By Deborah L. Madsen (auth.)
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Additional info for Allegory in America: From Puritanism to Postmodernism
Consequently, he is more concerned to convince his audience that England does not possess 'typical' status and so will not be the scene of millennial glory than to promote the image of a new redeemer nation. He is concerned to discredit the entire linkage between geographical location and spiritual events. Cushman therefore presents natural, civil, and religious reasons for migration in place of providential coercion. The Plymouth settlers can live where they will do good for themselves and others, where they might use land that would otherwise lie idle, where they might convert the heathen.
And this overweening arrogance is condemned by the narrator as a 'mockery of the Evil Principle' (p. 357). The real condition for change is located by the narrator in the material yet transcendent realm of the individual soul. The Heart - the Heart - there was the little, yet boundless sphere, wherein existed the original wrong, of which the crime and misery of this outward world were merely types. Purify that inner sphere; and the many shapes of evil that haunt the outward, and which now seem almost our only realities, will turn to shadowy phantoms, and vanish of their own accord (p.
It is the absence of a shared commitment to the spiritual authority of the Bible that has produced a crucial change in the nature of allegory since the Romantic period. And in the twentieth century, the pervasive lack of faith in the authority of any text at all has caused further alterations in the nature of narrative allegory. In post-Romantic narratives, generally, there can be no recourse to some authoritative anterior text; the irresolution of the plot cannot be displaced into some transcendent context and so there is a very perceptible increase in ambiguity and open-endedness in allegorical narratives of the post-Romantic period.
Allegory in America: From Puritanism to Postmodernism by Deborah L. Madsen (auth.)