William Blake's Divine Comedy <Summaries of the Doctoral Theses>
Pyle, Eric Allan
This paper offers a new interpretation of William Blake's illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy. The only full-length study of these pictures was published by Albert S. Roe in 1953, and since that time much new research has illuminated Blake's thought and the semiotic strategies he used to express it. I will make use of the work of Robert Essick and Morton Paley, among many others, to construct a view of Blake's Dante that is, I think, both more comprehensive than older interpretations and more in line with what we know of Blake's other works. In the end I hope to show that the Comedy illustrations, though left unfinished at his death, deserve to be ranked among Blake's most important work. Contrary to earlier interpretations of the series, I will argue that Blake had great respect for his Italian predecessor, and did not intend to condemn the Comedy's message entirely. Where Roe, for example, sees Blake's watercolor of Beatrice's appearance in the Earthly Paradise as a symbol of Albion's fall into the world of materialism, I show that the painting gives the opposite meaning: that the pilgrim has achieved spiritual reintegration and is ready to ascend to Eternity.
広島大学大学院総合科学研究科紀要. I, 人間科学研究
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