Hands's Own Tamar: Sources, Coding, and Psychology
Type of DegreeThesis
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Elizabeth Hands published by subscription in 1789 her lone volume of poetry, The Death of Amnon. The title poem of this volume is a biblical verse paraphrase, a genre Hands used to validate herself as a poet as well as subtly, yet undeniably, subvert the patriarchal systems of both the bible and her own time. Comparing Hands’s poem to her two most probable source materials, the King James Bible and a translation of Flavius Josephus’s The Antiquities of the Jews, indicates that Hands made significant changes in the actions, characterization, and introduction of Tamar, the lone female in the tale. Through these changes, along with similar alterations to other characters in the tale, Hands created her own version of Tamar, and in doing so saved Tamar from victimization.