Stephen GreenblattPulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author of The Swerve and Will in the Worldinvestigates the life of one of humankind’s greatest stories.
Bolder, even, than the ambitious books for which Stephen Greenblatt is already renowned, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve explores the enduring story of humanity’s first parents. Comprising only a few ancient verses, the story of Adam and Eve has served as a mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires, as both a hymn to human responsibility and a dark fable about human wretchedness.
Tracking the tale into the deep past, Greenblatt uncovers the tremendous theological, artistic, and cultural investment over centuries that made these fictional figures so profoundly resonant in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds and, finally, so very “real” to millions of people even in the present. With the uncanny brilliance he previously brought to his depictions of William Shakespeare and Poggio Bracciolini (the humanist monk who is the protagonist of The Swerve), Greenblatt explores the intensely personal engagement of Augustine, Dürer, and Milton in this mammoth project of collective creation, while he also limns the diversity of the story’s offspring: rich allegory, vicious misogyny, deep moral insight, and some of the greatest triumphs of art and literature.
The biblical origin story, Greenblatt argues, is a model for what the humanities still have to offer: not the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with problems that have gripped our species for as long as we can recall and that continue to fascinate and trouble us today.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Also General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, he is the author of eleven books, including Tyrant,The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve: The Story that Created Us, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (winner of the 2011 National Book Award and the 2012 Pulitzer Prize); Shakespeare's Freedom; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World; Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture; and Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. He has edited seven collections of criticism, including Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto, and is a founding coeditor of the journal Representations. His honors include the MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize, for both Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England and The Swerve, the Sapegno Prize, the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation, the Wilbur Cross Medal from the Yale University Graduate School, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Date of Birth:November 7, 1943
Place of Birth:Cambridge, Massachusetts
Education:B.A., Yale University, 1964; B.A., Cambridge University, 1966; Ph.D., Yale University, 1969
Table of Contents
Prologue: In the House of Worship 1
1 Bake Bones 5
2 By the Waters of Babylon 21
3 Clay Tablets 39
4 The Life of Adam and Eve 64
5 In the Bathhouse 81
6 Original Freedom, Original Sin 98
7 Eve's Murder 120
8 Embodiments 139
9 Chastity and its Discontents 163
10 The Politics of Paradise 189
11 Becoming Real 204
12 Men Before Adam 231
13 Falling Away 250
14 Darwin's Doubts 269
Epilogue: In the Forest of Eden 285
Appendix 1 A Sampling of Interpretations 303
Appendix 2 A Sampling of Origin Stories 313
Selected Bibliography 367
Illustration Credits 393