English Literature

Blake, Myth, and Enlightenment: The Politics of Apotheosis by David Fallon

By David Fallon

This ebook presents compelling new readings of William Blake’s poetry and artwork, together with the 1st sustained account of his visionary work of Pitt and Nelson. It makes a speciality of the recurrent motif of apotheosis, either as a determine of political authority to be demystified but in addition as a picture of utopian probability. It reevaluates Blake’s dating to Enlightenment notion, delusion, faith, and politics, from The French Revolution to Jerusalem and The Laocoön. The booklet combines cautious consciousness to cultural and old contexts with shut readings of the texts and designs, supplying an cutting edge account of Blake’s artistic differences of Enlightenment, classical, and Christian thought.

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1 From March 1782, Barry was Professor of Painting, before his ignominious expulsion in April 1799 due to his outspoken criticism of the Academy and concerns over his radical politics. His first lecture in 1784, ‘On the History and Progress of the Art’, included a narrative of how primitive man’s originally pure religious impulse became corrupted. The primary form of idolatry, Sabaism, was the worship of the heavenly bodies, which became supplemented by apotheosis. After a deluge that destroyed the Atlantides, the inhabitants of Atlantis, and separated America from the rest of the world, ‘Ouranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and the other mortals’ were deified ‘by the transfer and identifying of them with the heavens, the sun and planets’.

1 From March 1782, Barry was Professor of Painting, before his ignominious expulsion in April 1799 due to his outspoken criticism of the Academy and concerns over his radical politics. His first lecture in 1784, ‘On the History and Progress of the Art’, included a narrative of how primitive man’s originally pure religious impulse became corrupted. The primary form of idolatry, Sabaism, was the worship of the heavenly bodies, which became supplemented by apotheosis. After a deluge that destroyed the Atlantides, the inhabitants of Atlantis, and separated America from the rest of the world, ‘Ouranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and the other mortals’ were deified ‘by the transfer and identifying of them with the heavens, the sun and planets’.

Blake was often sceptical of claims by individuals to represent the people. (E620) Blake conceives of his work as salutary correction. This book will engage with Blake’s politics in the broader sense of the constitution of ‘Every Body’ and the representation of ‘the people’. 88 Blake would have been wary of Aristotle’s valorisation of the citizen and state as ‘natural’, but this notion of politics is helpful when examining his fascination with modes of social organisation and the ways in which the nation and ‘the people’ were constituted and represented.

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