Literature and Poverty: From the Hebrew Bible to the Second World War

1st Edition

David Aberbach

Routledge
January 28, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 310 Pages
ISBN 9780367132736 - CAT# K407218

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Summary

Literature and Poverty offers an engaging overview of changes in literary perceptions of poverty and the poor.  Part One of the book, from the Hebrew Bible to the French Revolution, provides essential background information.  It introduces the Scriptural ideal of the ‘holy poor’ and the process by which biblical love of the poor came to be contested and undermined in European legislation and public opinion as capitalism grew and the State took over from the Church; Part Two, from the French Revolution to the Second World War, shows how post-1789 problems of industrialization, population growth, war and urbanization come to dominate much European literature, as poverty and the poor became central concerns of major writers such as Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and Hugo.   

David Aberbach uses literature – from the Bible, through Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Zola, Pushkin and Orwell – to show how poverty changed from being an endemic and unavoidable fact of life, to a challenge for equality that might be attainable through a moral and rational society. As a literary and social history of poverty, this book argues for the vital importance of literature and the Arts in understanding current problems in International Development.

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