Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Final Project Proposal: Revising "My Rose and the Lily"

Final Project Proposal

Works Cited
"Matthew 27:29 KJV." Matthew 27:29 KJV. Biblehub, 2004. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
          -Provides evidence for crown of thorns, and symbolic use in Christian faith.
"Proverbs 14:30 KJV." Proverbs 14 KJV. Biblehub, 2004. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
          -Provides evidence for envy as a sin, something not encouraged by traditional Christian theology, thereby proving Blake’s new use of the rose.
Blake, William, and Geoffrey Keynes. Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul 1789-1794. Kindle ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1970. Print.
          -Allows for direct quotations of Blake’s poems in order to properly analyze his work.
Edwards, John. "Lily-Crucifixions in the Oxford District." Oxford Art Journal 2., Art and Society (1979): 43-45. JSTOR. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
          -Provides some background information on a potential meaning of Blake’s lilies.
Holm, Michael Juul., Ernst Jonas. Bencard, and Poul Erik. Tøjner. The Flower as Image. Humlebaek, Denmark: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2004. 21-22. Print.
          -Supports the use of flowers as common symbols of femininity and women.
Koehler, Theodore A. "The Christian Symbolism of the Rose Our Lady and the Rose." The Christian Symbolism of the Rose Our Lady and the Rose. University of Dayton, 5 Aug. 2009. Web. 6 Oct. 2014.
          -Supports the use of the rose as a common symbol of virtue and beauty.
Mcquail, Josephine A. "Passion and Mysticism in William Blake." Modern Language Studies 30.1 (2000): 121-34. JSTOR. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
          -Supports Blake mystical Christian beliefs as well as the analysis of the “The LILY” as speaking out against sexual repression.
Morris, Frances. "An Early Seventeenth-Century Cope." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 9.6 (1914): 147-48. JSTOR. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
          -Provides evidence of the lily’s common symbolic meaning of purity and innocence through the appearance and association with the Angel Gabriel or Mother Mary.
Scaff, Susan Von Rohr. "The Virgin Annunciate in Italian Art of the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance." College Literature 29.3, Literature and the Visual Arts (2002): 109-23. JSTOR. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
- Supports the lily as a typical Christian symbol of purity, virginity, and chastity.

Main Argument:
           In his poem’s “My PRETTY ROSE” and “THE LILLY”, William Blake’s use of traditional Christian symbols in new ways ascribes new meanings to these symbols, breaking from their traditional Christian values and imparting new values in the process. Blake’s poems serve as a prime example of the work indicative of the Romantic period, and represent the progressive ideals that the period gave way to. Furthermore, Blake’s poetry is particularly useful as a marker of how to break from traditional, accepted social and religious norms, while still existing within that society. Blake’s work, in this way, is particularly applicable to nearly everyone’s life in any time period.

-       Make use of my first revision’s compact, concise analysis of Blake’s poems, but build upon that analysis by explaining the significance of his work within his time period, as well as showing the relevance of breaking from ideologies while still existing within in society and how that is relevant to nearly anyone.
-       In order to maintain the concise analysis, the revision will likely exist as an addition to the already existing work. Considerable effort and thought will be given to making sure the transition between analysis and new parts occurs smoothly. What exactly that will look like, I am not yet sure.

New Sources:

Goldsmith, Steven. "William Blake and the Future of Enthusiasm." Nineteenth-Century Literature 63.4 (2009): 439-60. Web.
        - This article inadvertently supports my argument of Blake’s ideology and message being indicative of the Romantic period and onward. Pages 439-441 are particularly compelling in supporting the use of Blake’s work as containing an ideology that is widespread.
Adams, Hazard. "The Dizziness of Freedom; Or, Why I Read William Blake." College English 48.5 (1986): 431-43. JSTOR. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
        -Hazard’s article expounds upon the idea that Blake’s work maintains relevance throughout history for the ideology and thought process that it engages the readers in. It serves as a tool to interpret uncommon or unaccepted ideas, and provides a mean through which to express those ideas.

** Research will continue, and although unlikely, these sources are not guaranteed to appear in the final work. Further sources will definitely be used. Also, in favor of preserving space, and clarity I have opted to not include a copy of my first revision in this post. Please refer to that work “My Rose and The Lily…” for a complete copy of that work, which will be revised in the forthcoming work.


  1. You've clearly done a lot of research preparing for this topic. I like that by looking at his work as a reflection of both traditional Christian symbolism and the drastic changes during the European enlightenment period we can see Blake's work in the context of a few different historical perspectives. The idea that it both represents the break away from traditionalist values in society at the same time as using those values in his own symbolism is very interesting. If you want to look into the changing society of his time, you might also include a source that serves purely as historical reference, maybe looking at the revolutions against traditionalist rule that were occurring in his time.
    If you need any other material, which I'm not sure you do based on what you already have, you could also look at his personal life. You're examining his work by looking at his society and its implications in our society, and I'm sure its reflective of his personal life as well. Looking at that could definitely give a deeper look at why these topics and changes within his society were relevant to him as an artist.

  2. Ellen's suggestions seem quite valuable - I agree that more purely historical references might play a role here as it evolves. Your research, as usual, looks good. What's a little fuzzy in this version is how/why exactly you want us to use Blake as a model for revolutionary thinking in our own time. Remember how Kandinsky says every work of art belongs to its own era? That's also the case with really valuable essays - they speak to our contemporary concerns. At some level, I think your interest in change/revolution/transvaluation of values is not wholly generic - I think you are interested in applying Blake, or Blakean ideas, to some contemporary problem or set of problems.

    I'm not urging you to make this less research-focused, and to turn it into a contemporary piece. I'm simply suggesting that your motivation is absent here, and that it's likely to be quite interesting. There should be a point of reference here that helps us focus on Blake, or that helps us understand why you are focusing upon Blake.