Cover image for New stories for old : biblical patterns in the novel
Title:
New stories for old : biblical patterns in the novel
Author:
Fisch, Harold.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Basingstoke, Hampshire : Macmillan Press ; New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
x, 236 pages ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
Dialogue and repetition -- Robinson's biblical island -- Biblical "imitation" in Joseph Andrews -- Natural piety in Silas Marner -- Kafka's debate with Job -- Being possessed by Job -- Biblical patterns for sale: Malamud, The fixer -- Saul Bellow and Philip Roth -- The Akedah in A.B. Yehoshua -- The day before yesterday.
Title Subject:
ISBN:
9780312212506

9780333714096
Format :
Book

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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN3352.B53 F57 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Harold Fisch explores the biblical influence on the style and the structure of landmark novels by Fielding, Defoe, Gearge Eliot, Kafka, Dostoevsky and others. These turn out, again and again, to be re-readings of biblical stories. This echoing is sometimes explicit as in Joseph Andrews, where Fielding offers us a comic revision of the career of the biblical Joseph. But it can be inexplicit and even unconscious as in Kafka's The Trial, which, without mentioning Job, reads (as Northop Frye has noted) like a midrashic commentary on that book. In a study remarkable for its range and subtlety, the author develops the notion of the novel as midrash but argues that while the great novelists were held in thrall by the biblical patterns and stories, they were also regularly compelled to throw off this thraldom. They could not manage without the Bible but at the same time it would not do. Fisch discusses the adversial realation to the biblical text with reference to two archetypal narratives: the Job story and the Dinding of Isaac. Of particluar interest are the chapters devoted to the Israeli novelist S.Y. Agnon and A.B. Yehoshua.


Summary

Harold Fisch explores the biblical influence on the style and structure of landmark works by Fielding, Defoe, George Eliot, Kafka, Dostoevsky and others. Whilst the great novelists could not manage without the Bible, at the same time 'it would not do'. The book concludes with two chapters on the Israeli novelists S.Y. Agnon and A.B. Yehoshua.


Author Notes

HAROLD FISCH, now Professor Emeritus in English Literature at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, was rector of that university from 1968-1971. A graduate of Sheffield and Oxford, he has taught at Leeds University and has been a guest lecturer at Brown, Yale, Maryland and elsewhere. He is well-known as a scholar and critic with an equal mastery of English literature and Hebrew and biblical studies. Among his publications are: Jerusalem and Albion: the Hebraic Factor in Seventeenth Century Literature, Hamlet and the Word: the Covenant Pattern in Shakespeare, A Remembered Future: a Study in Literary Mythology, and Poetry with a Purpose: Biblical Poetics and Interpretation.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Fisch (emeritus, Bar-Ilan Univ.) provides a thoughtful, readable, subtle work of criticism on the English, US, and Israeli novel's relation to biblical narrative. The author finds in the traditional midrashic mode of "interpretation through retelling" a critical method superior to Bakhtin's dialogism, which nevertheless enables the critic to benefit from Bakhtin's insights. In successive chapters on Robinson Crusoe, Joseph Andrews, and Silas Marner, Fisch discusses the roots of English realism in its use of Old Testament patterns. A second section traces the influence of Job on Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Malamud (especially The Fixer), and a third treats echoes of the binding of Isaac (from the Book of Genesis) in Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Israeli novelists A.B. Yehoshua and S.Y. Agnon. In most if not all of these writers, Fisch detects an inevitable tension as each becomes more deeply embedded in biblical narrative even while struggling to escape its dominance. Although Fisch makes use of such recent critical work as Stephen Prickett's Origins of Narrative (CH, Feb'97)--among many other volumes cited in his notes--this book is unique in English. For all libraries supporting study of the novel at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. M. Minor; Morehead State University


Choice Review

Fisch (emeritus, Bar-Ilan Univ.) provides a thoughtful, readable, subtle work of criticism on the English, US, and Israeli novel's relation to biblical narrative. The author finds in the traditional midrashic mode of "interpretation through retelling" a critical method superior to Bakhtin's dialogism, which nevertheless enables the critic to benefit from Bakhtin's insights. In successive chapters on Robinson Crusoe, Joseph Andrews, and Silas Marner, Fisch discusses the roots of English realism in its use of Old Testament patterns. A second section traces the influence of Job on Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Malamud (especially The Fixer), and a third treats echoes of the binding of Isaac (from the Book of Genesis) in Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Israeli novelists A.B. Yehoshua and S.Y. Agnon. In most if not all of these writers, Fisch detects an inevitable tension as each becomes more deeply embedded in biblical narrative even while struggling to escape its dominance. Although Fisch makes use of such recent critical work as Stephen Prickett's Origins of Narrative (CH, Feb'97)--among many other volumes cited in his notes--this book is unique in English. For all libraries supporting study of the novel at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. M. Minor; Morehead State University


Table of Contents

Preface
Part I Introductory
Dialogue and Repetition
Part II Biblical Realism and the English Novel
Robinson's Biblical Island
Biblical 'Imitation' inJoseph Andrews
Natural Piety inSilas Marner
Part III Job in Modern Fiction
Kafka's Debate with Job
Being Possessed by Job
Biblical Patterns for Sale:Malamud, The Fixer
Part IV Isaac Unbound
Saul Bellow and Philip Roth
The AkedahA. B. Yehoushua
The Day Before Yesterday
Notes
Index
Preface
Part I Introductory
Dialogue and Repetition
Part II Biblical Realism and the English Novel
Robinson's Biblical Island
Biblical 'Imitation' inJoseph Andrews
Natural Piety inSilas Marner
Part III Job in Modern Fiction
Kafka's Debate with Job
Being Possessed by Job
Biblical Patterns for Sale:Malamud, The Fixer
Part IV Isaac Unbound
Saul Bellow and Philip Roth
The AkedahA. B. Yehoushua
The Day Before Yesterday
Notes
Index

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