By N. Guynn

Guynn deals an leading edge new method of the moral, cultural, and ideological research of medieval allegory. operating among poststructuralism and ancient materialism, he considers either the playfulness of allegory (its openness to a number of interpretations and views) and its disciplinary strength (the use of rhetoric to naturalize hegemonies and suppress distinction and dissent). finally, he argues that either developments could be associated with the consolidation of energy inside ruling type associations and the persecution of demonized others, significantly ladies and sexual minorities. The publication examines a couple of centrally canonical works, together with the verse romance Eneas, Alan of Lille's De planctu Naturae, The Romance of the Rose, and the Querelle de l. a. Rose.

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For the Neoplatonists of Late Antiquity (whose impact on the Middle Ages can scarcely be overestimated), the body is simply discarded as the soul is perfected through enlightenment. Matter itself is categorized as defective and feminine as opposed to ideal, masculine form, and is ultimately debased for its irredeemable flaws. Neoplatonic idealism requires the subjection of a material, feminine Other in order to allegorize the concept of man. One might imagine that the same holds true for medieval Christian philosophy, in which the suspicion of the flesh is frequently coupled with misogynistic vitriol.

53 On the face of it, Augustine’s reading of Eve’s misreading is doubly speculative (“I think she assumed”) and therefore emphasizes the incomplete, flawed nature of any individual gloss on Scripture or sacred history. Augustine is, moreover, careful to associate misreading with a woman whose moral fragility seemingly can never be in doubt. However, 30 ALLEGORY AND SEXUAL ETHICS the susceptibility of sacred language to error also clearly allows Augustine to wrest the Word from the hands of women and restore it to men, and to deflect blame for Original Sin away from Adam and onto Eve.

Precisely because it is liable to misinterpretation or misappropriation, the text must be withheld from readers who are content with sense-images and do not adhere to Alan’s own conceptions of reason and truth. In other words, the limitations of language as a medium for disclosing intellectual or moral truths are easily translated into an ideological weapon. Those “sensualists” who misread the text, or who threaten to expose and exploit its ambiguities, are not merely bad readers but dogs and swine, Christ’s own metaphors for shameless, unclean, or hostile outsiders.

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