Blake's Critique of Transcendence: Love, Jealousy, and the Sublime in The Four Zoas

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Blake's Critique of Transcendence is the first full-length book to examine in any detail or consistency the relation between Blake's text and the visual designs in The Four Zoas, one of the most important works in Blake's oeuvre. It uncovers a Blake deeply engaged with the cultural discoursesof his time, in profound dialogue with Swedenborg, Locke, and Young. In the course of this conversation, Blake anatomizes a remarkable variety of cultural practices (including religion, science, and art) designed to achieve transcendence. He focuses in particular on the fate of the body in culturesof transcendence, developing perhaps the first theory of sexual sublimation. Blake's radical visual and verbal strategies in this poem are part of an attempt to defer the movement of transcendence, long enough for the reader to see the warring elements of the fallen world as the dismembered body ofhumanity.

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Blake Blake Criticism and the Sublime
Rational Heavens and Carnal Hells
The Birth of Loss from Tharmas

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About the author (2000)

Peter Otto is Senior Lecturer in English, University of Melbourne

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