Secrets of the Oracle: A History of Wisdom from Zeno to Yeats [NOOK Book]

Overview

"What is wisdom? Where does it come from? Where can we find it? And what does it mean in our lives? In Secrets of the Oracle, W. David Shaw explores these questions by turning to the works of wisdom writers, whose words retain their meaning and transformative power even centuries after they were written." Wisdom literature exists in two shaping forms - the aphorism, geared towards the past, and the oracle, a revolutionary impulse looking to the future. Secrets of the Oracle discusses both types of wisdom, finding them in the works of poets and

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Secrets of the Oracle: A History of Wisdom from Zeno to Yeats

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Overview

"What is wisdom? Where does it come from? Where can we find it? And what does it mean in our lives? In Secrets of the Oracle, W. David Shaw explores these questions by turning to the works of wisdom writers, whose words retain their meaning and transformative power even centuries after they were written." Wisdom literature exists in two shaping forms - the aphorism, geared towards the past, and the oracle, a revolutionary impulse looking to the future. Secrets of the Oracle discusses both types of wisdom, finding them in the works of poets and philosophers from Tennyson and Zeno to Yeats and George Berkeley, from Browning and Schleiermacher to T.S. Eliot and F.H. Bradley. The book also discusses the contribution to wisdom of Jesus and the author of Ecclesiastes, of Abraham Lincoln and Norman Maclean. Part celebration of wisdom found and part lament for wisdom lost, Secrets of the Oracle is convincing in its assertion that wisdom articulates what is and offers creative visions of the future.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442697263
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

W. David Shaw is a professor emeritus in the Department of English at Victoria College, University of Toronto.

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Table of Contents

1 Descent of the Owl: Philosophy among the Poets 15

2 Tennyson and Zeno: Three Infinities 39

3 How Poets Die to Time: The Sublime Oracle 62

4 Making Peace with Time: The Beautiful Oracle 84

5 The Ruins of Time: The Grotesque Oracle 97

6 Wisdom and the Logos: John's Gospel to Four Quartets 121

7 Gnostic Wisdom: Parable and Koan 127

8 Paradox and Oracle: Crucible versus Mirror 140

9 Copy-Speech and Counter-Love: Wordsworth and Frost 155

10 'A River Runs through It' and Joyce's 'The Dead' 167

11 The Wise Owl: George Eliot's Arrested Wit 187

12 The Serpent of Irony: Wisdom or Guile? 206

13 Groucho Marx to Bernard Shaw: The Irish Bull 228

14 Oracles of Wit: Oscar Wilde and Northrop Frye 246

15 From Delphi to Gettysburg: Changing the Covenant 277

16 Coleridge and Huxley: Experiment or Decree? 298

17 Evolving Oracles: Newman, Browning, and Shakespeare 315

18 An Underground Oracle: 'Look in Your Heart and Write' 336

Works Cited 361

Index 375

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