The Representation of the Female in William Blake Essay examples

The Representation of the Female in William Blake Essay examples

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The Representation of the Female in William Blake


If William Blake was, as Northrop Frye described him in his prominent book
Fearful Symmetry, "a mystic enraptured with incommunicable visions, standing
apart, a lonely and isolated figure, out of touch with his own age and without
influence on the following one" (3), time has proved to be the visionary's most
celebrated ally, making him one of the most frequently written about poets of
the English language. William Blake has become, in a sense, an institution.
"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and
Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human Existence," wrote Blake in The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Perhaps his most famous line, these words are the
connecting thread through all of Blake's work, from The Songs of Innocence and
Experience to Jerusalem. But what those words mean has been a point of
contention throughout the years. What does that mean for the Male and the Female
who are at the center of his work? If they are Contraries, then what does the
Female in Blake's work represent? Just what did Blake mean? And from where did
his ideas and perceptions spring?

In 1977 Susan Fox addressed these questions in her well-renowned essay "The
Female as Metaphor in William Blake's Poetry." As the first literary critic to
comment on Blake's inconsistencies in his treatment of the Female, Fox explores
the progression of the extended metaphor throughout the course of his career.
She explains that Blake's vision of the Contraries became more clear to him as
time went on; therefore, the contradiction lies in his earlier views of the
Female, identified with weakness and failure, and his later attempt to rescu...


... middle of paper ...


...cism 34 (1995): 255-270.

Ostriker, Alicia. "Desire Gratified and Ungratified: William Blake and
Sexuality." Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly 16 (1983): 156-165.

Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily
Dickinson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990: 270-299.

Pavy, Jeanne Adele. "A Blakean Model of Reading: Gender and Genre in William
Blake's Poetry." DAI 53 (1993):Emory University.

Storch, Margeret. Sons and Adversaries: Women in William Blake and D. H.
Lawrence. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.

Webster, Brenda. "Blake, Women, and Sexuality." Critical Paths: Blake and the
Argument of Method. Eds. Donald Ault, Mark Bracher, and Dan Miller. Durham and
London: Duke University Press, 1987: 204-224.

Wilkie, Brian. Blake's Thel and Oothoon. B. C. Canada: University of Victoria
Press, 1990.

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