The Traveller in the Evening - The Last Works of William Blake: The Last Works of William Blake

Paperback | November 26, 2007

byMorton D. PaleyAs told byMorton D. Paley

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There has never been a book about Blake's last period, from his meeting with John Linnell in 1818 to his death in 1827, although it includes some of his greatest works. In The Traveller in the Evening, Morton Paley argues that this late phase involves attitudes, themes, and ideas that areeither distinctively new or different in emphasis from what preceded them. After an introduction on Blake and his milieu during this period, Paley begins with a chapter on Blake's illustrations to Thornton's edition of Virgil. Paley relates these to Blake's complex view of pastoral, before proceeding to a history of the project, its near-abortion, and its fulfillment asBlake's one of greatest accomplishments as an illustrator. In Yah and His Two Sons the presentation of the divine, except where it is associated with art, is ambiguous where it is not negative. Paley takes up this separate plate in the context of artists's representations of the Laocoon that wouldhave been known to Blake, and also of what Blake would have known of its history from classical antiquity to his own time. Blake's Dante water colours and engravings are the most ambitious accomplishment of the last years of his life, and Paley shows that the problematic nature of some of thesepictures, with Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car as a main example, arises from Blake's own divided and sharply polarized attitude toward Dante's Comedy. The closing chapter, called 'Blake's Bible', is on the Bible-related designs and writings of Blake's last years. Paley discusses The Death of Abel (addressed to Lord Byron 'in the Wilderness') as a response to its literary forerunners, especially Gessner's Death of Abel and Byron's Cain. For the Jobengravings Paley shows how the border designs and the marginal texts set up a dialogue with the main illustrations unlike anything in Blake's Job water colours on the same subjects. Also included here are Blake's last pictorial work on a Biblical subject, The Genesis manuscript, and Blake's lastwriting on a Biblical text, his vitriolic comments on Thornton's translations of the Lord's Prayer.

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There has never been a book about Blake's last period, from his meeting with John Linnell in 1818 to his death in 1827, although it includes some of his greatest works. In The Traveller in the Evening, Morton Paley argues that this late phase involves attitudes, themes, and ideas that areeither distinctively new or different in emphasi...

Morton D. Paley is Emeritus Professor in the Department of English at the University of California at Berkeley. A well-known and widely-published critic on Romanticism, he received the Distinguished Scholar Award, Keats-Shelley Association of America in 2002, and a festschrift on Romanticism and Millenarianism, ed. Tim Fulford, was pu...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.71 inPublished:November 26, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199227616

ISBN - 13:9780199227617

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Dark Pastoral: Illustrations to Thornton#s iVirgil/i2. iYah and his Two Sons Satan and Adam/i3. 'In Equivoval Worlds Up and Down are Equivocal': Illustrations to iThe Divine Comedy/i4. 'Thou Readst Black Where I Read White': The Bible5. Supplementary Note: The Visionary HeadsBibliographyGeneral IndexIndex of Works by William Blake

Editorial Reviews

`Very few scholars other than Morton D. Paley would be capable of executing a project as complex as this, that is, one requiring simultaneously an intimate familiarity with both the literary and artistic traditions as they culminated in iJerusalem/i, and the intellectual facility to preventthe composite books from impinging upon an analysis devoted to the last works. Paley is able to view each of these texts individually in its own right and all collectively in order to illuminate the dimensions of Blake's creativity in his last decade.'Sheila A. Spector, The Wordsworth Circle