For when allegory is at its best, it approaches myth, which must be grasped with the imagination not the intellect. If, as I still sometimes hope, my North and South and Mr. Sensible have some touch of mythical life, then no amount of 'explanation' will quite catch up with their meaning. It is the sort of thing you cannot learn from definition: you must rather get to know it as you get to know a smell or a taste, the 'atmosphere' of a family or a country town, or the personality of an individual.
C.S. Lewis. THE PILGRIM'S REGRESS. Preface.