By Diane Piccitto
Blake's Drama demanding situations traditional perspectives of William Blake's multimedia paintings through reinterpreting it as theatrical functionality. seen in its dramatic contexts, this paintings shape is proven to impress an energetic spectatorship and to depict id as satirically crucial and built, revealing Blake's investments in drama, motion, and the physique.
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Additional resources for Blake’s Drama: Theatre, Performance and Identity in the Illuminated Books
How does one connect the image with the text, which consists of numerous statements that range from maxims about art to densely intertextual references? How does one link each item of text? And how does the image of the ancient sculpture affect the way one reads the verbal elements? Although the work is unusual when compared with the rest, these kinds of questions apply to all of Blake’s Illuminated Books, which refuse to play by generic rules. His mythic figures are not confined to the realms of an interior, mental space; rather, they are visually represented, bridging inner and outer.
In seeing an image of Urizen and “hearing” Orc’s voice simultaneously, we can take the next perceptual leap and see the dramatic action unfold in the interplay of visual images and text. I am tempted to say that the theatrical analogy goes further than the audience influencing the integrity of the performance by, for example, choosing what to look at. The audience also becomes the performer to some extent: just as the two characters engage in the poem, we enact the drama’s tension of opposites as we try to reconcile word and design.
Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress. Copyright © 2013 William Blake Archive. Used with permission. The Theatre of the Illuminated Books 41 forming a barrier like rock through which the graphic streams of water cannot penetrate to demonstrate the interdependence and interplay between the two: the graphic space is supported and shaped by the textual space, which is in turn supported by the graphic space of the vines at the bottom of the plate. All of these examples serve to show the various ways that Blake forces us to see word and image together (as he does in the Laocoön), acting on one another, rather than as separate spheres of engagement.