By Deborah L. Madsen (auth.)
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Extra resources for Allegory in America: From Puritanism to Postmodernism
2 Allegory in Colonial New England The claim of an Anglo-American cultural tradition to primacy in the New World was made at the earliest opportunity and in the harshest of terms. Among the most ubiquitous, if not the most violent, of these claims is the enduring assumption of importance regarding the founding fathers of the Massachusetts Bay colony and the characteristic style of their rhetoric. I want to explore in this chapter the ways in which the typological rhetoric of the orthodox New England clergy was used for hegemonic purposes in order to claim, if not to preserve, a share of political power in the evolving colonial government.
The link between individual and community which, through the federal covenant (the corporate commitment to an American Canaan), attempted to bind personal and national ambitions, was not a necessary part of typology yet this connection became crucial to the public rhetoric of the Congregational clergy. Ann Kibbey, discussing John Cotton's deployment of rhetoric, describes the 'referential imperative' designed to command belief, which is cast at once in both personal or psychological and in public, political terms.
At first Piers, bloodstained and bearing a cross, imitates 'Jesus the justere'. This narrative image, which has been represented in the narrative by figures like the various knights of the poem, the King's knights, the true knight of Holy Church, and Conscience, now takes on an additional spiritual, Christological, meaning. '24 So the person Dowel whom Will has been misguidedly seeking is revealed to be the conqueror of sin, Jesus. But in the context of this new law of grace, Jesus claims a new name: not Dowel but 'Dobet'.
Allegory in America: From Puritanism to Postmodernism by Deborah L. Madsen (auth.)