Stephanie Moore

Dissertation Fellow
Stephanie Moore Image

In her dissertation, “Allegory as Cognitive Technology in Early Modern England,” Stephanie Moore examines the role of allegory in English literary history by revealing its affinities with scholarly methods of sorting, retaining, and retrieving information. Moore argues against the critical tendency to dismiss allegory as a conservative genre whose “abstractness” rendered it unfit for modernity. By redefining allegory not as a structure of meaning but as a therapeutic method, she reveals the functional purpose behind allegorical form—to improve the reader's powers of practical reason by organizing and cultivating the memory—and argues that knowledge-ordering schemes like the medieval memory arts and, later, the humanist commonplace-book provided allegory with formal models for manipulating cognition. Moore shows how allegory evolved in response to new ways of organizing facts and texts, and reassesses allegory’s contributions to the new generic formations taking shape in England at the end of the seventeenth century.

Stephanie Moore is the 2015-16 Jeffrey Berg Fellow.