William Blake: Modernity and Disaster
William Blake: Modernity and Disaster explores the work of the Romantic writer, artist, and visionary William Blake as a profoundly creative response to cultural, scientific, and political revolution. In the wake of such anxieties of discovery, including the revolution in the life sciences, Blake’s imagination – often prophetic, apocalyptic, and deconstructive – offers an inside view of such tumultuous and catastrophic change.
A hybrid of text and image, Blake’s writings and illuminations offer a disturbing and productive exception to accepted aesthetic, social, and political norms. Accordingly, the essays in this volume, reflecting Blake’s unorthodox perspective, challenge past and present critical approaches in order to explore his oeuvre from multiple perspectives: literary studies, critical theory, intellectual history, science, art history, philosophy, visual culture, and psychoanalysis. Covering the full range of Blake’s output from the shorter prophecies to his final poems, the essays in William Blake: Modernity and Disaster predict the discontents of modernity by reading Blake as a prophetic figure alert to the ends of history. His legacy thus provides a lesson in thinking and living through the present in order to ask what it might mean to envision a different future, or any future at all.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 352 pages
- Illustrations: 9
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
"William Blake: Modernity and Disaster is an excellent and extensive collection of essays that will be much used in Blake scholarship and beyond. The volume ranges across many different aspects of Blake’s life, work, and writings, and covers an astonishing array of topics: science, the visual, affect, modernity, religion, and many more. This heterogeneity speaks to the richness of Blake’s interests and works, which the scholars assembled here illuminate from a myriad of angles."
Alexander Regier, Department of English, Rice University
"William Blake: Modernity and Disaster offers perspectives on Blake that resist the recuperative strain that has always dominated Blake scholarship, and, in several essays, present Blake’s engagement with the sciences in richer, more complex ways than we’ve seen."
Karen Swann, Professor Emerita, Department of English, Williams College
Author InformationTilottama Rajan is a Canada Research Chair and distinguished university professor at Western University, the former Director of its Centre for Theory and Criticism, and the founder of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism.
Joel Faflak is professor of English and Theory at Western University, where he was also the Inaugural Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: From Prophecy to Disaster
Tilottama Rajan and Joel Faflak
1. Primitive Arts and Sciences and the Body of Knowledge in Blake’s Epics
2. System(s), Body, Corpus: The Autogenesis of Blake’s Lambeth Books
3. “Second Birth” and Gothic Fictions in Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, Catherine Blake’s “Agnes,” and William Blake’s Vala or The Four Zoas
4. Blake’s Milton and the Disaster of Psychoanalysis
5. Blake’s Blush: Wartime Shame in “London” and Jerusalem
6. Blake’s Nervous System: Hypochondria, Judaism, and Jerusalem
7. Forgiving Blake’s Disaster: The Changing Face(s) of Science and “Govern-mentalized” Bodies of Knowledge
8. Laboring With/In Disaster: Blake’s Workless Work in Jerusalem
9. Nothing Lost: Blake and the New Materialism
10. Blake’s Decomposite Art: On the Image of Language and the Ruins of Representation
David L. Clark
11. Flea Trouble
Subjects and Courses