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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Landscapes of the Song of Songs: Poetry and Place
James, Elaine T.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017 pp. xii + 233. $99.00


Description: In this masterful new study of the ancient poetry of the Song of Songs, Elaine T. James explores the Song's underlying interest in the natural world. Engaging with the fields of geography, landscape architecture, and literature, James critiques the tendency of scholars to reify a perceived dichotomy between "nature" and "culture" and instead argues that the poetic attention to landscape indicates an awareness of a viewer. Nature is here a poetic device that informs James's close-readings of agrarianism, gardens, cities, social control, and feminism and the gaze in the Song. With this two-fold emphasis on landscape and lyric, Landscape of the Song of Songs shows how the Song persistently envisions a world in which human lovers are embedded in the natural world, complexly enfolded in relationships of fragility and care.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Writings, Song of Songs, Literature

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Review by Stephen C. Russell
Published 1/25/2018
Citation: Stephen C. Russell, review of Elaine T. James, Landscapes of the Song of Songs: Poetry and Place, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).


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