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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses John Bunyan in relation to five versions of allegory, in turn: personification; allegorical narratives, and Bunyan’s use of the allegorical framework of the dream, popular in the medieval period; the concept of figura, as developed by Erich Auerbach; emblems and emblematic allegory; and pictorial symbols as allegory. Finally, the chapter considers the work of Walter Benjamin and Paul de Man, and discusses the radical uses of allegory in critiquing ideological meanings and the view that language is inherently allegorical, which destabilizes both authors and their utterance, making all expression ironic, taking irony as a form of allegory. Although focusing mainly on The Pilgrim’s Progress, the chapter also discusses Bunyan’s use of allegory in his other fictional works.

Keywords: John Bunyan, allegory, emblems, figura, irony, personification

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