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(G-1) Hebrew Poetry

To see this for ourselves, we had best begin with an example of chiasmus, and a convenient one is to be found in Psalms —8 , which reads translating literally from the Hebrew :. Save me, O my God, for thou has smitten all my enemies on the cheek-bone;. The teeth of the wicked thou has broken; to Jehovah, the salvation.

Well, a careful look at these verses reveals something that at first glance is not altogether obvious: namely, that the words occur in a peculiar sequence. Everything gets said twice, and in the repetition everything gets said backwards, back to front, or in a reverse order. Consider what happens when we rewrite these verses by arranging them in the following way:. It now becomes quite clear to us that the repetition in these verses is not just a haphazard redundancy.

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Compare, for example, the more powerful ideas of Psalms over the strength of the teeth over the passive nature of the cheekbone; or getting broken vis-a-vis getting smitten; being wicked instead of just being an enemy. Quite consistently, therefore, a shift can be seen to occur at the center of a chiasm so that the bigger, more powerful, or more intense ideas will appear in the second half of chiastic passages. It may also be used to give order, emphasis, and completeness to longer passages, such as is the case in the 58th Psalm:.

Do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? Chiasmus makes this poem harmonic, complete, and brilliant. No end is left untied. No thought is left unbalanced. And yet it flows freely and naturally from one point to the next and back again. To an ancient Israelite this was beautiful, this was metrical, this was inspirational.

Notice how the short prayer at the center of this psalm is marked and spotlighted.

The prayer is set in the center for the very purpose of showing how prayer to the Lord God can turn everything completely around. After the prayer the strength of the wicked melts away like the slime of a snail, while the requests of the righteous are granted. It has led us to think about the nature of our sacred literature and to reevaluate the skill and deliberation with which it was written.

By it many passages that were previously obscure have now become clear. Other places that once seemed disorganized have now regained their original orderliness.

Above all, we have learned once again that, if we are to judge the literature of another culture, we must not judge it according to our likes and dislikes. The fact that chiasmus was a unique and prevalent form of Hebrew writing requires us to take it into account when we consider the literary accomplishments of ancient Israel. Figurative language and rich imagery abound, especially in the poetic books. Every rhetorical device is used, including alliteration, hyperbole, simile, metaphor, personification, and metonymy.

Sperry used an interesting analogy to illustrate a fundamental difference between the Eastern and Western ways of using language:.

Project MUSE - Western American Literature

We ofttimes read our Bible as though its peoples were English or American and interpret their sayings in terms of our own background and psychology. But the Bible is actually an Oriental book. It was written centuries ago by Oriental people and primarily for Oriental people. In thought and speech the Oriental is an artist; the Occidental, on the other hand, may be thought of as an architect.

When speaking, the Oriental paints a scene whose total effect is true, but the details may be inaccurate; the Occidental tends to draw diagrams accurate in detail. Any good botanist knows that the mustard seed sinapi of which Jesus spoke, though small, is not the smallest of all seeds, nor is the plant greater than all herbs. It lays heaven and earth under tribute. It steals music from the morning stars, and light from the bridegroom who needs no virginal lamps. Its eternal summer fades not, and its snows are undefiled. It rules the raging of the sea, it drives on the clouds, and rides on the wings of the wind.

It makes the royal gold richer, the myrrh more fragrant, and the frankincense sweeter. The offerings it takes from the shepherd suffer no death, and his flock is folded in evergreen pastures. The bread of its harvest will never waste, the oil from its press never fail, and its wine is for ever new. So long as men can breathe, its eternal lines will form the litany of the praying heart. The strings it touches are the strings of the harp of God.

It is the majestic rhythm of the soaring spirit, felt only by him who has the music of heaven in his soul. Its great theme is the personal encounter with the living God. One difficult aspect of Hebrew literature is the frequency with which certain writers use figures or images or write of things that have a dual meaning. For example, suppose a person in a crowd of strangers wants to determine if there are any Latter-day Saints present without openly asking.


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He is using esoteric language. Members of the Church would recognize the words instantly, but everyone else would assume that the was only singing a song unfamiliar to them. The same technique was often used in Old Testament writings. Special messages of spiritual importance were placed in apparently mundane or spiritually insignificant passages. But to the spiritually initiated, the spiritually sensitive, the second and more important meaning leaps out clearly. And indeed the whole passage Isaiah —22 makes perfect sense if applied to the head of the Babylonian government.

Read the passage again in light of the other meanings for Babylon and Lucifer. A whole new meaning, equally valid and meaningful, becomes apparent. Watership Down' s universal motifs of liberation and self-determination have been identified with by readers from a diversity of backgrounds; the author Rachel Kadish , reflecting on her own superimposition of the founding of Israel onto Watership Down , has remarked "Turns out plenty of other people have seen their histories in that book Watership Down can be Ireland after the famine, Rwanda after the massacres. Adams won the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association , recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject.

The Puffin Modern Classics edition of the novel contains an afterword by Nicholas Tucker , who wrote that stories such as Watership Down "now fit rather uneasily into the modern world of consideration of both sexes". He contrasted Hazel's sensitivity to Fiver with the "far more mechanical" attitude of the bucks towards the does portrayed as "little more than passive baby-factories".

Lanes alleges that the does are only "instruments of reproduction" to prevent the achievement of reaching Watership Down from "becoming a hollow victory". Thomas also called it a "splendid story" in which "anti-feminist bias Adams' sequel, Tales from Watership Down includes stories where the female rabbits play a more prominent role in the Watership Down warren.

It has been suggested that this might have been an attempt to modernise the story, to make it more in tune with the political sensibilities of the s when it was published.

In Martin Rosen wrote and directed an animated film adaptation of Watership Down. The film featured the song " Bright Eyes ", sung by Art Garfunkel. Released as a single, the song became a UK number one hit, [59] despite Richard Adams "hat[ing]" it. Although the essentials of the plot remained relatively unchanged, the film omitted several side plots. Though the Watership Down warren eventually grew to seventeen rabbits, with the additions of Strawberry, Holly, Bluebell, and three hutch rabbits liberated from the farm, the movie includes only a band of eight.

Rosen's adaptation was praised for "cutting through Adams' book The film has also seen some positive critical attention. Although the story was broadly based on that of the novel and most characters and events retained, some of the story lines and characters especially in later episodes were entirely new. In , Watership Down was again adapted for the stage, this time by Rona Munro. It ran at the Lyric Hammersmith in London.

The tone of the production was inspired by the tension of war: in an interview with The Guardian , Still commented, "The closest humans come to feeling like rabbits is under war conditions We've tried to capture that anxiety.

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Barsotti, Chris Daley, Paul S. Holmquist, and Mandy Walsh. Andrew Sachs recorded a five and a half hour abridged version of the story for Puffin Audiobooks. In , Audible. In , Blackstone Audio Inc.

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Peter Capaldi narrated the 17 hour, 31 minute book. In the American TV show Robot Chicken , a parody of the book is done with the Fraggles, the main characters of the show Fraggle Rock , in place of the rabbits. The November issue of National Lampoon magazine, released shortly after the resignation and pardon of President Richard Nixon , featured a satirical parody of the novel entitled "Watergate Down", in which rabbits are replaced by rats, described as animals with "the morals of a Democrat and the ethics of a Republican.

Spanish literature

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Watership Down disambiguation. Dewey Decimal. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Main article: List of Watership Down characters.