The image of Moses as the Messiah in A. Burgess’s poem “Moses: A Narrative”


This article deals with the problem of messianism in modern literature, analyzes the structure of the messianic narrative, especially its functions in Anthony Burgess`s poem “Moses: A Narrative”. Messianism is presented in the poem in three aspects: messianic image, messianic plot, and messianic narrative. Messianic plot is directly connected with the Bible. King James Bible had a great influence on A. Burgess, however, undoubtedly there were many other sources behind him. In Burgess`s work, the messianic narrative is justified by the method of narration. The author uses a form of rhythmic prose in order to bring the text of the poem closer to the biblical narrative. Thus, A. Burgess seeks to convey a picture of what is happening as close to the original as possible. This research interprets the image of Moses in A. Burgess’s book “Moses: A Narrative”. In Burgess's poem one can observe the transformation of the image of the prophet. Burgess aims to individualize Moses, to see his human qualities, without denying his mission. The image of the protagonist is shown in the system of secondary characters, such as Miriam, Aaron, Mernefta, and the Princess Bithiah whose main function is to emphasize the unique qualities of the prophet.

Key words: 

English literature of the twentieth century, messianism, messianic narrative, image of Moses, Anthony Burgess.

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