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BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

Call for Papers – Global Blake: Afterlives in Art, Literature and Music

11-12 September 2020

University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

In recent years a body of work – including Blake, Modernity and Popular Culture (2007), Blake 2.0: William Blake in Twentieth-Century Art, Music and Culture (2012), William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (2017), William Blake and the Myth of America (2018), and The Reception of William Blake in Europe (2019) – has emerged around the posthumous reception of the artist and poet, William Blake. From almost complete obscurity following his death in 1827, Blake has become one of the most important figures in British cultural life. What is less understood, outside certain pockets such as the USA and Japan, is the significance of Blake elsewhere in the world.

Today, Blake’s global presence cannot be underestimated. The aim of this project is to showcase the wide variety of global ‘Blakes’ (after Morris Eaves’s “On Blakes We Want and Blakes We Don’t”, 1995, and Mike Goode’s “Blakespotting”, 2006) and to provide an overview of the appropriations and rewritings as well as examples, that fall into three categories: art, literature and music. It will examine how Blake’s global audiences have responded to his poetry and art as well as explore what these specific, non-British responses and cultural and social legacies can bring to the study of Blake. What is fascinating about works in art, literature and music inspired by Blake is the fact in which the verbal and the visual in Blake’s art translates into different cultural contexts in unique ways.

Building on The Reception of Blake in the Orient (2006) and The Reception of William Blake’s Reception in Europe (2019), part of the longstanding and successful series The Reception of British and Irish Authors with Elinor Shaffer as series editor, the organisers welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (three 20-minute papers). Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Studies of influence in Literature, such as Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, Kenzaburo Oe, Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, the Beat Generation and the Black Mountain Poets.
  • Blake in translation
  • Postcolonial Blake and Blake in world literatures and arts
  • Blake and the theatre or performance
  • Afterlives in art and exhibition culture, such as Rockwell Kent, Helen Martins, or Subir Hati.
  • Blake and graphic novels and comics
  • Setting Blake to music
  • Reception by Women, People of Colour and LBGT+
  • Blake and the digital age
  • Routes of transmission: Blake and the web, social media, publishing houses, publishing histories and facsimiles
  • Blake and literature written for children
  • Blake and film, such as Jim Jarmusch, Derek Jarman, Hal Hartley
  • Blake scholarship, including T.S. Eliot, Northrop Frye, S. Foster Damon, Leopold Damrosch, Donald Ault, Robert Gleckner, Hazard Adams, Harold Bloom and David Erdman, Mona Wilson and G.E. Bentley Jr.

Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note (50 words in the same Word document) should be sent to Sibylle Erle (sibylle.erle@bishopg.ac.uk) and Jason Whittaker (jwhittaker@lincoln.ac.uk) by 29 February 2020.