William Blake and Gender
The closing years of the eighteenth century were the particular domain of literary radicals whose work challenged ideas on gender and sexuality. During this transitional period, the poetry of William Blake reflected the changing mores of society as well as his own developing notions of gender. This work presents an in-depth exploration of gender issues in Blake's three epic poems, The Four Zoas, Milton and Jerusalem. The opening chapter discusses basic concepts such as notions of apocalypse, utopia and gender, all essential to the author's reading of Blake. Background regarding the literary atmosphere of the time, which included influence from the tradition of dissent, English Jacobinism and early feminism, is also included, effectively setting the context for Blake's work. The book then examines the poems in chronological order. It concentrates particularly on male and female activity within each work (refuting the common assumption that Blake was anti-feminist) while exploring the symbolism of the poetry. Blake's repeated theme of the struggle between the sexes receives special emphasis, as does the progress of his gender vision through the three poems.
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2Blakes Radical Context
3The Gender Utopia of The Four Zoas
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activity Ahania Albion already apocalypse appears beauty become beginning Beulah Bible Blake Blake's poetry Book of Revelation calls commentators complete concept continues counterpart course create critics crucial dark Daughters death descends describe desire early earth Eden emanation Enion Enitharmon epic equality Eternity evidence example existence expression fact fall fallen world female characters feminist final Four Zoas further gender equality gender utopia give hand heaven human ideas images important indicated influence innocence interactivity Jerusalem live London lost Luvah major male and female male-female mankind Milton natural negative Night Ololon passage plate poem positive prophecies radical reason relation represent reunion reunited Satan seems sexes sexual significant society song Spectre structure symbols Tharmas thee thing thou tion togetherness traditional Urizen Urthona Vala Visions whole woman women writes