Blake’s Altruistic Plate


KAYLOR Michael Matthew SCHÖFROVÁ Ivona

Year of publication 2018
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Given its striking differences from the others in William Blake’s creation tale The First Book of Urizen (1794), Plate 26, which is connected to the poetic line “The dog at the wintry door,” has proven a lasting challenge for literary and art scholarship. Our poster provides a novel reading of that plate, contextualizing it within both Urizen and Blake’s similar illuminated books, and suggesting its role within a uniquely Romantic blending of the Satanic and the Humanistic. While Urizen’s other plates provide a lush, sometimes horrifying, display of hellfire and Titanic forces, this plate abounds with a minimalistic realism and content seemingly more appropriate to Blake’s earlier Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789) than to Urizen. Despite its anomalous features, Plate 26 is the crucial plate for which the rest provide an elaborate frame, and it displays a Blake concerned with present conditions rather than how the universe began.
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