Blake, Deleuzian Aesthetics, and the Digital (Bloomsbury Literary Studies)
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Drawing on recent theories of digital media and on the materiality of words and images, this fascinating study makes three original claims about the work of William Blake.
First, Blake offers a critique of digital media. His poetry and method of illuminated printing is directed towards uncovering an analogical language. Second, Blake's work can be read as a performative. Finally, Blake's work is at one and the same time immanent and transcendent, aiming to return all forms of divinity and the sacred to the human imagination, stressing that 'all deities reside in the human breast,' but it also stresses that the human has powers or potentials that transcend experience and judgement: deities reside in the human breast.
These three claims are explored through the concept of incarnation: the incarnation of ideas in words and images, the incarnation of words in material books and their copies, the incarnation of human actions and events in bodies, and the incarnation of spirit in matter.
thou art now, such was he O Spectre. “I know thy deceit & thy revenges, and unless thou desist “I will certainly create an eternal Hell for thee. Listen! “Be attentive! be obedient! Lo, the furnaces are ready to receive thee! “I will break thee into shivers & melt thee in the furnaces of death. “I will cast thee into forms of abhorrence and torment if thou xxxviii Preface “Desist not from thine own will & obey not my stern command “I am clos’d up from my children: my Emanation is dividing,
Being – whether it be in the form of Ideas, God, Substance or Subject – to seem as though it exists as fully present, with the appearing of beings as a dependent contingency. What is never questioned is how beings appear as disclosures of Being, and how the soul focused on appearances comes to turn towards the source of all appearing. For Heidegger it is the not asking of this question that distinguishes the Western metaphysics of presence, or the privileging of the logos. Everything that appears
along with the ‘marking’ or taking note of what is seen, but also the reduction of what is seen to some generality: “every cry of every man …every infant’s cry of fear… every voice.” Experience is the voice of enclosed and despairing judgment: Thou Mother of my Mortal part. With Cruelty didst mould my Heart. And with false self-decieving tears, Didst bind my Nostrils Eyes and Ears. Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay And me to Mortal Life betray (SOE B: 220; E: 30) Innocence, by contrast,
of the destruction of limits. There always remains a reversed Platonism: if forms or transcendent powers beyond this world are destroyed in order to pay heed once again to this world of life, there is also a due reverence paid to powers perceived within the world that are not yet formalized, systematized or actualized. That is, there cannot be a simple, immediate and fully self-present turn to life. There is an infinite that opens from within the world, pulverizing any closed or mechanistic world
otherness to the medium of the subject’s own redemption. One might say that sexual difference discloses the problem of language per se: in referring to what is other than itself the sign can only do so by way of incorporation. Difference is referred to by way of being reduced. The way beyond this closure of difference, language, and desire is pursued by Blake through several paths. The first is the dramatic nature of his poetry, where voices of redemption and salvation fall back into accusation,