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William Blake and the Myth of America

Format: Academic Monograph
Media: Hardback
PublisherCode: 9780198813279
Publisher: OUP Oxford

This volume tells the story of William Blake's literary reception in America, and studies its effect from the Abolitionists to the counterculture. It covers a range of forms, including prose, newspaper and periodical publication, the novel, music, theology, film, and visual art, with a special focus on American poetry. Blakean forms of bardic song, aphorism, prophecy, and lament became particularly relevant to a literary tradition which centralised the relationship between aspiration and experience. It argues that ideas about Blake's poetry and personality have been particularly important to America's sense of itself as a mythic and prophetic nation and its struggle with the ironies of new world symbolism as a land of the free and a site of possibility and redemption.

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