Copyright (c) 2003 Adam Warren.
In literary theory, scholars endeavor to categorize periods, authors and works by attributing a title or name to the movement that each may represent. Often, these categorizations are overlapping, vague, or irrelevant to the message these authors have tried to convey. Nevertheless, our organization of names, dates, and places aid in the study of literature, and make literature more accessible. I will argue, however, that literature can often be better understood and categorized according to the spiritual state authors depict within their writing. If the reader understands how the author is asserting to see the world, then one can understand the motivations of the author without falling victim to the intentional fallacy. It is not the intention of this thesis to redefine the limits of categorization; rather, it is my intent to offer a new mechanism by which we may understand the spirituality of literature.
In 1789, William Blake first etched the "Innocence" series in what would later be his most definitive work, "Songs of Innocence and of Experience." The subtitle declares the purpose of the work - to show "the contrary states of the human soul" (Erdman 7). William Blake discovered what I will argue is the best way to understand human action - through the lens of the human soul. In order to demonstrate how an understanding of the states of Innocence and Experience can lead to a better understanding of the spirituality of literature, I will first examine the two states and explain how each function, and relate to one another. I will then demonstrate how the states operate in a specified context. As a case study, I will examine the poetry of Emily Dickinson and demonstrate how her works correlate to Blake's theory of contrary states. I choose Dickinson in order to show the far reaching implications of this... [continues]
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(2008, 10). The Regeneration of Innocence: William Blake's Songs as a Paradigm for Understanding the Spirituality in Literature. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Regeneration-Innocence-William-Blakes-Songs-Paradigm-173542.html
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