The great expositors of Blake and those who have followed in their footsteps have clarified the most minute particulars of Blake's vision. Now, in the place of traditional exegesis, comes a significantly new set of critical problems and interpretive methods. In this volume of essays, the major shift in Blake studies, already under way in practice, is addressed, gauged, analyzed, and debated.
The contributors assembled here, leading exponents of contemporary critical methods as well as close students of Blake, argue the grounds, purposes, and validity of each approach and then apply its method in detailed readings of Blake's works. We see deconstruction, psychoanalytic interpretation, feminist critique, semiotic analysis, Marxist criticism, revisionism, and other methods brought to bear on Blake's texts and into confrontation with one another by those best able to do so.
Through the essays themselves and in the reaction they will certainly provoke, Critical Paths will bring increased theoretical awareness to the study of Blake and will further the ongoing redefinition of Blake's art. At the same time, the collection investigates the general problem of methodology in literary studies by means of a casebook examination of modern critical approaches. Blake criticism and current literary theory here come together; the encounter illuminates and enriches both.