Wheel within wheel: the Mystics of William Blake

Hanlon, Barry (2004) Wheel within wheel: the Mystics of William Blake. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In the following thesis, titled "'Wheel within Wheel': The Mystics of William Blake," I discuss William Blake's writing with respect to the debate over whether Blake's poetry and prose is most aptly described as predominantly engaging in the mystical or the visionary. I dispute the interpretation that Blake's works are visionary in opposition to the mystical. Instead, I claim that the visionary analysis of Blake's writing is founded on an exclusionary understanding of the mystical. Moreover, if we take into account the various explications of the mystical and the visionary, then we see that Blake's poetry and prose exhibits characteristics of both the mystical and the visionary. Thus, it is necessary to give an overview of Blake criticism stretching back nearly a century. In doing so, we observe how the critical debate developed over whether Blake is pursuing the mystical or the visionary. Furthermore, it becomes evident that this debate centers on a singular understanding of these terms. An exposition of other interpretations of the mystical and the visionary demonstrates that Blake's works cannot be labeled as either mystical or visionary. Finally, I briefly discuss Blake's final epic, Jerusalem, to illustrate how Blake's writing displays characteristics of both the mystical and the visionary. The conclusion leaves room for further study and research in terms of reading Blake's works with an eye for both the mystical and the visionary and therefore not focusing on one to the exclusion of the other.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10612
Item ID: 10612
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 90-93.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 2004
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Mysticism in literature; Vision in literature.

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