By Steve Clark, Tristanne Connolly, Jason Whittaker (eds.)
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Extra resources for Blake 2.0: William Blake in Twentieth-Century Art, Music and Culture
7) This has been described as the world’s first ‘total war’, ‘defined as a war involving the complete mobilization of a society’s resources to achieve the absolute destruction of an enemy, with all distinction erased between combatants and noncombatants’ (D. Bell 7). Why should ‘total war’ emerge at the close of the eighteenth century, as the shocking conclusion to the Age of Enlightenment? Blake’s answer is surprising: the wars ravaging Europe, he suggests, are products of the philosophical systems developed and the cultural practices fostered by three of the most important pillars of the Enlightenment: Francis Bacon (1561–1626), John Locke (1632–1704), and Isaac Newton (1642–1727).
As Jason Whittaker argues in Chapter 17 below, the poem attached to the ‘Preface’, long ago named ‘Jerusalem’, has embodied contestation by different groups’ reception, and as I have argued, the poem has relentlessly circulated through strains of popular culture (‘Postmodernity’ 155). 5. As well as Wittreich’s work already referenced, Leslie Tannenbaum also provides an acute and extended analysis of Blake’s reception and deployment of biblical materials, yet acknowledges the impossibility of containing ‘this subject in all its variety and complexity in a single study’ (8).
As we approach the other end, the energies of the body become prominent, and the province of imagination comes into view. In Roszak’s words, ‘as we move along the continuum we find sociology giving way steadily to psychology, political collectivities yielding to the person, conscious and articulate behaviours falling away before the forces of the non-intellective deep’ (Counter Culturee 64). As this last sentence suggests, as we move from right to left, the second axis becomes apparent, reaching down into the depths of the body (‘the non-intellective deep’) and up into the multiple realities of imagination.