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Journeys in the Songscape: Reading Space in the Song of Songs

Meredith, Christopher (2012) Journeys in the Songscape: Reading Space in the Song of Songs. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis employs a range of contemporary critical and theoretical tools to examine the spatiality of the biblical Song of Songs. Ch. 1 examines the limitations of existing modes of biblical spatial analysis, critiquing biblical scholars’ uses of the work of Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja. The thesis then develops new ways of engaging with literary space, using the writings of Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida as its starting point. Ch. 2 looks at the broad poetic world conjured up by the Song. The trope of the phantasmagoria provides a framework in this chapter for thinking through the relationship between the spatialities of sex and of text in the poem. Ch. 3 takes a detailed look at the Song’s most iconic settings, the garden and the city, with the observations of ch. 2 in mind. It uses specialist work on the politics of garden space and on urban space to re-read these settings; is the garden necessarily a ‘good’ space, is the city really all that bad? Ch. 4 looks at threshold space in the text, using the lines and limens of the poetic world to think about the Song’s attitude towards gender, and how spatiality, gendered performativity and textual meaning are connected in the poem. Ch. 5 looks at the Song’s approach to bodily space, paying particular attention to the ways in which landscaped space and bodily space work as a self-sustaining milieu in the text. The chapter thus circles around to think about the ways in which the Song’s bodily spaces are symptomatic of the nature of the Song as a whole. Throughout, the thesis argues that the Song fuses the spatiality of sex with the spatiality of reading, and suggests that the poem’s idiosyncratic world speaks to the structures of textual signification itself.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Biblical Studies (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.564154
Depositing User: Christopher Meredith
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2013 14:25
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:17
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3113

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