Chapter

“Real or Allegoric” in Herbert and Milton: Thinking through Difference

Judith H. Anderson

in Reading the Allegorical Intertext

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228478
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241125 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823228478.003.0019
“Real or Allegoric” in Herbert and Milton: Thinking through Difference

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In John Milton's fourth Book of Paradise Regained, there is an argument regarding to the persona of Satan whether it is “Real or Allegoric.” By “Allegoric,” Satan clearly means unreal, since it is merely figurative, and most editors decline to gloss the word, but Roy Flannagan offers the meaning “fabulous” and notes that elsewhere Milton relates allegory to biblical types. What Flannagan misses is that “Real or Allegoric,” is yet another of Satan's pernicious, simplistic binaries. Implicitly, Satan equates allegory with abstraction, fable, and idea alone, ignoring its defining doubleness and, in properly literary form, its engagement with dramatic narrative. Other commentators on Satan's “Real or Allegoric” prove more enlightening. Mindele Anne Treip explains that Satan uses allegoric partly in a general sense of figuratively or metaphorical and partly in a general sense of typological.

Keywords: typological; Satan; Paradise Regained; allegoric; allegory; metaphorical; Milton; figuratively

Chapter.  3347 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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