Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Yasmin Solomonescu’s John Thelwall and the Materialist Imagination has as its cover image one of the better-known plates from William Blake’s For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise. Captioned “I want! I want!,” the illustration shows a human figure taking the first step onto an impossibly long ladder extending (presumably) to the moon while an earthbound couple looks on. It is an arresting image for the cover of a book about the figure whom an anti-Jacobin periodical derisively named “Mister Surgeon Thelwall,” and whom Francis Jeffrey later labeled “The Champion of Materialism.” More than an eye-catching device, the image emblematically represents the subject and subject-matter of Solomonescu’s book, which confronts and reevaluates some of the long-standing characterizations of Thelwall’s materialism.
Solomonescu’s focus in the title on Thelwall’s “materialist imagination” trains attention on...more