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Blake's 'Jerusalem' as Visionary Theatre: Entering the Divine Body


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Before etching Jerusalem William Blake wrote about creating 'the grandest poem that this world contains.'

Blake's avowed intention in constructing the work was to move readers from a solely rational way of being (called Ulro) to one that is highly imaginative (called Eden/Eternity), with each word chosen to suit 'the mouth of a true Orator.' Rational interpretation is of limited use when reading this multifaceted epic and its non-linear structure presents a perennial challenge for readers.

Susanne Sklar engages with the interpretive challenges of Jerusalem by considering it as a piece of visionary theatre --an imaginative performance in which characters, settings, and imagery are not confined by mundane space and time-- allowing readers to find coherence within its complexities. With his characters, Blake's readers can participate imaginatively in what Blake calls 'the Divine Body, the Saviour's Kingdom,' a way of being in which all things interconnect: spiritually, ecologically, socially, and erotically.

Imaginatively engaging with Jerusalem involves close textual reading and analysis. The first part of this book discusses the notion of visionary theatre, and the theological, literary, and historical antecedents of Jerusalem's imagery, characters, and settings. Particular attention is paid to the theological context of Blake's Jesus ('the Divine Body'), and Jerusalem, the heroine of his poem. This prepares the ground for a scene-by-scene commentary of the entire illuminated work. Jerusalem tells the story of Albion's fall, many rescue attempts, escalating violence and oppression, and a surprising apocalypse --in which all living things, awakening, are transfigured in ferocious forgiveness.

Table of Contents


I: Perspectives, Characters, Settings

1. Visionary Theatre, Apocalyptic Images

2. Dramatis Personae

3. Jerusalem, her Character and Context

4. Jerusalem's Jesus

5. Shifting Settings - Building Projects

II: The Commentary

Reading the Poem

Chapter One: 'To the Public' - Albion's Fall

Chapter Two: 'To the Jews' - Rescue Attempts

Chapter Three: 'To the Deists' - Calamities Amplify

Chapter Four: 'To the Christians' - The Great Awakening

Encore: Into Eternity

Product Details

Sklar, Suzanne M
Oxford University Press, USA
Sklar, Susanne M.
Suzanne M. Sklar
null, Suzanne M.
Christian Literature
RELIGION / Theology
Christianity-Christian Fiction
Publication Date:
8 black and white plates
6.4 x 9.3 x 1 in 1.481 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » United Kingdom » Poetry
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Religion » Christianity » Christian Fiction
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Blake's 'Jerusalem' as Visionary Theatre: Entering the Divine Body Sale Hardcover
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