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Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture

af Robert Alter

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
311602,310IngenIngen
"In this book, one of our foremost literary critics views the much-debated question of the literary canon from an entirely new angle. Robert Alter explores the ways in which a range of iconoclastic twentieth-century authors have put to use the stories, language, and imagery of the paramount canonical text - the Hebrew Bible. Alter makes a compelling case against the prevalent, pejorative notion of the canon as a vehicle of ideological enforcement. He shows instead that canons by nature are surprisingly elastic, providing later writers with imaginative resources even when those same writers rebel against what they conceive as the constraints of the canon."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mere)
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Alter's readings of Kafka's Amerika, Bialik's "The Dead of the Desert," and Joyce's Ulysses offer compelling evidence of the complex authority that Biblical (particularly Hebrew) texts exercise in modern literature. He brings a fresh perspective to "canon" as a concept that has come full circle from its appropriation in Christian thought as a label for a body of doctrinally normative sacred texts through its extension in the last half of the twentieth century to a body of ideologically normative secular texts to an approximation of its use by Hellenistic grammarians to designate a body of texts that measured up to a literary-aesthetic standard rather than a doctrinal or ideological one. Alter extends this usage to illuminate the otherwise inexplicable inclusion of books such as Esther, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Job in the canon of Hebrew Scripture. A canon is "a transhistorical textual community." As such, it is not an exclusionary tool wielded by those in power but a conversational space for the play of creativity and the cultivation of continuity. Readers interested in Kafka, Joyce, and the flowering of Hebrew literature in Russia around the turn of the twentieth century will find much of value here, as will readers concerned with the use and abuse of "canon" in contemporary literary and pedagogical discussion.
  stevenschroeder | Jul 31, 2006 |
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"In this book, one of our foremost literary critics views the much-debated question of the literary canon from an entirely new angle. Robert Alter explores the ways in which a range of iconoclastic twentieth-century authors have put to use the stories, language, and imagery of the paramount canonical text - the Hebrew Bible. Alter makes a compelling case against the prevalent, pejorative notion of the canon as a vehicle of ideological enforcement. He shows instead that canons by nature are surprisingly elastic, providing later writers with imaginative resources even when those same writers rebel against what they conceive as the constraints of the canon."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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