Fall 2021 Undergraduate English Courses

359:315 Allegories of Reading

01 MW 3:00-4:20     03144  JACKSON   ONLINE

Allegories are a strange narrative form: narrative because they aren’t always literary (written and oral)—they can, for instance, be visual or take shape of visual and discursive forms. Many well-known artists worked in the medium of allegory: think here of Bronzino, Rubin, Raphael, or Salvator Rosa. They can also be visually conceptual, as with emblems. But they must unfold a narrative; and they must tell more than one story, however hidden or buried. (While we’ll mostly be studying literary allegory in this class, we will also examine some para-literary forms, like games.) Often, we associate allegories with didacticism, with the double duty of teaching and entertaining, as with children’s culture or cultures where literacy is unevenly spread. One sees that, for instance, in fairytales, fables, and parables. More tantalizing, allegories speak with a forked tongue: that is, they offer both an ostensible and a figurative narrative or a text and subtext—or even many subtexts. So, they are not unfrequently political. And they often serve to create an “insider” group. We’ll ask who they let in and who they keep out. Expect to read a range of theory and literature, including morality tales, folktales, and fantasy and science fiction.