The apocalyptic imagination in medieval literature
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 244 pages
During the Middle Ages, the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation, was believed to contain both the grand design of sacred history and the disguised history of the Present and future. In The Apocalyptic Imagination in Medieval Literature, Richard K. Emmerson and Ronald B. Herzman explore die pervasiveness of apocalypticism in medieval literature through close readings of a group of major texts not generally considered from an apocalyptic perspective.
Emmerson and Herzman present a new reading of Bonaventure's Major Life of Francis of Assisi, a key document in the Franciscan tradition. In their examination of the Romance of the Rose, they argue that allegorical romance takes a surprising turn toward contemporary social criticism, a criticism informed by a sophisticated and subtle use of the apocalyptic tradition. The authors also contend that while the apocalyptic language of the Divine Comedy is more obvious, its significance has not been systematically studied, and that The Canterbury Tales, all but ignored from an apocalyptic perspective, are infused with significant apocalyptic dimensions.
The Apocalyptic Imagination in Medieval Literature offers a broad and comparative focus, and it should be of value not simply to students of medieval literature but to the broader audience of those interested in medieval intellectual history, art history, and religious history as well.
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