'Kubla Khan' and the Fall of Jerusalem: The Mythological School in Biblical Criticism and Secular Literature 1770-1880

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Cambridge University Press, 1980 M06 5 - 361 pages
Dr Schaffer outlines the development of the mythological school of European Biblical criticism, especially its German origins and its reception in England, and studies the influence of this movement in the work of specific writers: Coleridge Hölderlin, Browning, and George Eliot. The 'higher criticism' treated sacred scripture as literature and as history, as the product of its time, and the highest expression of a developing group consciousness; it challenged current views on the authorship and dating of the Pentateuch and the Gospels, on inspiration, prophecy, and canonicity, and formulated a new apologetics closely linked with the growth of Romantic aesthetics. The importance of this study is that it shows that readings of specific literary texts can intersect with general movements of thought and action through the scrutiny of a clearly defined intellectual discipline, here the higher criticism, which developed as a particular expression of the larger trends in the history of the period. Dr Shaffer throws light on individual works of literature, the formation between England and Germany, and the bases of European Romanticism.

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Contents

The Fall of Jerusalem Coleridges unwritten epic
17
The visionary character Revelation and the lyrical ballad
62
The oriental idyll
96
Holderlins Patmos ode and Kubla Khan mythological doubling
145
Brownings St John the casuistry of the higher criticism
191
Daniel Deronda and the conventions of fiction
225
Eichhorns outline of the poetic action of the Book of Revelation
292
A translation of Holderlins Patmos
296
Patmos
303
Notes
309
Select Bibliography
346
Index
357
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