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dc.contributor.authorSealey-Morris, Gabriel Stephen
dc.description.abstractThough Northrop Frye asserted sixty years ago that the tractates All Religions are One and There is No Natural Religion “are evidently intended to be a summarized statement of the doctrines in the engraved canon” and afforded them a primary place in Fearful Symmetry, these short illuminated books have been largely ignored or diminished by critics, most of whom dismiss them as early, crude experiments in printmaking or as rhetorically underdeveloped attacks on natural religion and rationalism. My dissertation, in contrast, considers the tractates as foundational, primary, and essential to Blake’s work, best described as a sort of exploratory tutorial in which Blake (in his own temporal life) discovered the possibilities of his newly-formed craft and in which each reader (in his or her own temporal experience of the books) discovers with Blake how illuminated printing speaks, acts, and lives. Chapter 1 begins the study with a review of the tractates’ scholarly ill-treatment in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, then explains how the ingenious methods Blake used in creating his books accomplish something no conventional book could ever do – interact with a reader with the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual fullness of a human encounter. Chapter 2 moves from theory to history, synthesizing a number of historicist studies of Blake and his period to establish the social and cultural context from which the tractates initially emerged. Chapter 3 examines the rhetorical working of Blake’s illuminated books, and the tractates in particular, considering how Blake’s open text approximates orality by creating an embodied, spontaneous, and gestural form of printing, and how his use of emblematic and aphoristic traditions furthers his pedagogical program. Finally my last three chapters act out and record the effects of a Blakean encounter on a receptive mind in an imaginative encounter with Blake’s living books.
dc.subjectWilliam Blake, Tractates, Orality, Illuminated Books, All Religions are One, There is No Natural Religion, Etching, Engraving, Printmaking, Radicalism, Artisan, Prophecy, Prophet
dc.titleWilliam Blake's tractates
dc.title.alternativelessons in prophetic encounter
dc.description.advisorNelson Hilton
dc.description.committeeNelson Hilton
dc.description.committeeMichael Moran
dc.description.committeeChristy Desmet

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