Love and Logic: The Evolution of Blake's Thought
William Blake is usually regarded as the greatest poet of mysticism in the English language. His primary theme is love--love of God, love of the Divine Humanity that he often equated with God, and the sexual love that he regarded sometimes as a embodiment and sometimes as a parody of divine love. For Blake, love was not so much a virtue as a problem, a problem that he reassessed in different ways throughout his life, using a variety of logical tools. Love and logic may seem a unusual pair of concerns, especially for a visionary poet, but author Stephen Cox believes that in Blake's work the problems of love and logic evolve together, constantly influencing each other and determining the structure of the poet's vision.
Scholars who have come to view Blake as a visionary whose work followed nonlinear processes have advanced the notion that his artistic achievement defies conventional interpretation. Love and Logic challenges the tendency in postmodern criticism to see authors and readers as confined by history, language, and logic, denied the ability to discover truth or to communicate it in determinate form. Love and Logic emphasizes Blake's ambitious quest for truth, his desire to keep telling the story of human and divine love until he got it right, using all the strategies of logic available to him.
Cox points to what he sees as the irony of Blake's relationship to his postmodern admirers: although his goals and values are antithetical to theirs, he encounters grave difficulties when he handles logic in some of the ways in which they do. In this connection, Love and Logic's analysis of the the[sic] problems of logical "substantialism" is especially important. The analysis develops the idea that it is not logic itself but a particular way of using logic that produces an effect of logical self-imprisonment.
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