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The Figure of the Singer

Daniel Karlin

Abstract

Why did poets continue to call themselves singers, and their poems songs, long after the formal link between poetry and music had been severed? This book explores the origin and meaning of the ‘figure of the singer’, tracing its roots in classical mythology and in the Bible, and following its rise from the ‘adventurous song’ of John Milton’s Paradise Lost to its apotheosis in the nineteenth century — by which time it had also become an oppressive cliché. Poets might embrace, or resist, this dominant figure of their art, but could not ignore it. Shadowing the metaphor is another figure, that of ... More

Keywords: poets, poems, music, metaphor, literal singer, Homer, poetic language, songs, poetry, figure of the singer

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199213986
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199213986.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Daniel Karlin, author
Winterstoke Professor of English Literature, University of Bristol