William Blake and the Productions of Time

1st Edition

Andrew M. Cooper

Published July 28, 2013
Reference - 362 Pages
ISBN 9781409444411 - CAT# Y240959


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Challenging the idea that a writer’s work reflects his experiences in time and place, Andrew M. Cooper locates the action of William Blake’s major illuminated books in the ahistorical present, an impersonal spirit realm beyond the three-dimensional self. Blake, Cooper shows, was a formalist who exploited eighteenth-century scientific and philosophical research on vision, sense, and mind for spiritual purposes. Through irony, dialogism, two-way syntax, and synesthesia, Blake extended and refined the prophetic method Milton forged in Paradise Lost to bring the performativity of traditional oral song and storytelling into print. Cooper argues that historicist attempts to place Blake’s vision in perspective, as opposed to seeing it for oneself, involve a deeply self-contradictory denial of his performativity as a poet-artist. Rather, Blake’s expansion of linear reading into a space of creative, self-conscious collaboration laid the basis for his lifelong critique of dualism in religion and science, and anticipated the non-Euclidean geometrics of twentieth-century Modernism.

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