Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1700 to 1799: Book of thel to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

William Blake. British. 1789. Poetry. Book of Thel. Blake’s first mystical writing. Theme is death, redemption and eternity. Free verse. Prophetic book.

William Blake. British. 1789/94. Poetry. Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Omnipresence of divine love and sympathy vs. the power of evil. Innocence vs. experience. Dualistic thinking is characteristic of Blake.

Edmund Burke. British. 1790. Nonfiction. Reflections on the French Revolution. Urges reform rather than rebellion to correct social and political abuses. Thought the Glorious Revolution and American Revolutions were OK, because people were asserting their rights. Saw the French Revolution as breaking the framework of tradition altogether.

Immanuel Kant. German. 1790. Nonfiction. Critique of Judgment. Aesthetic philosophy. Believed that the representation of a thing in art demonstrated partial understanding of the “thing in itself.”

William Blake. British. 1790. Prose. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Attacks eighteenth-century Protestantism for reducing moral complexities to oversimplified formulas. Denies matter as reality, eternal damnation, and the right of authority. Doctrine of Contraries: Need “contraries” for progress.

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