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Blake and Kierkegaard : creation and anxiety

by James Rovira

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Brief Description by Author   (2010-10-28)

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by jamesrovira

I'm posting this description, not review, as the author of this work.  I was required by the form to rate my work before posting this description.  

Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety observes the ongoing popularity of the Frankenstein story -- one in which a human being, though the agency of science, creates an independently thinking and feeling being -- and then identifies William Blake as one of the earliest authors in English literature to investigate this theme. This study compares William Blake's and Soren Kierkegaard's models of personality for the purpose of answering the question: Why do we fear what we create?  I argue that Creation Anxiety in the work of William Blake, especially as evident in The [First] Book of Urizen and The Four Zoas, arises from the displacement of classical models of personality (as conceived by Socrates and received through the Medieval era) by Enlightenment models.  We fear what we create because we are recreating ourselves into we know not what.  Because Kierkegaard shares Blake's concerns about the predominance of Enlightenment models of personality, and because he lived in a culture similar to Blake's characterized by tensions between monarchy and democracy, science and religion, and nature and artifice, his concept of anxiety is apropos to understanding the variety of anxieties characterizing Blake's work.  Major works discussed in this monograph include Blake's The First Book of Urizen, The Four Zoas, selections from The Songs of Innocence and of Experience (particularly the Introduction to Innocence and "To Tirzah"), and Kierkegaard's The Concept of Anxiety, Either/Or I and II, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and The Sickness Unto Death.  This work can be cross-listed in various areas in Literature, Philosophy, Religion, British History, Danish History, and Psychology.    

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