English Literature Resources

Date Published: Sunday, 20 March 2011

One of the exciting aims of the King James Bible Trust is to re-introduce this historic text to a generation who no longer even recognise its echoes in the books they read and the culture they live in.

Andrew Motion and others have argued that not to be familiar with the Bible impoverishes people’s comprehension and enjoyment of art, music and literature. But where to begin – especially in a culture of ‘now’, of instant access demands by time poor users, where there is seemingly no leisure to get to grips with a stimulating, but challenging text like the King James Bible?

Well, for starters, you can read as much or as little of this profound book as you chose on your i-phone (or similar), where it is presented in a handy to read format at m.crossref-it.info/bible. With a parallel modern translation from Today’s New International Version (TNIV) you can enjoy the majesty of the Jacobean text alongside its modern interpretation.

Many people are not quite sure how to even approach the Bible. What kind of a text is it? In fact it is a whole collection of different styles of writing which has inspired authors and artists ever since. Anyone studying, or teaching, literature for examination needs to be aware of its impact, whilst leisure readers will just find they get so much more out of each text when they make the connections.

How? Well, a handy (free) resource has been developed at www.crossref-it.info. There you will find that everything you need to make sense of the biblical and other cultural allusions which run through the English literary canon:

  • Handy pop-ups throughout the site explain religious, classical and literary terms
  • Under Browse A – Z are databases of well-known phrases, literary titles, stories and themes from the Bible
  • Whenever the texts covered on site allude to it, the verses from the KJB (parallelled by the TNIV) are available at a click
  • The Impact of the Bible section contains information about the cultural influence of the Bible, whilst Investigating the Bible explains how it came into being and can be made sense of.

As the King James Bible Trust makes clear, the Bible is the text which provides continuity throughout English literature. It links the world which has shaped Attwood, Heaney and Shaffer, as well as that of Hardy, Shelley and Shakespeare. It is a profound, poetic text in its own right, having shaped a mindset that has formed the backbone of British culture.

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