader questions raised by the allegory-modernity problem, and thus constitute a polemical frame for the three “case studies” on poetics, drama, and epic, which engage particular sixteenth- and seventeenth century texts and traditions. These range from such canonical staples as Sidney’s Defence of Poesy, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or Milton’s Paradise Lost to numerous other, less well known, but no less important works.\ud \ud In reconsidering the place of allegory in this corpus, the thesis is primarily intended as a contribution to English literary and intellectual history. On a broader level, it is also intended as a contribution to the more comprehensive project of “allegory studies”: the emergent nexus of interdisciplinary scholarship tackling those comprehensive and fundamental issues raised by the phenomenon of allegory which transcend particular discipline-, period-, or author-focused contexts. The thesis thus hopes to demonstrate the signal importance of the allegory-modernity problem in any advanced understanding of the Western allegorical tradition, at the same time as it sheds new light on what is in many ways the most important and most contested period – apart from our own, perhaps – in the history of this tradition.
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