PHILIP DOSSICK

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Visions of the Daughters of Albion

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Visions of the Daughters of Albion

6.99

“Bromion rent her with his thunders.
On his stormy bed
Lay the faint maid,
And soon her woes appalled his thunders hoarse…”

The illuminated text Visions of the Daughters of Albion offers William Blake’s criticism of the sexual traditions of his time, presenting its author's views on the evils of organized religion, on slavery, and on oppressed womanhood.

At its core, Visions of the Daughters is a poem detailing the life—and abuse—of Oothoon, expressly through her interactions with Bromion and Theotormon.

Various scholars have suggested that the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) greatly influenced Blake’s most sympathetic Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793).

The woman’s (Oothoon) plight in Visions allegorizes not only the condition of British women under the yoke of patriarchy but also the plight of the New World's enslaved blacks and oppressed Native Americans.

Ending the poem without resolution, Blake places ultimate responsibility for political transformation upon ourselves, forcing us not only to confront Oothoon's woes but also to dwell upon them, hoping, it seems, that we will do more than merely "echo back her sighs."

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. At the time of his death, Blake had been mocked in a notorious obituary as “an unfortunate lunatic.” Almost completely forgotten in a tiny two-room apartment in Fountain Court, a narrow alley off the Strand in London, in 1827, he had sold less than thirty copies of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794). Of the great illuminated Prophetic Books, The French Revolution (1791) had never been published for fear of prosecution, only four copies of Milton (1804/1810) were printed in his lifetime. Today, Blake is considered a key figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. Blake emerged as a radical engraver and illustrator, or “Pictor Ignotus.” (This was the subtitle—“The Unknown Painter”—of the great Victorian biography by Alexander Gilchrist, first published in 1863 that saved Blake from total obscurity.) His visionary poetry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced".

"Blake is a tantalizing study… his thoughts on human nature greatly anticipate the thinking of the psychoanalyst…”

- Carl Jung

 

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