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Blake and the City

Jennifer Davis Michael (English, 1989)

Though usually classified as a Romantic, Blake subverts and dissolves the binaries on which Romanticism turns: self and other, art and nature, country and city. Rather than reject city outright like many of his contemporaries, Blake embraces it as the intricate workshop of human imagination. Each chapter of this book focuses on a specific text of Blake's that illustrates a particular conception of metaphorical embodiment of the city. These shifting metaphors emphasize the construction of all human environments and the need for imaginative labor to build and interpret them. This study seeks to bridge a gap between "transcendent" and "historicist" readings of Blake while at the same time challenging assumptions that still colour our view of the city in the twenty-first century.

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