Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake

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Princeton University Press, 1969 - Literary Criticism - 462 pages
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This brilliant outline of Blake's thought and commentary on his poetry comes on the crest of the current interest in Blake, and carries us further towards an understanding of his work than any previous study. Here is a dear and complete solution to the riddles of the longer poems, the so-called "Prophecies," and a demonstration of Blake's insight that will amaze the modern reader. The first section of the book shows how Blake arrived at a theory of knowledge that was also, for him, a theory of religion, of human life and of art, and how this rigorously defined system of ideas found expression in the complicated but consistent symbolism of his poetry. The second and third parts, after indicating the relation of Blake to English literature and the intellectual atmosphere of his own time, explain the meaning of Blake's poems and the significance of their characters.

  

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"There is only one false religion as there is only one true one; and it has two infallible marks. First, it postulates some kind of God who is unknown and mysterious because he is not inside us but ... Read full review

Contents

II
3
III
30
IV
55
V
85
VI
108
VII
145
VIII
147
IX
187
XI
269
XII
311
XIII
313
XIV
356
XV
404
XVII
431
XVIII
435
XIX
451

X
227

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About the author (1969)

Herman Northrop Frye was born in 1912 in Quebec, Canada. His mother educated him at home until the fourth grade. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied theology at Emmanuel College for several years and actually worked as a pastor before deciding he preferred the academic life. He eventually obtained his master's degree from Oxford, and taught English at the University of Toronto for more than four decades. Frye's first two books, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy of Criticism (1957) set forth the influential literary principles upon which he continued to elaborate in his numerous later works. These include Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, The Well-Tempered Critic, and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Frye died in 1991.

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