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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acter Ahania Alicia Ostriker already apocalypse become Beulah Bible biblical Blake criticism Blake’s female Blake’s gender utopia Blake’s poetry Blake’s utopia Blake’s view commentators concept counterpart crucial Damrosch dark Daughters of Albion death di›erent di‡cult e›ective Elynittria Enion Enitharmon epic poems Eternity fallen existence fallen world Felpham female activity female characters feminist final Night Four Zoas fourfold gender equality gender interactivity heaven human ideas images important innocence jealousy Jerusalem Keri Davies Leutha Los’s Luvah major epics male and female male characters male-female reunion male-female togetherness mankind Milton and Ololon Milton Blake Muggletonians mythological negation negative Oothoon Palamabron Paradise passage passive patriarchal plate poetic positive prophecies prophetic radical Rahab reunited Revelation Rintrah Satan sexes sexual significant Spectre structure Swedenborgian sweet symbols Tharmas thee Theotormon thou tion Tirzah traditional Ulro Urizen Urthona utopian existence Vala Vala’s visionary Visions William Blake Wollstonecraft woman women