The Tempter's Voice: Language and the Fall in Medieval Literature

The Tempter's Voice: Language and the Fall in Medieval Literature

by Eric Jager
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801480361

ISBN-13: 9780801480362

Pub. Date: 07/01/2006

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Why was the story of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent so important to medieval literary culture? Eric Jager argues that during the Middle Ages the story of the Fall was incorporated into a comprehensive myth about language. Drawing on a wide range of texts, Jager shows how patristic and medieval authors used the Fall to confront practical and theoretical problems in many…  See more details below

Overview

Why was the story of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent so important to medieval literary culture? Eric Jager argues that during the Middle Ages the story of the Fall was incorporated into a comprehensive myth about language. Drawing on a wide range of texts, Jager shows how patristic and medieval authors used the Fall to confront practical and theoretical problems in many areas of life and thought—including education, hermeneutics, rhetoric, feudal politics, and gender relations. Jager explores the Fall's meaning for clergy and laity, nobles and commoners, men and women.Among the works Jager discusses are texts by Ambrose, Augustine, the early Christian poet Avitus, and scholastic authors; Old English biblical epics; Middle English spiritual writings; French courtesy books; and the poetry of Dante and Chaucer. Examples from the visual arts are included as well. Jager links medieval interpretations of the Fall to underlying cultural anxieties about the ambiguity of the sign, the instability of oral tradition, the pleasure of the text, and the many rhetorical guises of the tempter's voice. He also assesses the modern and postmodern legacy of the Fall, showing how this myth continues to embody central ideas concerning language.The Tempter's Voice will be essential reading for scholars and students in such fields as medieval studies, literary theory, gender theory, comparative literature, cultural history, and the history of religion.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801480362
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
07/01/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Note on Biblical Citations
Introduction1
Pt. 1Augustine's Garden
1The School of Paradise23
2The Genesis of Hermeneutics51
3The Garden of Eloquence99
Pt. 2The Medieval Garden
4The Old English Epic of the Fall145
5The Seducer and the Daughter of Eve191
6The Carnal Letter in Chaucer's Earthly Paradise241
Epilogue: Signs of the Fall: From the Middle Ages to Postmodernism299
Bibliography307
Index325

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