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Work in Progress

The starred (*) items below come, by the courtesy of one of our readers, from the Inventory of Research in Progress in the Humanities: Inventaire des recherches en cours dans les humanites, published in 1972 by the Humanities Research Council of Canada. We do not list here every person who mentioned Blake in the Inventory, however, but only those who distinguished their research as “actively in hand” as opposed to a general “research interest.” The listings in the Inventory are lean; the extra annotations below were supplied by the researchers themselves, then forwarded to us by the same kind reader who called our attention to the Inventory.

*Cecil A. Abrahams (Bishop’s University): “The Fourfold Man in William Blake.”

*Arthur H. Adamson (University of Manitoba): “Structure and Symbolism in ‘The Mental Traveller,’ ” an essay relating the structure of the poem to Spengler’s theory of culture, and also relating Spengler’s theory to some passages in chapter 4 of Jerusalem. “I also have a theory of the psychological interpretation of Blake’s Twenty-Seven Churches . . . my interest [in Blake] is psychological and archetypal. My studies are centered in the later works, particularly Milton and Jerusalem.

*G. E. Bentley, Jr. (University College, University of Toronto): “William Blake: The Critical Heritage,” “William Blake’s Writings,” “William Blake Bibliography.”

*Brian John (McMaster University): “Studies in Romantic Vitalism” that trace “the participation of each of my figures—Blake, Carlyle, Yeats and D. H. Lawrence—in the common tradition of Romantic vitalism. By vitalism I mean the upholding of the principle of Force or Energy as the life-principle running through all things, with certain inevitable corollaries. . . . Because the ramifications are many, I have focussed primarily on the dynamic self creating ‘supreme fictions’ out of the chaos of existence. In the case of each author, I begin by establishing general principles as expressed in his work as a whole and bring them to bear upon a detailed critical reading of a major work. In the case of Blake, the work is Milton. . . . the Blake chapter constitutes roughly one quarter of the work. . . .”

*W. J. Thomas Mitchell and Thomas Minnick (Ohio State University): a critical edition of The Book of Urizen with a color facsimile. They would appreciate any information about the present location of any complete or partial copies of the book and they would also be interested to learn of sketches for it or any other relevant materials. All help will be gratefully and publicly acknowledged. Please write to either at the Department of English, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210.

Dennis Read: “William Blake and The Grave,” a Ph.D. dissertation directed by William F. Halloran at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. The dissertation will be a comprehensive study of all the surviving Blake items which have their genesis in his agreement to illustrate Blair’s Grave. It will attempt to describe Blake’s interpretation of the poem and to indicate how Blake’s work on The Grave contributed to his own visionary expression of such concepts as life, the world, and the imagination.

*Janet A. Warner (Glendon College, York University): “Symbol and Structure in the Work of William Blake.”

*David Zack (Silton, Saskatchewan): “How d’Ye Do William Blake,” a biography “illustrated with pictures of places Blake lived, visited, and drank,” begun at Cambridge and finished in Silton. “The Cambridge image study pops up here and there in my biography, but since a basic Nut [group of ‘young fantasy artists’ to which Zack belongs] tenet involves taking criticism seriously only to make it seem more confusing as told about than it was as originally presented I think it would be better for you to think of my approach to Blake this way: As Blake spent his life back then, so should we all now and some day soon (for imagination’s power can compress a century of evolution to a second of intuition) indeed we all will. Mundane concerns with politics, with rightness and wrongness, with propriety: all vanish as we individually deny them head space: they did for Blake, his words are direct to us today and the time of his prophecies is at hand for all who care to join in.”

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