- Format: eBook
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-2196-7
- Publisher: Manchester University Press
- Published Date: April 2018
- BIC Category: Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literature & literary studies / General, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Scholars of the Gothic have long recognised Blake's affinity with the genre. Yet, to date, no major scholarly study focused on Blake's intersection with the Gothic exists. William Blake's gothic imagination seeks to redress this disconnect. The papers here do not simply identify Blake's Gothic conventions but, thanks to recent scholarship on affect, psychology, and embodiment in Gothic studies, reach deeper into the tissue of anxieties that take confused form through this notoriously nebulous historical, aesthetic, and narrative mode. The collection opens with papers touching on literary form, history, lineation, and narrative in Blake's work, establishing contact with major topics in Gothic studies. Then refines its focus to Blake's bloody, nervous bodies, through which he explores various kinds of Gothic horror related to reproduction, anatomy, sexuality, affect, and materiality. Rather than transcendent images, this collection attends to Blake's 'dark visions of torment'.
'These essays investigate how Blake's major texts-e.g., Jerusalem, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, The [First] Book of Urizen, and Visions of the Daughters of Albion-arose in conjunction with the Gothic novel in English literature. Addressing a little-recognized facet of Blake studies, the collection examines Blake's works from aesthetic, architectural, and political Gothic perspectives. A lucid and accessible introduction precedes the essays, which will stretch nonspecialist readers. Several essays focus on Blake's visual content: David Baulch's entry reads Gothic iconography in the illustrations of Blake's Jerusalem, and Jason Whittaker analyzes Blakean references in films by Ridley Scott, with an emphasis on Prometheus. Peter Otto finds the political and social upheavals of Gothic novels to be similarly contained in Blake's monstrous present with horrified reactions to the alien bodies in The Book of Urizen. Other essays address philosophical readings of Blake's Deleuzian multiplicity and his counter-Kantian sublime with sophisticated subtlety. This collection is not for the fainthearted, but neither is Blake. Psychological, mythological, and sociological, this collection will draw the reader into the many layers of Blake's verbal and visual media.'
C. L. Bandish, Bluffton University
'William Blake's Gothic Imagination is more than it promises to be - a 'major scholarly study focused on Blake's intersections with the Gothic' - it is a landmark in Blake scholarship. While many of us may be familiar with Blake's popular reception, reading Blake's art through the lens of the Gothic is a relatively new and rewarding critical undertaking.'
Sibylle Erle Bishop Grosseteste University, British Association of Romantic Studies