Fri, 16 Sept|
HYBRID: Zoom & In-House Event
Jason Whittaker: "Creativity and the Unconscious: Jung, Frye, and William Blake" (Zoom speaker presentation; in-house)
William Blake, one of the first figures in western art and literature to have invented his own mythology, is appreciated by Jungian commentators and psychotherapists as an artist working with archetypes. Jung's own relationship to the work of Blake was more complex ...
Validity & Location
16 Sept 2022, 19:30 – 21:30 BST
HYBRID: Zoom & In-House Event, 91-93, Hartington Grove, Cambridge CB1 7UB, UK
Creativity and the Unconscious: "Jung, Frye, and William Blake"
William Blake, one of the first figures in western art and literature to have invented his own mythology, has long been appreciated by Jungian commentators and psychotherapists as an artist working in the tradition of archetypes. Jung's own relationship to the work of Blake was more complex: clearly fascinated with the earlier Romantic, Jung cited his poetry and art several times in his studies but also wrote in a letter to Piloo Nanavutty that while Blake was tantalising, his works were "an artistic production rather than an authentic representation of unconscious processes."
At almost the same time that Jung was writing to Nanavutty, the Canadian scholar Northrop Frye published his magisterial study of Blake, Fearful Symmetry, which was a revolutionary extension of his theory of archetypal criticism through the works of William Blake. For Frye, Blake's work was indeed "artistic production", but one which, via what Frye called the Orc Cycle, demonstrated the emergence of imagination and "prophetic consciousness" from the unconscious, cyclical energies of the body.
This presentation, then, will seek to explore the contraries between these two forms of archetypal criticism, contraries without which, in true Blakean terms, there is no progression, and examine some of the ways in which Blake was able to fashion the energy of the unconscious into often starting, visionary forms.
JASON WHITTAKER is Head of the School of English and Journalism at the University of Lincoln. He has written
extensively on William Blake, specializing in the reception of Blake by later generations of artists, writers, and musicians. His books include Divine Images: The Life and Work of William Blake (Reaktion Books, 2021) and Jerusalem: Blake, Parry and the Fight for Englishness (Oxford University Press, 2022), and is editor of the web site zoamorphosis.com
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