The origins of the present work lie in my unpublished doctoral dissertation (1973, on Isa 1-66) of which a considerable section dealt with poetic devices and, in part, with poetic technique. My interest in poetry since led to extensive reading in literary criticism, particularly studies with a linguistic approach. The impetus for actually writing a book came from Dr John Gibson while I was at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh.
Watson - Classical Hebrew Poetry
Whether consciously or not the model I have followed in my presentation has been Geoffrey Leech's A linguistic guide to English poetry, an invaluable beginner's textbook. This is apparent from the term 'Guide' common to both works and is even more evident from my basic layout. Like Leech I use worked examples throughout, aim at providing clear explanations of technical points, list passages for private study and give individual bibliographies for each topic.
Of course I do not agree with Leech on every point, notably on hyperbole, but in the main his Guide has been mine, too. This book is intended principally for readers with a good working knowledge of classical Hebrew. Some acquaintance at least with either Ugaritic or Akkadian (or both, of course) is preferable but not expected. To a certain extent, also, the book can be used by someone conversant with none of these languages since translations are always provided.
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