Puritan Allegory and the Reformation Crisis in Representation
Why did Puritan Christianity repeatedly turn to allegorical forms of representation in spite of its own intolerance of "Allegorical fancies?" Luxon demonstrates that Protestant doctrine itself was a kind of allegory in hiding, one that enabled Puritans to forge a figural view of reality while championing the "literal" and the "historical". He argues that for Puritanism to survive its own literalistic, anti-symbolic, and millenarian challenges, a "fall" back into allegory was inevitable. Representative of this "fall," The Pilgrim's Progress marks the culminating moment at which the Reformation's war against allegory turns upon itself. An essential work for understanding both the history and theory of representation and the work of John Bunyan, Literal Figures skillfully blends historical and critical methods to describe the most important features of early modern Protestant and Puritan culture.