Central to understanding the prophecy and prayer of the Hebrew Bible are the unspoken assumptions that shaped them—their genres. Modern scholars describe these works as “poetry,” but there was no corresponding ancient Hebrew term or concept. Scholars also typically assume it began as “oral literature,” a concept based more in evolutionist assumptions than evidence. Is biblical poetry a purely modern fiction, or is there a more fundamental reason why its definition escapes us? Beyond Orality: Biblical Poetry on its Own Terms changes the debate by showing how biblical poetry has worked as a mirror, reflecting each era’s own self-image of verbal art. Yet Vayntrub also shows that this problem is rooted in a crucial pattern within the Bible itself: the texts we recognize as “poetry” are framed as powerful and ancient verbal performances, dramatic speeches from the past. The Bible’s creators presented what we call poetry in terms of their own image of the ancient and the oral, and understanding their native theories of Hebrew verbal art gives us a new basis to rethink our own.
This book examines the scholarly construction of Geoffrey Chaucer in different historical eras, and challenges long-standing assumptions to enhance the theoretical dialogue on Chaucer's historical reception.
This volume explores the development of literary culture in sixteenth-century England as a whole and seeks to explain the relationship between the Reformation and the literary renaissance of the Elizabethan period. Its central theme is the 'common' in its double sense of something shared and something base, and it argues that making common the work of God is at the heart of the English Reformation just as making common the literature of antiquity and of early modern Europe is at the heart of the English Renaissance. Its central question is 'why was the Renaissance in England so late?' That question is addressed in terms of the relationship between Humanism and Protestantism and the tensions ...
This ninth volume in The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism presents a wide-ranging survey of developments in literary criticism and theory during the last century. Drawing on the combined expertise of a large team of specialist scholars, it offers an authoritative account of the various movements of thought that have made the late twentieth century such a richly productive period in the history of criticism. The aim has been to cover developments which have had greatest impact on the academic study of literature, along with background chapters that place those movements in a broader, intellectual, national and socio-cultural perspective. In comparison with Volumes Seven and Eight, also devoted to twentieth-century developments, there is marked emphasis on the rethinking of historical and philosophical approaches, which have emerged, especially during the past two decades, as among the most challenging areas of debate.