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The literary motif of the "allegorical knightly quest" appears repeatedly in the literature of the late medieval/early modern period, notably in Spenser, but has hitherto been little examined. Here, in his examination of a number of sixteenth-century English allegorical-chivalric quest narratives, focussing on Spenser's Faerie Queene but including important, lesser-known works such as Stephen Bateman's Travayled Pylgrime and William Goodyear's Voyage of the Wandering Knight, the author argues that the tradition begins with the French writer Guillaume de Deguileville. His seminal Pèlerinage de la vie humaine was composed c.1331-1355; it was widely adapted, translated, rewritten and printed over the next centuries. Dr Nievergelt goes on to demonstrate how this essentially "medieval" literary form could be adapted to articulate reflections on changing patterns of identity, society and religion during the early modern period; and how it becomes a vehicle of self-exploration and self-fashioning during a period of profound cultural crisis.
Description from publisher's website.
The fourteenth-century French pilgrimage allegories of Guillaume de Deguileville (or "Digulleville") shaped late medieval and early modern European culture. Portions of the Pèlerinage de Vie Humaine, Pèlerinage de l'Ame and Pèlerinage de Jhesucrist survive in more than eighty medieval manuscripts and translations into English, German, Dutch, Castilian and Latin appeared by the early sixteenth century, along with adaptations into French prose and dramatic forms and numerous early printed editions.
This volume furnishes a better understanding of the allegories' circulation, creation and importance from the 1330s into the 1560s, via trans-national, multilingual and interdisciplinary perspectives. The collection's first section, on "Tradition", identifies the patterns that developed as Deguileville's corpus captured the attentions of adaptors, annotators and illustrators. The second section, on "Authority", addresses the cultural context of Deguileville himself, his approach to poetic craft and the status of his French and Latin poetry. The third section, on "Influence", closely examines selected connections between the Pèlerinages and the literary productions of later authors, translators and reading communities, including the French verse of Philippe de Mézières, Castilian print adaptation, and the early modern Croatian novel. Overall, the collection provides a variety of approaches to examining literary reception, attending not only to texts but also to evidence of surviving manuscripts and early printed editions; it offers new insights into a rich and complex allegorical corpus and its impact on European literary history.
Description from publisher's website.
This collection of essays focuses on the ubiquity of the allegorical imagination in pre-modern western culture, and participates in a recent wave of resurgence of interest in the complex practices and ideas usually defined by the word "allegory". The contributors study the impact of the allegorical imagination on the production, reception and interpretation of literature, as well as its function as a tool of philosophical and theological enquiry, and its role in shaping the visual arts. Essays focus on subjects as varied as the general theories on allegory, allegory's relation to the human imagination, its usefulness or even inevitability as a human mode of cognition and its potential for the encoding of meanings that may be political, historical, religious and amorous. They discuss canonical figures such as Petrarch, Boccaccio, Boethius, Hans Memling, Pico della Mirandola, King James I and John Donne, but extend to include neglected but equally important figures such as Stephen Hawes or Thomas Usk as well as thematic approaches less concerned with issues of authority and authorship. As such the collection is a testimony to the variety, complexity, and adaptability of "allegory" at the heart of medieval western civilisation.