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W. B. Yeats and William Blake in the 1890s
Jodie Marley

Yeats’s Blake criticism of the 1890s hinged on his knowledge of the esoteric and occult systems that he used as his framework for interpretation of the Romantic poet. This article examines The Works of William Blake: Poetic, Symbolic, and Critical (1893) and Yeats’s 1890s reviews of his contemporary Blake critics, as well as his relationship with the mystic poet and artist George William Russell (Æ), whom he repeatedly compared to Blake. Yeats’s emphasis on the importance of Boehme and Swedenborg in Blake’s system had a major influence on Blake’s critical legacy in the twentieth century, such as S. Foster Damon’s approach to Blake in William Blake: His Philosophy and Symbols (1924) and Kathleen Raine’s Blake and Tradition (1969). Yeats’s engagement with Blake in the 1890s also contributed to the popular conception of Blake as a mystic and visionary artist which still continues.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Maria Haralambakis

In 1954 and 1958 the John Rylands Library acquired a significant portion of the library of Dr Moses Gaster (1856–1939). As a scholar and bibliophile, Gaster collected manuscripts, printed books, pamphlets and amulets. His collection reflects his wide ranging interests: philology (including Romanian language, folklore and literature), Judaica, magic and mysticism, and Samaritan studies. This article presents a survey of the varied Rylands Gaster collection. It includes an inventory of the miscellaneous manuscript sequence, a complete handlist of Gaster‘s German manuscripts and an introduction to the archival material.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Open Access (free)
Lewis Hine’s Photographs of Refugees for the American Red Cross, 1918–20
Sonya de Laat

‘his realism corresponds to the status of the photograph as report, [and] his mysticism corresponds to its status as spiritual expression’ ( 1975 : 45). Hine was certainly aware of, and in many ways appeared comfortable with, the realist and sentimental rhetorical aspects of photography. He himself had said in a Photographic Times article in 1908 that ‘good photography is a question of art’ ( Gutman, 1967 : 27). In his pre-war child labor and immigration work that generated passionate social and political debates, Hine recognized his photographs had to be affective

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Identity, environment, and deity

Controversial poet Ronald Stuart Thomas was considered to be one of the leading writers of the twentieth century. This book, in three parts, interprets the development of a major theme over Thomas's twenty-seven volumes, probing particular themes and poems with a meticulous insight. The themes of identity, environment, and deity treated reflect the major preoccupations of his life and work. The book presents a comprehensive examination of these major themes as they occur across Thomas's substantial oeuvre, while providing an expanded frame within which the considerable complexity of Thomas's work can be explored. It suggests that such poetic explorations and revelations of identity provide the prima materia of the poetry and form an underlying foundation to Thomas's poetry viewed as a single body of work. Thomas's treatment of the natural world, in particular the theology of nature mysticism vital to much of his work, is then discussed. The book also looks closely at Thomas's increasing preoccupation with science. It explores his philosophical concern with a scientific register for poetry, his own experimentation with that register, his subtle ambivalence towards applied technology, his ongoing critique of 'the machine', and his view of modern physics. Finally, examining Thomas's 'religious poetry', the book re-focuses on the exact nature of his poetic approach to a 'theology of experience' as reflected in his 'mythic' and 'via negativa' modes. It highlights Thomas's 'reconfiguring' of theology, that is, his insistence on the central validity and importance of individual spiritual experience, both as absence and as presence.

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Alan Watts and the visionary tradition
Laurence Coupe

mysticism. The Transcendentalists, as the name implies, thought of themselves as religious thinkers, not just literary writers or cultural commentators (though they were both of these). But it is significant that their idea of religion was formed mainly by their study of texts such as the Bhagavad Gita rather than the New Testament. Their preference for Hinduism over Christianity led to their being regarded as subversives, or even heretics. At best, they were accused of superficiality, of dabbling in Eastern thought instead of engaging with the profundities of the pilgrim

in Beat sound, Beat vision
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Laurence Coupe

analysis and debate. It results, rather, from their assertion of the intellectual value of paradox and from their conviction that analysis and debate must finally yield to the claims of ineffable experience. Oriental mysticism comprehends argumentation; but it also provides a generous place for silence, out of wise recognition of the fact that it is with silence that men confront the great moments of life. Unhappily, the Western intellect is inclined to treat silence as if it were a mere zero: a loss for words indicating the absence of meaning. However sternly one may

in Beat sound, Beat vision
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The myth of the Flood in Anglo-Saxon England
Author: Daniel Anlezark

The story of the Flood, inherited by the Anglo-Saxons during their conversion to Christianity, was transformed by them into a vital myth through which they interpreted the whole of history and their place in it. The dual character of the myth, with the opposition between threatened destruction and hope of renewal, presented commentators with a potent historical metaphor, which they exploited in their own changing historical circumstance. This book explores the use of this metaphor in the writings of the Anglo-Saxons. It is the integration of a well-known biblical story into the historical and cultural self-definition of a group of people converted to Christianity and its worldview. The Flood in the Bible is clearly a punishment, though the sin is not so well defined. This forms part of a historical pattern of sin and punishment extending back to Eden, and progressed to the sin and exile of Cain. For Bede the historian, the Flood was a key event in the earlier history of the world; for Bede the theologian, the Flood was an event replete with mystical significance. In Exodus and Andreas all the poems share an interest in two themes, which emerge from the biblical story of the Flood and its theological interpretation: covenant and apocalypse. Noah is the 'one father' not only of Israel, but of the whole human race, and his introduction widens the concept of 'inheritance' in the Exodus. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the significance of the Flood myth in Beowulf.

Gender, violence, and nation in Ella Young’s vision of a new Ireland
Aurelia Annat

1900 and 1925. It focuses on how she absorbed and adapted contemporary discourses of gender, violence, and nation in her reworking of Irish myth and mysticism in order to generate a vision of a new Ireland that was both particular and powerful: particular, because it was characteristic of Young’s singular politics and spirituality; powerful, because it influenced Young’s immediate social milieu and, through notable friends such as Maud Gonne, would find wider audiences. Ella Young was born in 1867 in the Presbyterian parish of Ahogill, in Co. Antrim, on the northern

in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922
Dystopian performatives and vertigo aesthetics in popular theatre
Simon Parry

register public feelings or reflect a particular zeitgeist. Their various modes of theatricality establish a relationship between performers and spectators but also articulate connections between a range of scientific discourses on climate change, population change, water management, genetics and neuroscience; apparently anti-scientific cultural forms such as myth, mysticism and magic; and aesthetic conventions from literary fiction, pop music and fashion. As such I argue that they constitute a set of speculative theatrical practices. In their book Capitalist Sorcery

in Science in performance
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Rhodri Hayward

3 The soul governed The human soul is made of paper (Michel Tournier, The Erl-King) The body of numbers When William James sniffed nitrous oxide in the spring of 1882, he resurrected and transformed an experimental gesture which had been central to the practice of Christian mysticism. For centuries, Western ecstatics had attempted to transcend the boundaries of the human personality, and thus approach a knowledge of the divine life through the employment of ascetic and meditative techniques. The writings of Père Surin, Madame Guyon and Catherine of Genoa give

in Resisting history