The great expositors of Blake and those who have followed in their footsteps have clarified the most minute particulars of Blake's vision. Now, in the place of traditional exegesis, comes a significantly new set of critical problems and interpretive methods. In this volume of essays, the major shift in Blake studies, already under way in practice, is addressed, gauged, analyzed, and debated.The contributors assembled here, leading exponents of contemporary critical methods as well as close students of Blake, argue the grounds, purposes, and validity of each approach and then apply its method in detailed readings of Blake's works. We see deconstruction, psychoanalytic interpretation, feminist critique, semiotic analysis, Marxist criticism, revisionism, and other methods brought to bear on Blake's texts and into confrontation with one another by those best able to do so.
Through the essays themselves and in the reaction they will certainly provoke, Critical Paths will bring increased theoretical awareness to the study of Blake and will further the ongoing redefinition of Blake's art. At the same time, the collection investigates the general problem of methodology in literary studies by means of a casebook examination of modern critical approaches. Blake criticism and current literary theory here come together; the encounter illuminates and enriches both.
Illustrations ix Key to References xi Acknowledgments xiii Introduction / Dan Miller 1 Methods and Limitations / Stephen D. Cox 19 Synecdoche and Method / Hazard Adams 41 Blake's Revisionism: Gnostic Interpretation and Critical Methodology / William Dennis Horn 72 Literal/Tiriel/Material / Nelson Hilton 99 Blake's De-Formation of Neo-Aristotelianism / Donald Ault 111 Blake and the Deconstructive Interlude / Dan Miller 139 Rouzing the Faculties: Lacanian Psychoanalysis and the Marriage of Heaven and Hell in the Reader / Mark Bracher 168 Blake, Women, and Sexuality / Brenda S. Webster 204 Blake's Feminist Revision of Literary Tradition in "The SICK ROSE" / Elizabeth Langland 225 Representations of Revolution: From The French Revolution to The Four Zoas / David Aers 244 "in vain the Eloquent tongue": An Un-Reading of VISIONS of the Daughters of Albion / Thomas A. Vogler 271 Afterword / David Wagenknecht 310 Notes 329 Index 369 Contributors 381