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Reading old books : writing with traditions

Author: Peter Mack
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2019]
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A wide-ranging exploration of the creative power of literary tradition, from Chaucer to the presentIn literary and cultural studies, "tradition" is a word everyone uses but few address critically. In Reading Old Books, Peter Mack offers a wide-ranging exploration of the creative power of literary tradition, from the middle ages to the twenty-first century, revealing in new ways how it helps writers and readers make  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Mack, Peter.
Reading Old Books : Writing with Traditions.
Princeton : Princeton University Press, ©2019
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Peter Mack
ISBN: 0691195358 9780691195353
OCLC Number: 1111471733
Description: 1 online resource (xii, 237 pages) : illustration
Contents: Cover; Title Page; Copyright Page; Contents; Preface; Introduction: Ideas of Literary Tradition; Chapter 1. Petrarch, Scholarship, and Traditions of Love Poetry; Chapter 2. Chaucer and Boccaccio's Il Filostrato; Chapter 3. Renaissance Epics: Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser; Chapter 4. Reading and Community as a Support for the New in Elizabeth Gaskell's; Chapter 5. European and African Literary Traditions in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Wizard of the Crow; Conclusion: Writers' and Readers' Traditions; Notes; Select Bibliography; Index
Responsibility: Peter Mack.

Abstract:

A wide-ranging exploration of the creative power of literary tradition, from Chaucer to the presentIn literary and cultural studies, "tradition" is a word everyone uses but few address critically. In Reading Old Books, Peter Mack offers a wide-ranging exploration of the creative power of literary tradition, from the middle ages to the twenty-first century, revealing in new ways how it helps writers and readers make new works and meanings. Reading Old Books argues that the best way to understand tradition is by examining the moments when a writer takes up an old text and writes something new out of a dialogue with that text and the promptings of the present situation. The book examines Petrarch as a user, instigator, and victim of tradition. It shows how Chaucer became the first great English writer by translating and adapting a minor poem by Boccaccio. It investigates how Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser made new epic meanings by playing with assumptions, episodes, and phrases translated from their predecessors. It analyzes how the Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell drew on tradition to address the new problem of urban deprivation in Mary Barton. And, finally, it looks at how the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, in his 2004 novel Wizard of the Crow, reflects on biblical, English literary, and African traditions. Drawing on key theorists, critics, historians, and sociologists, and stressing the international character of literary tradition, Reading Old Books illuminates the not entirely free choices readers and writers make to create meaning in collaboration and competition with their models.

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