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WITHOUT CONTRARIES IS NO PROGRESSION: STUDY OF AMERICA A PROPHECY AND EUROPE A PROPHECY POEMS AS REPRESENTATIONS OF THE COMPLEMENTARY CONTRARIES IN WILLIAM BLAKE´S WORK

Grant number: 10/09636-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2010
Effective date (End): August 31, 2011
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Modern Foreign Literatures
Principal Investigator:Alcides Cardoso dos Santos
Grantee:Alex Soares Rios
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This research aims at highlighting the development of imaginative thought in the work of the poet, painter and printmaker, William Blake (1757-1827). An English Romantic poet, influenced by the Bible, called by the poet "the great code of art", and mystics like Jacob Boheme (1575-1624) and Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), Blake produced his art related to the historical and social contexts of Europe of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, providing a critical poetry of his time. The influence of the Bible and mystics made of Blake's epics and lyrical poetry prophetic/poetic works led by the imaginative power, the also called poetic genius, then joining the criticism of political tyrannies of Europe to religious transcendence. The epic poem, America, A Prophecy, written in 1793, was selected from the work of the poet in order to illustrate the poetic genius in his rise, rise outlined by the libertarian sentiment of the American Revolution (1776). By contrast, another epic chosen here for analysis Europe, A Prophecy, written in 1794, shows the decline of the imaginative power, and intrinsic to the poem the criticism of absolute monarchies in their tyrannical appearance under the French Revolution (1789). For Blake, rise and decline are Eternal States of humanity, and this opposition is complementary to life and art. As determinants of these states, wisdom, art and science, are responsible for the rise or ruin of human beings. For the poet, humanity is ruined or lifted in proportion to art. The presence of the Eternal States in his work is a constant and can be seen at the beginning of his artistic production, as in the poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), in which the author establishes the opposition starred by heaven and hell directly linking the symbolism of these two complementary opposites to the imaginative capacity.

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