The rise of an influential new family of poetry in the Middle Ages
“A stunning collection of essays on first-person allegorical narratives of the late Middle Ages that brings together an impressive group of scholars from different linguistic traditions.”—Katherine A. Brown, author of Boccaccio’s Fabliaux: Medieval Short Stories and the Function of Reversal
“North American and European scholars have come together in a constructive framework to underscore with insightfulness and precision the emergence of the allegorical exploration of love by means of self-referentiality, which facilitated the development of a new level of poetological reflections in literature.”—Albrecht Classen, editor of Toleration and Tolerance in Medieval European Literature
This book is the first collective examination of late medieval intimate first-person narratives that blur the lines between author, narrator, and protagonist and usually feature personification allegory and courtly love tropes, creating an experimental new family of poetry. In this volume, contributors analyze why the allegorical first-person romance embedded itself in the vernacular literature of Western Europe and remained popular for more than two centuries.
The editors identify and discuss three predominant forms within this family: debate poetry, dream allegories, and autobiographies. Contributors offer textual analyses of key works from late medieval German, French, Italian, and Iberian literature, with discussion of developments in England, as well.
Allegory and the Poetic Self offers a sophisticated, theoretically current discussion of relevant literature. This exploration of medieval “I” narratives offers insights not just into the premodern period but also into Western literature’s subsequent traditions of self-analysis and identity crafting through storytelling.
R. Barton Palmer, Calhoun Lemon Professor Emeritus of English at Clemson University, is coeditor of Machaut's Legacy: The Judgment Poetry Tradition in the Later Middle Ages and Beyond. Katharina Philipowski, medieval German literature professor at the University of Potsdam, is coeditor of Von Sich Selbst Erzahlen: Historische Dimensionen Des Ich-Erzahlens. Julia Rüthemann, Feodor Lynen research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris, is coeditor of Körper-Ästhetiken: Allegorische Verkörperungen als ästhetisches Prinzip.