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Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture [Hardcover]

By Robert Alter (Author)
Our Price $ 18.70  
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Item Number 159457  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.03" Width: 5.11" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 10, 2000
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300084242  
EAN  9780300084245  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this illuminating 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.

Focusing special attention on Franz Kafka's Amarika, Haim Nahman Bialik's The Dead of the Desert, and James Joyce's Ulysses, Alter brings to bear an unusual perspective, putting into a single frame of discussion three writers from widely different linguistic traditions (German, Hebrew, English) and from disparate cultural settings (Prague, Odessa, Dublin). Alter's close readings of these major modern writers reveal how reference to canonical antecedents can be both surprisingly various and enabling. Examining the diverse modes in which Biblical material becomes interwoven with the fabric of a new work, he also offers new insights into the nature and range of modernism. Critically appreciative rather than polemic in tone, Alter conveys in this thoughtful book a renewed sense of the vitality of literary modernism.

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More About Robert Alter

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Alter is a Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime contributions to American letters, he lives in Berkeley, California.

Robert Alter currently resides in Berkeley, in the state of California. Robert Alter has an academic affiliation as follows - University of California, Berkeley.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The uses of the Biblical canon by modern creators   Nov 16, 2004
Alter opens his book this way,"Over the last quarter of a century ,the term canon,which previously had been restricted to the body of Sacred Scripture approved by ecclesiastical authority, attained general currency in academic circles as designation for the corpus of secular literary works implicity or explicitly endorsed by established cultural authority as worthy of preservation through reading and study." He speaks shortly afterwards about his goals in the work ," I want to explore the dynamics of canonicity,attending to the way the exemplary canonical corpus of the Western tradition,the Bible is assimilated and reused by poets and writers of fiction." Alter goes on after examining " The Double Canonicity of the Hebrew Bible " to explore the way three ' secular 'writers Kafka, Bialik and Joyce put the 'Canon' to use for their own creative purpose.
For those who love 'literary criticism ' at its best this is a work well- worth reading.
The Bible and Modern Artists  Apr 17, 2001
For those familiar with Alter's other works on Biblical literature this will be a joy. It focuses on how three great modern writers use the Bible to create their own art. Although the three writers, Kafka, Bialik and Joyce use the Bible differently than traditional writers - they treat the Bible with the utmost respect. Alters shows how the great moderns appreciate the wonders of the Bible and use it to enhance their art. Canon and Creativity will help you understand the artistic process of the moderns and the ancients. This is a book that the writer clearly enjoyed writing - and the intelligent reader will enjoy reading.

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