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Scrolls of LoveRuth and the Song of Songs$
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Peter S. Hawkins and Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225712

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225712.001.0001

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Honey and Milk Underneath Your Tongue: Chanting a Promised Land

Honey and Milk Underneath Your Tongue: Chanting a Promised Land

(p.306) Honey and Milk Underneath Your Tongue: Chanting a Promised Land
Scrolls of Love

Jacqueline Osherow

Fordham University Press

Walter Pater said that music is the highest art because in it, form is indistinguishable from content. What the Song of Songs demonstrates is that poetry can achieve the same indivisibility. Not only does the poetic hold wildly varied elements together, it interchanges them through the sheer force of its sounds. The exhilaration set off by a poem that insists on including every aspect of the known world—architecture, landscape, animals, plants, arts and crafts—is achieved through the music that so effortlessly makes them not only belong together, but be one another. The author's confusion as he chanted turned out to be an introduction to poetic meaning of the most profound sort. It dares people to believe it means what they suspect it means. This may well be the secret of its erotic power, the way it forces people to engage their own erotic imaginations.

Keywords:   Song of Songs, form, content, poetry, poetic meaning, erotic power

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