Fred Sanders of Scriptorium Daily blogs helpfully about the most rewarding way to read an allegory such as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I teach Pilgrim’s Progress frequently, as well as excerpts from Spenser’s Faerie Queene, which is also highly allegorical, but more complex than Bunyan. And of course, one persistent approach to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is to consider the pilgrimage to Canterbury as an allegory for the Pilgrimage of Life, although this perspective has fallen out of favor among the the literary leading lights, recently. I still think it works pretty well, but now that I’ve said that, some of my fellow medievalists will probably look at me funny next time I see them. Assuming they even read this.
In any case, thanks, Mr. Sanders.
In other news, it seems some newspapers are cutting back on book reviews–opinions vary on why–and the LA Times discusses the conflict between literary blogs and print or print-related official reviews. I’ll turn to the book review section first almost every time I get hold of a newspaper or magazine, but I guess in this, as in many things, I’m in the minority. Literary blogsites vary wildly, of course. But then, so do book reviews/reviewers. For now, I’m saying it’s a toss-up, although I don’t want print media of any kind to disappear.