Fierce Rushing: William Blake and the Cultural Politics of Liberty in the 1790s

in William Blake and the Impossible History of the 1790s

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226502595
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226502618 | DOI:
Fierce Rushing: William Blake and the Cultural Politics of Liberty in the 1790s

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This chapter examines the relevance of the works of William Blake to the cultural politics of liberty in England during the 1790s. It analyzes several passages in his America: A Prophecy and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and suggests that Blake was able to develop a very powerful critique of the epistemological and conceptual basis of the dominant radical agenda in his illuminated books. This chapter also argues that Blake's interest in antinomian tradition provided him with a set of concepts with which to contest the cultural and political primacy of the individual and to produce a conception of freedom that went far beyond the narrow scope of liberty sanctioned by the hegemonic radical position.

Keywords: William Blake; cultural politics; liberty; England; America: A Prophecy; The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; illuminated books; antinomian tradition; freedom

Chapter.  26874 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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