This course is co-taught by Kate Barush and Devin Zuber. As one of the most iconic figures associated with Romanticism, William Blake offers a rich opportunity for theorizing the relationship between religion and the arts (including painting, literature, and music). This seminar proposes reading Blake “theologically,” looking at how his major poems and images were catalyzed by encounters with heterodox theological traditions (such as Teresa of Avila, Swedenborg, Böhme). We seek to understand how Blake’s religious syncretism transformed theological tropes—such as prophecy and apocalypse—into radical experimentations with word, sound, and image. We will also consider Blake’s rich legacy in shaping countercultural poetics and aesthetics of the 20th century (including Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg). Class Presentation, Slide Exam, and Final Paper (25-30 pages). Intended Audience: PhD and advanced MA.
Devin Phillip Zuber