‘Vala’ and the Fate of Narrative Epic

  • John Beer
Part of the Literary Lives book series (LL)


Even a cursory examination of the illuminated books dated in 1795 conveys the impression that Blake’s sense of engagement was fading. The striking illuminations that characterized The Book of Los give place to designs limited in extent by comparison with the amount of text, which is now crowded into a few pages. Such a decline of boldness suggests that towards the end of the century Blake passed through some process of disturbance: how far this may have been precipitated by possible private events such as those hinted at in the chapter on his marriage, how far by other, more public factors, is impossible to deter¬mine. We are left to draw our own conclusions by inference from the scanty evidence that survives and from indications of developments that were taking place in his own state of mind, including further reflec¬tions on his own beliefs.


Private Event Paradise Lost Cursive Script Public Factor Spiritual Sensation 
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  1. 1.
    John Barrell’s article ‘Imagining the King’s Death’, History Workshop 37 (1994) 1–32, gives a sense of the current anxieties.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© John Beer 2005

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  • John Beer

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