Dr. J. H. Jones
English 422M: William Blake's Illuminated Poetry
Office: 110 SC
Office Hours: M-F: 12:00-1:00 and by appointment.
This course will examine both the poetry and accompanying illustrations
of William Blake's composite art as they appear in both conventional printed
sources and newly created on-line archives.
I. Course Description:
William Blake (1757-1827) has been variously described as a visionary,
mystic, rebel, iconoclast, and even, as the famous nineteenth-century literary
critic Leigh Hunt did, "an unfortunate lunatic." Little known in
his day, Blake developed poetry, art, and ideas that put him at odds with
his contemporaries but which have grown in appreciation ever since.
What makes Blake so unique is that he combines ideas and media in startling
and challenging ways. Nowhere do these combinations become more apparent
than in his illuminated poetry--the works that Blake wrote, illustrated,
engraved, and printed himself. This course will study Blake's poetry
as he produced it, complete with illustrations, including those found in
the on-line Blake
Archive. (See other useful links
below.) Among the topics we will consider include Blake's printmaking
process, the juxtaposition of image and text, the unusual dissemination
of his work, his opposition to his fellow engravers, artists, and poets,
and his philosophies of art and life.
III. Requirements and evaluation:
A. Class attendance:
English Department attendance policy requires students to attend 75%
of all class meetings. This policy begins on the first day of class. Since
students who arrive late to class are marked absent, they must notify the
instructor of their attendance at the end the class. A student may make
up a missed examination only if the absence is excused. Work should be
made up as soon as possible. Journal collections may not be made up. Forms
for excused absences can be obtained from 228 SC and should be accompanied
by other documentation.
B. Class requirements:
1. Two typed
double-spaced research essays. For the first essay, choose one of
Blake's illuminated works listed on the syllabus in the first half of the
term and, in approximately 4 pages, analyze a particular aspect of that
work. The second essay will extend that analysis to approximately
8 pages by including an illuminated work listed on the syllabus in the
second half of the semester. Both essays should take into account
the illustrations and multiple versions (if applicable) of each work.
Many of the useful sources for your research are on reserve in the Houston
Cole Library. For manuscript mechanics, refer to the MLA
Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Papers are due at
the beginning of class on the date they are due. Any paper turned in late
will be penalized heavily (20% for the first essay; 25% for the second
2. A mid-term examination (20%).
3. A final examination (25%).
4. A reading journal. For each reading assignment, choose one
plate that contains both text and illustration, and in two to three full
paragraphs, discuss how the two aspects of Blake's art function together
on that page. Journals will be collected and evaluated periodically,
so they should be brought to each class meeting. A student who misses a
class when journals are collected and has an acceptable excuse will not
be penalized (10%).
C. Grading: A, B, C, D, F.
A. Blake, William. The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake.
Ed. David V. Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
B. Blake, William. The Illuminated Blake. Annotated
by David V. Erdman. New York: Dover, 1992.
V. Disability Accommodations Statement:
Any individual who qualifies for reasonable accommodations under The Americans
with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
should contact the instructor immediately.
VI. Tentative Course Schedule*:
5 May: Last day to register or add a course. All
Religions Are One, There Is No Natural Religion [a-b], The
Book of Thel.
6 May: Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
7 May: Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
10 May: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
11 May: Visions of the Daughters of Albion.
12 May: America a Prophecy.
13 May: FIRST ESSAY DUE. Europe a Prophecy.
14 May: MIDTERM EXAMINATION.
17 May: The [First] Book of Urizen, The Book of Ahania,
The Book of Los, The Song of Los.
18 May: Last day to drop without academic penalty.
The [First] Book of Urizen, The Book of Ahania, The Book
of Los, The Song of Los.
19 May: Milton.
20 May: Milton.
21 May: Milton.
24 May: Jerusalem.
25 May: Last day to drop passing or withdraw. Jerusalem.
26 May: Jerusalem.
27 May: SECOND ESSAY DUE. Jerusalem.
28 May: FINAL EXAMINATION
*This schedule is subject to change either
to tailor the course to meet the specific needs of this particular class
or to accommodate extenuating circumstances. Students will be notified
of changes in advanced.
Other Useful Links:
Concordance: Locate any word or phrase in Blake's works. A most
Union College Blake
Page: Good background information, especially on Blake's printing process.
Many other links included.
National Gallery of Victoria
Exhibit: Now showing.
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