In ordinary usage, allegory
is "when the events of a narrative obviously and continuously point to
another simultaneous structure of events or ideas, whether historical events,
moral or philosophical ideas, or natural phenomena" (PEPP). Perhaps
the finest example of allegory in its purest form is the medieval play
For Barfield, allegory
should be understood as "a natural development from myth rather than its
enemy" (Barfield is paraphrasing Paul
Piehler's The Visionary Landscape [RM 94]). "viewed historically,"
he argues, "allegory was figurative by inheritance from a pre-rational
mode of perception" (RM 105). But "Is it not clear," Barfield asks,
"that we find allegory desiccated precisely because, for us, mere words
are themselves desiccated--or rather because, for us, words are 'mere'?"
that we might well experience a 'rediscovery of allegory" with the coming
of final participation and the advent
of a new, less literal conception of language.
|See in particular
"The Rediscovery of Allegory," Parts I and II (RM 93-100, 101-110).