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The Poetics of Personification

The Poetics of Personification

by James J. Paxson


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Literary personification has long been taken for granted as an important aspect of Western narrative; Paul de Man had given it prominence as "the master trope of poetic discourse." James Paxson here offers a critical and theoretical appraisal of personification in the light of developments in poststructuralist thought. He reassesses early theories and examines the allegorical texts of Prudentius, Chaucer, Langland and Spenser to show how personification works as a complex artistic tool for revealing and advertising the problems and limits inherent in poetic or verbal creation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521106313
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/02/2009
Series: Literature, Culture, Theory , #6
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. A history of personification theory; 2. Towards a taxonomy of tropes; 3. Narrative level, personification, and character ontology in Prudentius' Psychomachia; 4. A phenomenology of personification; 5. Personification, dreams, and narrative structure in Piers Plowman B; 6. Narrating the personification of personification in The Faerie Queene; Conclusion; Taxonomy II and future directions in personification theory; Notes; Works cited; Index.

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