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Metaphor, Allegory, and the Classical TraditionAncient Thought and Modern Revisions$
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G. R. Boys-Stones

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240050

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199240050.001.0001

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Figures of Allegory from Homer to Latin Epic *

Figures of Allegory from Homer to Latin Epic *

(p.151) 8 Figures of Allegory from Homer to Latin Epic*
Metaphor, Allegory, and the Classical Tradition

Andrew Laird

Oxford University Press

This chapter eschews an aprioristic approach to the identification and analysis of allegory in ancient texts, instead seeking guidance from the texts themselves. Epic treatment of reflexive conventions, such as the messenger speech, suggest that epic is aware of itself as allegory — that is, as a medium whose message cannot be straightforwardly read off. Furthermore, it expects the reader to construct (not ‘find’) its meaning, so that allegorical exegesis converges in the end with interpretation. It turns out that ancient philosophical allegorists are closer to the mark than ancient rhetorical texts, which are limited in their account of allegory as a trope.

Keywords:   allegory, trope, epic, message, messenger

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