Europe

"If the acts have been perform'd let the Bard himself witness": William Blake's Milton and MOO space

This essay explores what MOO space can tell us about Blake's Milton and, conversely, what Blake's Milton can tell us abut MOO space. Specifically, this essay maintains that the performative potential of the immersive textuality of MOO space opens new possibilities for critical approaches to one of Blake's most challenging poems. By eliminating the distance between the fictional character within a text and its reader/player, MOO space arguably allows for a sense of the aesthetic experience as an intersubjective event. In this way, Blake's Milton in MOO space allows for the experiential realization of the non-linearity of Blake's text in ways that are inaccessible for traditional modes of scholarly practice.
January 2005

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History against Historicism, Formal Matters, and the Event of the Text: De Man with Benjamin

The essay argues that Paul de Man, far from being simply opposed to history or the historical understanding of literature, comes closer to the contrary position, and indeed argues that close reading must be literary history. This is elaborated primarily in the essay "Literary History and Literary Modernity." De Man, not unlike Walter Benjamin, posits the text as a kind of historical event that has to be read accordingly. Though de Man's appeals tend to be programmatic and abstract (without the texture, say, of Marxist literary historiography), the claims about history need to be taken seriously. It's not a matter of indifference that de Man's appeal to a certain kind of history against historicism coincides in striking ways with Walter Benjamin's outlining of a similar position in his "Theses on the Philosophy of History" and elsewhere.
May 2005

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Baulch, "Repetition, Representation and Revolution: Deleuze and Blake's America"

The purpose of this paper is to explore specific ways Gilles Deleuze's Difference & Repetition provides a productive critical framework for thinking about revolution in William Blake's America a Prophecy and, in turn, the way that America's peculiar dramatization of revolution offers a specific political dimension to a Deleuzian ontology.

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Chaosmic Orders: Nonclassical Physics, Allegory, and the Epistemology of Blake’s Minute Particulars

The essay considers Blake's epistemology of "minute particulars" in terms of what the essay defines as "radical organization," the concept in part indebted to the epistemology of quantum mechanics, further linked to the epistemology of allegory in de Man's sense. By so doing, the essay positions Blake's epistemology in relation to both quantum physics and chaos theory. While both depart epistemologically from classical, Newtonian, physics, they are epistemologically different in turn. This difference helps to illuminate the complexities of Blake's epistemology, which, and the way it departs from Newton, have affinities with both of these theories, but does not fully conforms to either. The essay also relates this epistemological problematic to the view of Blake's illuminated manuscripts as (or at least as anticipating) the artists' books-the art form that combines the self-conscious investigation of the conceptual and material form of the book with the interplay of the literary and the visual within it.
March 2001

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Lussier, "Enlightenment East and West: An Introduction to Romanticism and Buddhism"

Rather than summarizing the essays appearing in this special issue of Romantic Circles Praxis, this introductory essay provides a historical context for the emergence of what is now termed 'Buddhism' into European consciousness during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This essay appears in _Romanticism and Buddhism_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.
February 2007

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Note: The Plague

October, 1997

The Plague


"The plague" refers to an acute virulent disease, usually one reaching or threatening to reach epidemic proportions, and historically one caused by a bacterium. The medieval Black Death set much of the tone and metaphorical conventions still operating in many modern-era descriptions of plagues. The Last Man was written during one such early-nineteenth century outbreak, a cholera epidemic begun in India ca. 1817 and seen by the 1820s as posing a threat to Europe.

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