MLA SPECIAL SESSION 1981: “Blake and the Art of His Time”
Perhaps because they are by nature or inclination themselves extremists, Blake people seem equally undeterred by the earliness or lateness of their appointed hour, as this past year’s two MLA Special Sessions demonstrated. The Sunrise Semester Special, “Blake and the Art of His Time,” attracted a good crowd, whose members were treated to four slide-illustrated presentations: Dennis Read on Blake’s “Death’s Door,” Alexander Gourlay and John Grant on a possible Blake-Reynolds connection involving the latter’s portrait of Anne Dashwood, Kevin Lewis on the apocalyptic and millennial in the art of Blake’s contemporaries, and John Wright on Blake’s stereoptic art and its relations to the popular art of the period. The Gourlay/Grant paper, incidentally, has now been accepted for publication in the Bulletin of Research in the Humanities. All the presentations, as well as the discussion that ensued, stressed the clear need for further exploration of Blake’s ties with the visual milieu of his times, a need that is at last being seriously addressed, as recent publications on Blake’s work attest.