Ivona Schöfrová

Masaryk University

Transgression in William Blake's Art

The main aim of the conference contribution is to focus on textual and pictorial works of William Blake, a generally known and recognised English poet of the Romantic Age. The recognized difficulty inherent to those works—a difficulty that has often resulted in scholarly disagreements as well as numerous mistreatments, manipulations, and re-interpretations cluster around Blake’s unusually provocative explorations of transgressive sensual experience, explorations that appeared provocative during Blake’s own time and often remain so today. The paper comments on Blake’s First Book of Urizen in the wider context of Blake’s Prophetic Writings which can be seen as radiating an anti-Christian ethos. Blake’s Prophetic Books, apart from providing its readers with social criticism, offer a unique and distinguished spiritual mythology that is also a fully-developed philosophy dealing with conflicts that are seen to exist between reason and experience, the secular and the sacred, vision and the senses - conflicts that, for Blake, are evident in the spiritual experiences embedded in various traditional religions, as well as in diverse forms of de-traditionalised religiosity.