The Figure of the Singer

Hardcover | August 11, 2013

byDaniel Karlin

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Why did poets continue to call themselves singers, and their poems songs, long after the formal link between poetry and music had been severed? Daniel Karlin explores the origin and meaning of the 'figure of the singer', tracing its roots in classical mythology and in the Bible, and followingits rise from the 'adventurous song' of Milton's Paradise Lost to its apotheosis in the nineteenth century-by which time it had also become an oppressive cliche. Poets might embrace, or resist, this dominant figure of their art, but could not ignore it. Shadowing the metaphor is another figure, thatof the literal singer, a source of fascination, and rivalry, to poets who are confined to words on the page. The book opens with an emblematic figure of the greatest of all 'singers': Homer, playing his lyre, at the centre of the frieze of poets on the Albert Memorial in London. Chapters on the tragicomic rise and fall of 'the bard', on the link between female song and suffering, and on the metaphor ofpoetry as birdsong, are followed by detailed readings of poems by Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Hardy. The final chapter, on the songs of Bob Dylan, suggests that recording technology has given fresh impetus to the quarrel (which is also alove-affair) between poetic language and song.The Figure of the Singer offers a profound and stimulating analysis of the idea of poetry as song and of the complex, troubled relations between voice and text

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Why did poets continue to call themselves singers, and their poems songs, long after the formal link between poetry and music had been severed? Daniel Karlin explores the origin and meaning of the 'figure of the singer', tracing its roots in classical mythology and in the Bible, and followingits rise from the 'adventurous song' of Milt...

Daniel Karlin was born in London. He did his BA (1971-74) and PhD (1975-78) at Queens' College, Cambridge. He held a Junior Research Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford (1978-1980), beafore teaching at University College London (1980-2004), Boston University (2005-6), and the University of Sheffield (2006-2010). Karlin has taught at ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:August 11, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199213984

ISBN - 13:9780199213986

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: Two lyres1. Song and power: the Bard2. Women poets as singers in the nineteenth century3. Hark! Nineteenth-century poetry and the song of birds4. Songs in books (1): Pippa Passes5. Songs in books (2): The Princess6. Aurora Leigh: expressing the old scriptures7. Walt Whitman: song and the making of poems8. Thomas Hardy: Bygone Occasions9. 'Columbia Recording Artist Bob Dylan'