Blake’s ‘Horses of Instruction’

  • Kurt FossoEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


Although several studies have begun to consider the place and meaning of animals in Blake, little attention has yet been paid to horses and their horsepower, in what was still a very horse-drawn Britain. Fosso examines these animals’ deep significance for Blake’s art and life, including the scarcely known prominence of a small horse named Bruno, ridden during the poet’s three years in Sussex. Fosso argues that, throughout Blake’s works, equines serve as ‘fiery’ corporeal and metaphysical vehicles towards an infinite, multifarious animality, bursting beyond enclosed human reason, the delimited five senses, and selfhood. Hence, at Milton’s conclusion, in a finale powered by horses, Blake depicts equine instruction and genius as helping liberate a pan-animal ‘Human Form Divine’, within a co-operative merging of shared being.



For their encouragement and guidance, not to mention good horse sense, I wish to thank G. E. Bentley, Jr., Joseph Viscomi, and the two editors of this volume.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lewis & Clark CollegePortlandUSA

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