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Poetic Form in Blake's MILTON

Poetic Form in Blake's MILTON

Susan Fox
Copyright Date: 1976
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Poetic Form in Blake's MILTON
    Book Description:

    Blake's two finished epics have been widely regarded as combinations of brilliant set pieces which yield to no systematic rhetorical criticism. Susan Fox contests this view, discovering inMiltonan elaborate verbal structure that is fully congruent with the poem's philosophy. She has made the first full exposition of the formal principles of a late Blake poem, and it suggests that the late prophecies are as profound in their artistic structures as they are in their thematic ones.

    The author begins by tracing throughout Blake's poetry the development of the techniques found inMilton. She then provides an analysis in two chapters organized, as she perceives the poem to be, in parallel three-part units. Her examination reveals the exhaustive parallelism of the poem's books, as well as more local devices such as paired stanzas and circular rhetoric. The rhetorical pattern which emerges raises several major thematic issues which are treated in the concluding chapter. In demonstrating the coherence and control of the intricate formal patterns ofMilton, this study provides a new measure of Blake's late verbal art.

    Originally published in 1976.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6848-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvi-2)
  6. I. Contexts
    (pp. 3-24)

    Throughout his poems William Blake attempted to reform established traditions;The Book of Thelis a revision of pastoral idealism,Europeof Milton’s theology,Jerusalemof everyone’s theology. The nature of Blake’s revision of conventional poetic techniques deserves particular attention, because exaggerations of his heterodoxy have encouraged even sympathetic readers to assume that his prophetic poems have no coherent structural frameworks.The Four Zoas, Milton, andJerusalemhave been considered brilliant collections of set pieces in random or at best indecipherably subjective orders; their supposed randomness has even been elevated to the ranks of their principal virtues. A close study...

  7. II. Hammer
    (pp. 26-126)

    The Preface that introducesMiltonappears only in the earliest two of the four texts of the poem Blake engraved. It begins with a prose polemic against imperfect art which, in its relentless anger, bears a subtly contradictory relationship to the text of the poem. Blake decries those whose art springs not from inspiration but from imitative exercise, warning against “a Class of Men whose delight is in Destroying.” His anger is justified as a purgation of all that is false and perverted, not as an end to be desired but as a necessary means to the achievement of pure...

  8. III. Loom
    (pp. 127-192)

    In the progress of Book I from bardic urgency to visionary eloquence we have charted a journey from the environs of Eden through Ulro to Golgonooza. Book II charts a parallel journey, but one of a very different character: beginning in Beulah, it passes through Ulro not to a theoretical state of pure vision, but to a particular garden in a particular region of England. Even the conception of Ulro is different in the second book: Milton passes through a whirlpool and through seas of time and space—images of cosmic abstraction; Ololon passes through the polypus, the sum of...

  9. IV. Contraries and Progression
    (pp. 194-222)

    The hammer and loom perform the same function. Together they create the form and substance of fallen humanity. They are forces not only parallel, not only equal, not only complementary, but absolutely necessary to each other. The hammer created Urizen, the loom Satan—but Satan is Urizen: without the weaving of Satan into flesh the hammering of Urizen into bone is useless. Without both these functions, which together realize eternal humanity in time, Urizen/Satan and with him Albion would fall forever into Ulro.

    The interinvolvement of hammer and loom epitomizes the necessary mutuality of all the contraries of whichMilton...

  10. APPENDIX A: Illuminations and Structure
    (pp. 223-232)
  11. APPENDIX B: Revisions and Structure
    (pp. 233-238)
  12. Index
    (pp. 239-242)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 243-243)