Blake, ethics, and forgiveness by Jeanne Moskal

By Jeanne Moskal

  For the final twenty years, students who focus on the poetry and paintings of William Blake have under pressure the formal and historic dimensions of his aesthetic theories and practices. Such an emphasis neglects the moral commitments that tell his paintings. fundamental between those moral commitments is Blake’s passionate advocacy of forgiveness among humans as a way to resolve the matter of human evil, an advocacy that turns out to contradict Blake’s assertions that moral legislation create the appearance of human evil and hire the concept that of “forgiveness” completely to augment the phrases of the unique oppression.             Blake, Ethics, and Forgiveness makes a speciality of a tremendous and pervasive factor present in the paintings of the English Romantic visionary poet, engraver, and mystic William Blake. It treats the ethical and literary challenge of representing moral or human forgiveness, as specified from the divine forgiveness of humans.  

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Levinas proposes an important qualification of the view of the disclosure of the other presupposed by Heidegger and Buber. 10 Levinas critiques as "totalizing" that mode of consciousness which seeks to reduce the exteriority of the Page 6 other. Irigaray raises the question of the autonomy and genderedness of the other: Is the other merely another version of the self? For the purposes of Blake, the questions raised by Levinas and Irigaray provide an alternative point of view on the ethics of the latter half of Blake's life, particularly the vision of the self that he creates.

Cm. ) and index.  Title. 7dc20 93-11799 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available Page v For Larry Page vii Contents List of Illustrations ix A Note on References xi Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 1 1. Forgiveness "Written Within & Without" Law 12 2. Error and Forgiveness 48 3. States and Individuals 69 4. Alterity and the Spectre of Urthona 104 5. Forgiveness in "The House of the Interpreter" 136 Conclusion: Forgiveness and Literary Form 169 Notes 179 Selected Bibliography 205 Index 215 Page ix Illustrations Figure 1.

But in Niebuhr's formulation, since those two evils need not be the same evil, the otherness of the other is maintained. Thus for Niebuhr, the identification with the other goes only so far as the recognition that self and other both do evil, though our specific vices may differ. Forgiveness serves as an occasion of recognizing othernessa step Blake takes with great ambivalence and reluctance. The central irony of Blake's emerging concerns with friendship and for- Page 10 giveness in the second half of his career is that his mythology increasingly led him to formulations that minimize or deny altogether the intractable otherness of other human beings.

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