Originally delivered as the 1980 Larkin-Stuart Lectures, this book provides an intriguing and provocative insight into the notion of creation and of the relationship in creativity between the human and the divine.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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I am a literary critic, mainly concerned with English literature, and I have recently developed a special interest in the way that the Bible has affected the structure and imagery of that literature. The first word to attract one’s notice in both fields is the word creation. Page one of the Bible says that God created the world; page one of the critic’s handbook, not yet written, tells him that what he is studying are human creations. In this book I should like to look at certain aspects of the conception or metaphor of creation, as it applies to both...
In the previous chapter I spoke of human life as contained within a cultural envelope that insulates it from nature, and said that the verbal part of this envelope is, or at starts out as, a mythology. A mythology is made up of myths, and so I should first of all try to explain what the word myth means in the sense, or senses, in which I shall be using it. As a literary critic, I want to anchor the word myth its critical context. Myth to me, then, means first of allmythosor narrative, words arranged in a...
In the first two chapters I have tried to suggest that there are two ways of approaching the notion of creation. There is a traditional myth of creation in which God brings the world into being before man, who is himself a later part of creation. The models of human civilization are supplied by God, who plants a garden and places Adam in it, and who created an angelic city before there were any human cities. This creation was, we are told, perfect, or at least ‘very good,’ whatever the source of this value-judgement. Man lost touch with the divine...