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Title: Self-annihilation and creative labour in the poetry of William Blake
Author: Codsi, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 5407
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores the implications of creative labour in Blake's use of the term 'self-annihilation'. It finds that the critical consensus of self-annihilation as forgiveness is insufficient, and argues that the figure of Los, through his continual building of Golgonooza, is central to the annihilation of selfhood. In Blake, creative labour is effected through the interdependence of inspiration and composition, and is evoked in Los's presence in the scenes of self-annihilation. Although inspiration is largely conceived of as a passive experience, foregrounded in Blake's statement in a,letter to Thomas Butts that the 'Authors' of Jerusalem 'are in Eternity', it operates as a necessary counterpart to the act of composition. Focusing mainly on The Four Zoas, Milton and Jerusalem, the thesis foregrounds the activity of creative labour through a contrast with various analogues of the passive self. Whilst the thrust of this thesis is upon creative labour, I also show how far the annihilation of selfhood occurs in Blake through prophecy, sex, and - to some extent - motherhood. These states or experiences are found to share similar imagery and concerns with creative self-annihilation: inspiration, rapture, possession and sacrifice all figure in analogous, albeit problematic ways.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available