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The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature

Rebecca Lemon (Editor), Emma Mason (Editor), Jonathan Roberts (Editor), Christopher Rowland (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-3160-5
720 pages
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature (1405131608) cover image
This Companion explores the Bible's role and influence on individual writers, whilst tracing the key developments of Biblical themes and literary theory through the ages.
  • An ambitious overview of the Bible's impact on English literature – as arguably the most powerful work of literature in history – from the medieval period through to the twentieth-century
  • Includes introductory sections to each period giving background information about the Bible as a source text in English literature, and placing writers in their historical context
  • Draws on examples from medieval, early-modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist literature
  • Includes many 'secular' or 'anti-clerical' writers alongside their 'Christian' contemporaries, revealing how the Bible's text shifts and changes in the writing of each author who reads and studies it
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List of Contributors ix

Part I Introduction 1

1 General Introduction
Rebecca Lemon, Emma Mason, and Jonathan Roberts 3

2 The Literature of the Bible
Christopher Rowland 10

3 Biblical Hermeneutics and Literary Theory
David Jasper 22

Part II Medieval 39

4 Introduction
Daniel Anlezark 41

5 Old English Poetry
Catherine A. M. Clarke 61

6 The Medieval Religious Lyric
Douglas Gray 76

7 The Middle English Mystics
Annie Sutherland 85

8 The Pearl-Poet
Helen Barr 100

9 William Langland
Sister Mary Clemente Davlin, OP 116

10 Geoffrey Chaucer
Christiania Whitehead 134

Part III Early Modern 153

11 Introduction
Roger Pooley 155

12 Early Modern Women
Elizabeth Clarke 169

13 Early Modern Religious Prose
Julie Maxwell 184

14 Edmund Spenser
Carol V. Kaske 197

15 Mary Sidney
Rivkah Zim 211

16 William Shakespeare
Hannibal Hamlin 225

17 John Donne
Jeanne Shami 239

18 George Herbert
John Drury 254

19 John Milton
Michael Lieb 269

20 John Bunyan
Andrew Bradstock 286

21 John Dryden
Gerard Reedy, S.J. 297

Part IV Eighteenth Century and Romantic 311

22 Introduction
Stephen Prickett 313

23 Eighteenth-Century Hymn Writers
J. R. Watson 329

24 Daniel Defoe
Valentine Cunningham 345

25 Jonathan Swift
Michael F. Suarez, S.J. 359

26 William Blake
Jonathan Roberts and Christopher Rowland 373

27 Women Romantic Poets
Penny Bradshaw 383

28 William Wordsworth
Deeanne Westbrook 397

29 S. T. Coleridge
Graham Davidson 413

30 Jane Austen
Michael Giffin 425

31 George Gordon Byron
Wolf Z. Hirst 438

32 P. B. Shelley
Bernard Beatty 451

Part V Victorian 463

33 Introduction
Elisabeth Jay 465

34 The Brownings
Kevin Mills 482

35 Alfred Tennyson
Kirstie Blair 496

36 The Brontës
Marianne Thormählen 512

37 John Ruskin
Dinah Birch 525

38 George Eliot
Charles LaPorte 536

39 Christina Rossetti
Elizabeth Ludlow 551

40 G. M. Hopkins
Paul S. Fiddes 563

41 Sensation Fiction
Mark Knight 577

42 Decadence
Andrew Tate 587

Part VI Modernist 601

43 Introduction
Ward Blanton 603

44 W. B. Yeats
Edward Larrissy 617

45 Virginia Woolf
Douglas L. Howard 629

46 James Joyce
William Franke 642

47 D. H. Lawrence
T. R. Wright 654

48 T. S. Eliot
David Fuller 667

49 The Great War Poets
Jane Potter 681

Index 696

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Rebecca Lemon is an associate professor of English literature at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Treason by Words: Literature, Law, and Rebellion in Shakespeare's England (2006), as well as articles on Mary Wroth and Petrarchism, Shakespeare and Agamben, and Hayward and censorship.

Emma Mason is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Warwick. She is the author of Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (2006), Nineteenth Century Religion and Literature: An Introduction (with Mark Knight, 2006), and The Cambridge Introduction to Wordsworth (2009).

Jonathan Roberts is a lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of William Blake's Poetry (2007), The Bible for Sinners (with Christopher Rowland, 2008), the forthcoming Blake. Wordsworth. Religion. (2009) and is co-editing the forthcoming Oxford Companion to the Reception History of the Bible (2010).

Christopher Rowland is Dean Ireland's Professor of Holy Exegesis at the University of Oxford. He has written on radical Christian writings including those of Gerrard Winstanley and William Blake and the Bible. He is the author of a number of books, including The Nature of New Testament Theology (2006), Revelation Through the Centuries (with Judith Kovacs, 2003), and Radical Christian Writings: A Reader (with Andrew Bradstock, 2002), all published by Wiley-Blackwell. Together with John Sawyer and Judith Kovacs he also edits the Blackwell Bible Commentary series.

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  • An ambitious and interdisciplinary overview of the Bible's role and influence on English literature, from Old English poetry through to T. S. Eliot
  • Brings together a comprehensive collection of newly-commissioned essays to explore the influence of the Bible on individual writers, whilst tracing the key developments of Biblical themes and literary theory through the ages
  • Includes introductory sections to each period giving background information about the Bible as a source text in English literature, and placing writers in their historical context
  • Draws on examples from medieval, early-modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist literature
  • Includes many ‘secular’ or ‘anti-clerical’ writers alongside their ‘Christian’ contemporaries, revealing how the Bible’s text shifts and changes in the writing of each author who reads and studies it
See More
"An extremely useful volume." (The Year's Work in English Studies, 29 August 2011)

"Probably what comes across most clearly is how, and that, many of the writers chose deliberately to draw on the Bible, and for students increasingly unfamiliar with the Bible, this approach challenges as well as informs." (Reference Reviews, December 2009)

"This is indeed a true companion, one that succeeds in its aim of being both scholarly and accessible to all lovers of English literature. In short, all students of English literature ought to put aside a month to read and study this book before going up to university." (Church Times, August 2009)

"This magnificent collection completely re-imagines the vast and well-trodden field of the Bible and Literature. From Chaucer to T.S. Eliot, The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature offers a compelling narrative of how the English literary tradition has itself used, re-written and re-visioned sacred texts. In my view, the result is indispensable reading – a Bible no less – for students and scholars alike."
Dr Arthur Bradley, Lancaster University

"This is an extremely valuable resource for students, scholars, and anyone else interested in the relationship between the Bible and English Literature. Through a series of stimulating essays, the editors and contributors highlight the unparalleled importance of the Bible within the literary tradition. They explore the multitude of ways in which this sacred text has both shaped and been shaped by the imagination of writers. Our thinking will be much richer as a result of what this book has to say."
Dr Mark Knight, Roehampton University

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