A Dictionary of Literary Symbols (2001) by Michael Ferber

By Michael Ferber

This is often the 1st dictionary of symbols to be in line with literature, instead of "universal" pyschological archetypes, myths or esoterica. Michael Ferber has assembled approximately 2 hundred major entries truly explaining and illustrating the literary symbols that all of us stumble upon (such as swan, rose, moon, gold), besides 1000s of cross-references and quotations. The dictionary concentrates on English literature, yet its entries diversity greatly from the Bible and classical authors to the 20th century, taking in American and ecu literatures. Its knowledgeable type and wealthy references will make this ebook a necessary software not just for literary and classical students, yet for all scholars of literature.

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Theocritus said Eros is like a bee, so small yet able to make so great a wound (Idylls 19). The two-sidedness of bees, producers of honey and stings, made them good symbols of love. That Melissa or similar terms were common girls’ names made the symbol almost inevitable. A fragment of Sappho reads: “[I want] neither honey nor honeybee” (frag. ” Lyly’s Euphues has “The bee that hath honey in her mouth, hath a sting in her tail” (79). ” It is erotic, but also aesthetic: the bee is also the Muses’ bee.

He also distinguishes it from the cockatrice, which has legs and wings and a comb like a cock! A secondary sense of “basilisk,” as the name of a large cannon, arose in the sixteenth century. 14–17). 19 Bat Bat Until they are examined closely, the most notable features of bats are that they fly at night (though they are visible only at twilight), utter a thin squeak, and often dwell in caves. Though Aristotle knew they were mammals, most ancients took them as a kind of bird. 33), Milton lists “owls, bats, and such fatal birds” (Eikonoklastes, sec.

Polixenes demands, “Make me not sighted like the basilisk. 196–98). ” In his paraphrase of this passage Pope restores “basilisk”: “The smiling Infant in his Hand shall take / The crested Basilisk and speckled Snake: / Pleas’d, the green Lustre of the scales survey, / And with their forky Tongue shall innocently play” (Messiah 81–84). 84–87). 7), in which he denies that it is the product of a cock’s egg and a reptile’s incubation, but credits its existence and most of its other attributes. He also distinguishes it from the cockatrice, which has legs and wings and a comb like a cock!

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