Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Machines of the Mind – Personification in Medieval Literature - Chicago Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Machines of the Mind: Personification in Medieval Literature

Katharine Breen


This book proposes that medieval personifications should be understood neither as failed novelistic characters nor as instruments of heavy-handed didacticism, but as powerful tools for complex imaginative work. In making this argument, Machines of the Mind disrupts a debate over the nature of allegory that has persisted for nearly a century. One side of the debate sees medieval personification as the literary manifestation of an extreme form of philosophical realism that treats abstractions such as Truth and Justice as really existing independent beings. The other side sees it as the literary ... More

Keywords: personification, allegory, character, realism, nominalism, universals, Plato, Aristotle, Prudentius, Middle Ages

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780226776453
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226776620.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Katharine Breen, author
Northwestern University