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Anagogic Reading


Andrew Kern


Presented at the CiRCE Fall Regional Conference 2023.

Christian literary criticism developed a four layered approach to interpreting a text. At the top was anagogic reading, from the Greek ana (upward) and goge (lead). Anagogic reading was not about making sure your interpretation was uplifting in a subjective sense, but rather seeing how the text was bound together with everything else. Northrop Frye said, “In the anagogic phase, literature imitates the total dream of man.” Learn how to lift your hearts through anagogic reading (but don’t worry about the word: it just means uplifting)