Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake's Thought

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Overview

William Blake is usually regarded as the greatest poet of mysticism in the English language. His primary theme is love--love of God, love of the Divine Humanity that he often equated with God, and the sexual love that he regarded sometimes as a embodiment and sometimes as a parody of divine love. For Blake, love was not so much a virtue as a problem, a problem that he reassessed in different ways throughout his life, using a variety of logical tools. Love and logic may seem a unusual pair of concerns, especially for a visionary poet, but author Stephen Cox believes that in Blake's work the problems of love and logic evolve together, constantly influencing each other and determining the structure of the poet's vision. Scholars who have come to view Blake as a visionary whose work followed nonlinear processes have advanced the notion that his artistic achievement defies conventional interpretation. Love and Logic challenges the tendency in postmodern criticism to see authors and readers as confined by history, language, and logic, denied the ability to discover truth or to communicate it in determinate form. Love and Logic emphasizes Blake's ambitious quest for truth, his desire to keep telling the story of human and divine love until he got it right, using all the strategies of logic available to him. Cox points to what he sees as the irony of Blake's relationship to his postmodern admirers: although his goals and values are antithetical to theirs, he encounters grave difficulties when he handles logic in some of the ways in which they do. In this connection, Love and Logic's analysis of the the[sic] problems of logical "substantialism" is especially important. The analysis develops the idea that it is not logic itself but a particular way of using logic that produces an effect of logical self-imprisonment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472103041
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

References and Abbreviations
1 Visionary Logic 1
2 The Logic of Innocence 39
3 Contrasting Narratives 55
4 Attractions and Repulsions 69
5 Degenerative Dialectics 91
6 Essence and Limitation 113
7 The Double Plot 127
8 Logic on Logic Begets Logic 145
9 The Ruins of The Zoas 167
10 Love among the Ruins 183
11 Vertical and Horizontal 205
12 Multiples of Two 225
13 Love's Parodies 241
14 The Function of Flaws 255
15 The Logical Visionary 275
Notes 281
Works Cited 301
Index 311
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