By H. Fisch
Harold Fisch explores the biblical impression at the sort and the constitution of landmark novels by way of Fielding, Defoe, Gearge Eliot, Kafka, Dostoevsky and others. those end up, repeatedly, to be re-readings of biblical tales. This echoing is usually particular as in Joseph Andrews, the place Fielding bargains us a comic book revision of the profession of the biblical Joseph. however it might be inexplicit or even subconscious as in Kafka's The Trial, which, with out stating task, reads (as Northop Frye has famous) like a midrashic remark on that ebook. In a research extraordinary for its variety and subtlety, the writer develops the proposal of the unconventional as midrash yet argues that whereas the good novelists have been held in thrall by means of the biblical styles and tales, they have been additionally usually forced to throw off this thraldom. they can no longer deal with with out the Bible yet whilst "it wouldn't do." Fisch discusses the adversial realation to the biblical textual content on the subject of archetypal narratives: the task tale and the Dinding of Isaac. Of particluar curiosity are the chapters dedicated to the Israeli novelist S.Y. Agnon and A.B. Yehoshua.
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Harold Fisch explores the biblical effect at the kind and the constitution of landmark novels via Fielding, Defoe, Gearge Eliot, Kafka, Dostoevsky and others. those prove, time and again, to be re-readings of biblical tales. This echoing is usually specific as in Joseph Andrews, the place Fielding bargains us a comic book revision of the profession of the biblical Joseph.
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Extra resources for New Stories For Old: Biblical Patterns in the Novel (Cross-Currents in Religion and Culture)
Defoe’s book then is not only about a man who undergoes a moral testing on a desert island: it is about the process of interpretation, its pitfalls and menaces. His success in sowing his corn and reaping his crop after many years parallels his success in making old words yield a new crop of meaning. ” The island provides him with a unique opportunity for this kind of exercise. The stage-set is biblical: there is sea and desert, the vision of angels, storm and earthquake. The Bible is placed in his hand and in Protestant fashion he is free to interpret it at will.
Defoe’s irony is unmistakable. Coming close, Robinson finds them about to kill one of their prisoners who is a white man! ” It was the sign he had been waiting for and so he and Friday attack. They release the prisoner, who turns out to be a Spaniard, and then the three of them fall upon the savages, killing 18 out of the 22 who had come ashore. Another of the prisoners whom they release turns out to be Friday’s father. So all is well, the island is now peopled, the enemy is destroyed, and the problem of dealing with the words in the Book has been solved, though at the cost of some little self-deception and a fortunate, ex post facto justification.
And the words which he finds as he casually opens the book, have as immediate an application to his present condition. ” The tobacco, it seems is the material exemplification of the deliverance spoken of in that verse from psalms. And the two, text and referent, are literally contiguous! Of course the two do not always rest comfortably side by side as in this instance. Sometimes the Book will supervene and sometimes the Tobacco. We will sometimes forget the one and find ourselves totally absorbed in the other.
New Stories For Old: Biblical Patterns in the Novel (Cross-Currents in Religion and Culture) by H. Fisch