For my purpose here, the indication that the melancholic gaze of the allegorist
conflates history with nature and presents time as the cyclical condition of indifferent repetition is also of special relevance.
This is Benjamin's distinct claim, that Baudelaire, the father of modern symbolist poetry, was actually an allegorist
. In an important essay on Benjamin (New York Review of Books, January 11, 2001), J.
meaning, the melancholic gaze of the allegorist
, Benjamin writes,
The early poetry displays the fireworks of a prodigious technique: mastery of metrics and vowel tones, a painter's eye for rendering the complex image, and an allegorist
's wit in transforming image to symbol, as in "The Broken Bowl." The splendid curvings of glass artifice Informed its flawlessness With lucid unities.
Though Gaddis insisted repeatedly upon the irrelevance of writers' lives to the understanding of their works, his life presents a constant temptation to the allegorist
. His life seems to illustrate in sequence the artist's possibilities in America.
That the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) is an allegorist
comes as no surprise to anyone who has encountered his cryptic Somnium, a text largely finished by 1610, added to for some twenty years, and published posthumously in 1634 by Kepler's son Ludwig.
But we do know that the view entered the Stoa at some point, because the Stoic allegorist
Comutus, writing in the first century A.D., passed on a fully stoicized version of it.
The upshot does genuine service, a bracing, first-hand interpretation of the New England begetter of The Scarlet Letter (1850) and of a body of romances and stories which also includes the incomplete (and hitherto largely neglected) work like The American Claimant Manuscripts and The Elixir of Life Manuscripts, as sumptuously more responsive to history's dynamics then ever could have been suggested by the reductive, yet irritatingly still frequent, tag of 'Puritan allegorist
is now quite incapable of emanating any meaning or significance of its own; such significance as it has, it acquires from the allegorist
. He places it within it, and stands behind it; not in a psychological but in an ontological sense.
It suffices that art history reveals a series of overlapping developments in which the same artists can play different roles depending on the stylistic context in which they are considered--for example, Giotto as naturalist or formalist, van Eyck as naturalist or allegorist
. Such progressions can be found, not invented, still allowing much room for taste to select one or another for emphasis.
As one critic has noted, there is hardly a concrete object in the book that does not do double duty as a symbol: the scarlet letter, the sunlight that eludes Hester, the scaffold of public notice, the armor in which Hester's shame and Pearl's elfishness are distorted and magnified--also serve as central symbols in this, the greatest allegory of a master allegorist
Coetzee is an allegorist
, or fabulist,even though his work contains the precise details of naturalistic fiction.
This will perhaps appear less strange considered in light of the relationship between collector and allegorist
Walter Benjamin outlined in "The Collector": "The allegorist