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.
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Subjects: Language & Literature
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