Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake

Princeton University Press
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This brilliant outline of Blake's thought and commentary on his poetry comes on the crest of the current interest in Blake, and carries us further towards an understanding of his work than any previous study. Here is a dear and complete solution to the riddles of the longer poems, the so-called "Prophecies," and a demonstration of Blake's insight that will amaze the modern reader. The first section of the book shows how Blake arrived at a theory of knowledge that was also, for him, a theory of religion, of human life and of art, and how this rigorously defined system of ideas found expression in the complicated but consistent symbolism of his poetry. The second and third parts, after indicating the relation of Blake to English literature and the intellectual atmosphere of his own time, explain the meaning of Blake's poems and the significance of their characters.
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About the author

Herman Northrop Frye was born in 1912 in Quebec, Canada. His mother educated him at home until the fourth grade. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied theology at Emmanuel College for several years and actually worked as a pastor before deciding he preferred the academic life. He eventually obtained his master's degree from Oxford, and taught English at the University of Toronto for more than four decades. Frye's first two books, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy of Criticism (1957) set forth the influential literary principles upon which he continued to elaborate in his numerous later works. These include Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, The Well-Tempered Critic, and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Frye died in 1991.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 4, 2013
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Pages
488
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ISBN
9781400847471
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"An unsurpassed account of the historical background — literary, cultural, and intellectual as well as political and social—against which Blake worked and to which he responded as engraver, painter, and poet." — English Language Notes.
For many years, William Blake was seen as a brilliant eccentric on the fringes of English literature and art. In the twentieth century, however, he came to be regarded as one of the greatest English poets and painters, one whose insights have profoundly influenced such thinkers as Nietzsche, Freud, and D. H. Lawrence.
In this volume, a leading Blake scholar shows how the political and social events and movements of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries influenced or inspired many of Blake's finest poems: "America," "Europe," "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," "The French Revolution," "Songs of Innocence and of Experience," "The Four Zoas," and numerous others. While Blake's poems can be read on many levels, this in-depth critical study demonstrates that much of the strange symbolism of this poetry represents a literary campaign against the political tyranny of the day.
For the third edition, David Erdman added much new material that came to light after the original publication of the book in 1954. Also included are over 30 illustrations, a Chronology, an Appendix of Additions and Revisions, and other materials. Written for students, scholars, and Blake specialists — anyone interested in the relationship of the poet's extraordinary symbolism and complex thought to the history of his own times — Erdman's meticulously documented study is the definitive treatment of this aspect of Blake's work and is unlikely to be superseded.
"For our sense of Blake in his own times we are indebted to David Erdman more than anyone else." — Times Literary Supplement.
Dover (1991) republication of the third (1977) edition of Blake: Prophet Against Empire: A Poet's Interpretation of the History of His Own Times, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1954.
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