Dangerous Enthusiasm: William Blake and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s

Dangerous Enthusiasm: William Blake and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s

by Jon Mee
     
 

William Blake's work presents a stern challenge to historical criticism. Jon Mee's study meets that challenge by investigating contexts outside the domain of standard literary histories. He traces the distinctive rhetoric of the illuminated books to the French Revolution controversy of the 1790s and Blake's fusion of the diverse currents of radicalism abroad in

Overview

William Blake's work presents a stern challenge to historical criticism. Jon Mee's study meets that challenge by investigating contexts outside the domain of standard literary histories. He traces the distinctive rhetoric of the illuminated books to the French Revolution controversy of the 1790s and Blake's fusion of the diverse currents of radicalism abroad in that decade. Dangerous Enthusiasm presents a more comprehensively politicized picture of Blake than any previous study. It is supported by a wealth of original research which will be of interest to historians and literary critics alike. Blake emerges from these pages as a "bricoleur" who fused the language of London's popular dissenting culture with the more skeptical radicalism of the Enlightenment. His prophetic books are shown to be less the expressions of isolated genius than the products of a complex response to the cultural politics of his contemporaries.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mee's study is impressive....Mee's accumulation of materials is compelling....The way Mee's study amasses disparate textual materials, opens up Blake's intellectual concerns to the world around him, and brings his poetic out of political and social isolation is brilliant."—Studies in Romanticism

"Mee's study is one of the most successful we have to date. He elegantly paces Blake's poetry and designs within late eighteenth-century radical culture, but eschews any attempt to fix Blake's art to precise historical moments."—Literature and History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198183297
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/28/1994
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.74(d)

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