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The King James Bible after Four Hundred Years


  • 8 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 378 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.73 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 220.5/2038
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: BS186 .K56 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Bible.--English.--Authorized--History
    • Bible.--English.--Authorized--Influence

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521768276)

2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the Bible. No other book has been as vital to the development of English writing or indeed to the English language itself. This major collection of essays is the most complete one-volume exploration of the King James Bible and its influence to date. The chapters are written by leading scholars from a range of disciplines, who examine the creation of the King James Bible as a work of translation and as a linguistic and literary accomplishment. They consider how it differed from the Bible versions which preceded it, and assess its broad cultural impact and precise literary influence over the centuries of writing which followed, in English and American literature, until today. The story will fascinate readers who approach the King James Bible from the perspectives of literary, linguistic, religious or cultural history.

• Focuses on the reception history of the King James Bible and its cultural impact, rather than on its making - most available books on the King James Bible focus on how it was made rather than examining its profound and extensive influence • Brings together a wide range of experts reflecting a multitude of perspectives in order to provide the best one-volume sense of the King James Bible's literary-cultural impact • Explores in detail some of the most important canonical works of English and American literature influenced by the King James Bible


Introduction: the King James Bible and its reception history Hannibal Hamlin and Norman W. Jones; Part I. The Language of the King James Bible: 1. Language within language: King James' steamroller Stephen Prickett; 2. The glories and the glitches of the King James Bible: Ecclesiastes as test-case Robert Alter; Part II. The History of the King James Bible: 3. The materiality of English printed Bibles from the Tyndale New Testament to the King James Bible John N. King and Aaron T. Pratt; 4. Antwerp Bible translations in the King James Bible Gergely Juhász; 5. Philip Doddridge's New Testament: The Family Expositor (1739–56) Isabel Rivers; 6. Postcolonial notes on the King James Bible R. S. Sugirtharajah; 7. From monarchy to democracy: the dethroning of the King James Bible in the United States Paul C. Gutjahr; Part III. Literature and the King James Bible: 8. Milton, anxiety, and the King James Bible Jason P. Rosenblatt; 9. Bunyan's biblical progresses Hannibal Hamlin; 10. Romantic transformations of the King James Bible: Wordsworth, Shelley, Blake Adam Potkay; 11. Ruskin and his contemporaries reading the King James Bible Michael Wheeler; 12. To the Lighthouse and biblical language James Wood; 13. The King James Bible as ghost in Absalom, Absalom! and Beloved Norman W. Jones; 14. The King James Bible and African American literature Katherine Clay Bassard; 15. Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Smart, and the 'gifts' of the King James Bible Heather Walton; Chronology of major English Bible translations to 1957; Chronology of English Bible translations since 1957; King James Bible bibliographies: I. The King James Bible: its background, history, and reception; II. The literary-cultural influence of the King James Bible.


'A distinguished list of contributors provide an absorbing authoritative account of the reception of the 1611 Bible and its continuing effect on modern literature.' Frank Kermode

'This is a superb collection of essays, at once an essential introduction to crucial aspects of the King James version and a magnificent spur to further thought.' David Norton, Victoria University of Wellington

'The history of the KJB after it escaped King James's England and Scotland is exhilaratingly explored by the essayists captained by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones, who scrutinise it severally from linguistic, historical and literary perspectives.' Diarmaid MacCulloch, London Review of Books

'An outstanding collection of new essays.' BBC History Magazine

'… a meticulous, scholarly treatment of [the King James Bible's] cultural resonance …' Observer

'Impressive … Edited collections are infamously chaotic … This one is comprehensive, coherent and a credit to Hamlin and Jones. It looks at the details but allows many broader themes to emerge.' Catholic Herald

'[A] rewarding collection of essays … Readers can expect to make countless gains in their knowledge and understanding of the KJB.' Around the Globe


Hannibal Hamlin, Norman W. Jones, Stephen Prickett, Robert Alter, John N. King, Aaron T. Pratt, Gergely Juhász, Isabel Rivers, R. S. Sugirtharajah, Paul C. Gutjahr, Jason P. Rosenblatt, Adam Potkay, Michael Wheeler, James Wood, Katherine Clay Bassard, Heather Walton

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