The vitality of allegory: figural narrative in modern and contemporary fiction

2012 ChoiceReviews  
This b o ok has evolved over more than a decade, so the list of people to whom I owe some debt of gratitude is long, too long, unfortunately, to fit in a reasonable acknowledgments section. There are, however, a number of individuals who have been especially helpful in advancing the work to this final stage, and I would like to thank them here. Andrew Ade, Eric Iversen, and Christine Tulley, all friends and insightful readers, provided helpful feedback on the introductory material. Their
more » ... s, suggestions, and encouragement are greatly appreciated. John McGowan, who was the first to recognize that a work that began as a theoretical approach to the concept of character probably had more potential as a book about allegory, remains for me the ideal reader. For fifteen years John has helped me to recognize both the import of my own ideas and how to shape them into a coherent form. His mentorship has influenced me profoundly. During the summer of 2005, I had the good fortune to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, "Narrative Theory: Rhetoric and Ethics in Fiction and Non-Fiction, " in Columbus, Ohio. Six weeks of focused reading and discussion proved to be a wonderful forum in which to test my ideas and to receive critical feedback from insightful colleagues. I am indebted to each of my fellow participants and to the seminar's director, Jim Phelan. Jim's involvement with my project predates the seminar by about five years, and it likely would never have made it to this point without him. Jim's own work on a rhetorical approach to narrative has had a clear influence on this book, but his kindness, his generosity, and his patience have been just as valuable to me and just as instrumental in the process of turning some very rough early ideas into a reasonable premise for a book. I take full responsibility for the imperfections in this book, but the fact that it exists as a book at all owes much to Jim. Readers for The Ohio State University Press-including Peter Rabinowitz, coeditor of the series Theory and Interpretation of Narrative-provided insightful comments and helpful recommendations. As a result, the final draft is, I think, much improved over what I had originally submitted. I am also grateful for an NEH Summer Stipend, which I received in 2006 and which afforded me time and funds to devote to this project. Of course, any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this book do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Finally, I want to acknowledge and thank my wife, Emily, and my two children, Chase and Madeleine. They inspire me every day. Earlier versions of several chapters appeared elsewhere in print, and I am grateful to those publishers for the permission to use that material here: "The
doi:10.5860/choice.50-0122 fatcat:rogqjgrbkffz7lqjnfzqswlcwy