Dialogues With/and Great Books: The Dynamics of Canon Formation

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Sussex Academic Press, Oct 6, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 219 pages
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What is the source of a book's perceived greatness and why do certain books become part of the accepted canon? Dialogues with/and Great Books - now available in paperback - presents a fresh perspective on these questions, re-visiting prevalent approaches that explain a work's reputation in terms of its aesthetic qualities ("the beauty view") or as the result of dictates by social hegemonies ("the power view"). Author David Fishelov argues that the number and variety of echoes and dialogues a book generates - with readers, authors, translators, adaptors, artists, and critics - is the most important source of its perceived greatness. The first part of the book - What Is a Dialogue? What Is a Great Book - provides useful distinctions between different kinds of dialogue (genuine dialogue, dialogue-of-the-deaf, and echo-dialogue), develops theoretical arguments (why the dialogic approach is not circular), and empirically tests intriguing cases (why has Candide, and not Rasselas won the lit
 

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Contents

Literary Dialogues
14
The Battle of the Great Books
30
The Dialogic Approach to Great Books
46
The Sacrifice Scene Kierkegaard and Levin
77
Samson Jabotinsky DeMille and Milton
90
Jesus Christ Monty Python and Saramago
104
Horace in Pushkin Owen and Diderot
116
Juvenals Satire 10 Johnson and Swift
134
My Fair Lady via Moliere
146
Mores Utopia and Some Variations
159
Robinson Crusoe The Variety Principle Revisited
172
Concluding Remarks
183
Notes
189
Bibliography
203
Index
213
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About the author (2011)

David Fishelov is an associate professor of comparative literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Like a Rainfall: Studies on Poetic Simile, Metaphors of Genres: The Role of Analogies in Genre Theories, and Samson’s Locks: The Transformations of Biblical Samson.

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