The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible
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“Bloom’s erudite mix of acerbic judgments (e.g., the New Testament’s literary ugliness) and awed delight (‘the biblical David is an incarnate poem’) offers readers a fresh take on an old book.” — Publishers Weekly
The King James Bible stands at “the sublime summit of literature in English,” sharing the honor only with Shakespeare, Harold Bloom contends in the opening pages of this illuminating literary tour. Distilling the insights acquired from his long career as a brilliant critic and teacher, Bloom offers, in The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible (Yale University Press; publication date September 13, 2011; $28 hardcover), a magisterial and intimately perceptive reading of the King James Bible as a literary masterpiece.
Bloom calls it an “inexplicable wonder” that a rather undistinguished group of writers could bring forth such a magnificent work of literature, and he credits William Tyndale as their fountainhead. Reading the King James Bible alongside Tyndale’s Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the original Hebrew and Greek texts, Bloom highlights how the translators and editors improved upon—or, in some cases, diminished—the earlier versions. He invites readers to hear the baroque inventiveness in such sublime books as the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, and alerts us to the echoes of the King James Bible in works from the Romantic period to the present day.
Throughout, Bloom makes an impassioned, personal, and convincing case for reading the King James Bible as literature, free from dogma and full of appreciation of its enduring aesthetic value.
“[Harold Bloom] is, by any reckoning, one of the most stimulating literary presences of the last half-century—and one of the most protean.” —Sam Tanenhaus, New York Times Book Review (for The Anatomy of Influence)
About the Author: Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. He is the world-renowned author of forty books, including his New York Times bestsellers The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and The Book of J, as well as the pioneering studies A Visionary Company and The Anxiety of Influence. His most recent book is The Anatomy of Influence, also published by Yale University Press. He is a MacArthur Prize Fellow, a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees.
The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible, by Harold Bloom
Price: $28.00 * ISBN: 978-0-300-16683-5 Cloth * eBook ISBN: 978-0-300-18001-5 * 320 pages
Publication date: September 13, 2011
Yale University Press
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