By D. Rainsford
Dominic Rainsford examines ways that literary texts could seem to touch upon their authors' moral prestige. Its argument develops via readings of Blake, Dickens, and Joyce, 3 authors who locate specifically brilliant methods of casting doubt all alone ethical authority, even as they divulge wider social ills. The publication combines its curiosity in ethics with post-structuralist scepticism, and hence develops one of those radical humanism with purposes a long way past the 3 authors instantly mentioned.
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Additional info for Authorship, Ethics and the Reader: Blake, Dickens, Joyce
There is no implication, at this stage, that the sense-limited world is a bad thing: the illustration to the first proposition in series [a], for example, of man and dog engaging in 'natural perception', is very attractive (IB, 28). 28 'Moral fitness', however, does not appear to be a concept of which Blake approves. For, according to the Lavater annotations, Blake believes that innate 'propensities' are representative of true virtue, so that anything that hinders such propensities, such as an imposed morality, will be 'negative' in the derogatory sense, fostering an artificial concept of 'Sin': Every mans leading propensity ought to be caUd his leading Virtue & his good Angel But the Philosophy of Causes & Consequences misled Lavater as it has all his cotemporaries.
The 'serious' songs are mostly ambiguous in themselves: is 'Upon a holy thursday' really a celebration of the generosity of beadles, or should we, with Erdman, anticipate the 'Holy Thursday' of Songs of Experience,22 and, if the latter, is Obtuse Angle aware of the irony? Overall, Blake emerges from An Island in the Moon as an author who possesses strong moral insights, but who is unable or unwilling to organize these insights into propositions. 23 This is compounded by the disturbing presence of abstract philosophy.
A Painful Case', for example: The Villain at the Gallows tree When he is doomd to die To assuage his misery In Virtues praise does cry So Reynolds when he came to die To assuage his bitter woe: 46 Authorship, Ethics and the Reader Thus aloud did howl & cry Michael Angelo Michael Angelo (E, 512) Blake is posthumously executing Reynolds here, combining torture with humiUation.
Authorship, Ethics and the Reader: Blake, Dickens, Joyce by D. Rainsford