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Exuberance is Beauty: A study of William Blake's Visionary Aesthetics

By Georgia P. Dimitrakopoulou

Abstract

All figures have been removed from the archived copy of this thesis due to copyright reasons. The definitive version can be viewed at the David Wilson Library.\ud Erratum: In Chapter 3.2 and the Bibliography the author of ‘William Blake and the Daughters of Albion’, London: Macmillan, 1997, has been incorrectly recorded as Burder, Helen P. The correct author name is Bruder, Helen P.The thesis examines William Blake's 'aesthetic theory' by referring to the basic aesthetic categories of the sublime, the beautiful and the ugly. The argument of the thesis is that William Blake's sublime is the human imagination which he identifies with Jesus. However, the Blakean sublime contains the concept of beauty which is found in pure energy and intellect. There are two different aspects of the Blakean sublime. The first is the 'Sublime of Imagination' and the other is the 'negative sublime' (as Weiskel, Thomas defined it). The 'Sublime of Imagination' is a positive worldview and the 'negative sublime', which is reason, represents the subversion of the prophetic vision. Reason, impure energy, intellectual inactivity, nature and the spectre are the components of the aesthetic category of the ugly. In The Ancient Britons Blake established his aesthetic theory by referring to three different types of men: The Strong man who represents the human sublime. The Beautiful man who represents the human pathetic and the Ugly man who represents the human reason. In\ud The Book of Thel, he presents his views on the beauty of women. Blake describes imagination, the sublime, the beautiful and the ugly by drawing from his idea of true religion thus, creating his true art. Therefore, the thesis is an aesthetics of religion and art

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/8239
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