WILLIAM BLAKE SCHOLARSHIP YUMMY BITS

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Mon Feb 26 00:31:41 MST 1996


Culture vultures, it's time to pull ourselves up out of the Maoist
muck and raise our sights once again.

I wanted to follow up on some loose and likely forgotten threads
on William Blake.  Not that I have the time for this, but I have
been reviewing Blake scholarship, using an invaluable reference
tool, THE ENGLISH ROMANTIC POETS: A REVIEW OF RESEARCH AND
CRITICISM, ed. by Frank Jordan, 4th ed., MLA, 1985.

First on Africa.  I read that "The Song of Los", which traces the
history of oppression and religious error from "heart-formed
Africa", was sorely neglected until David Erdman wrote "The
Symmetries of the Song of Los" (_Studies in Romanticism_, 1977).
Then there is James McCord's "Historical Dissonance and William
Blake's The Song Of Los" (_Colby Library Quarterly_, 1984).
Cecil Anthony Abrahams brings in the work of contemporary African
poets to elucidate the "Africa" segment of this poem as well as
"The Little Black Boy", "Visions of the Daughters of Albion", and
"other passages on slavery and racial stereotyping", in _William
Blake's Fourfold Man_ (1978).

"Angels out of the Sun: Art, Religion, and Politics in Blake's
America" by David E. James (_Studies in Romanticism_, 1977)
analyzes the contradictions between Blake's revolutionism and his
obscure writing and expensive publications, with an eye to Blake's
rejection of the division between mental and manual labor.

When Blake's birthday rolled around, I compiled some quotations
which I titled "William Blake Against Capital Accumulation".
Looks like I wasn't that far off.  Kurt Heinzelman treats of
Blake's reaction to British economic and monetary problems in _The
Economics of the Imagination_ (Amherst: University of
Massachusetts Press, c1980).

There are a few paragraphs on Marxist interpretations of Blake,
but these are the items that follow up on previous discussions
here and the ones most novel and interesting to me.

As John Lee Hooker once said, "I think I feel a little better
now."


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