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Romantic Expressive Theory and Blake's Idea of the Audience

Morris Eaves
PMLA
Vol. 95, No. 5 (Oct., 1980), pp. 784-801
DOI: 10.2307/461757
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/461757
Page Count: 18
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Romantic Expressive Theory and Blake's Idea of the Audience
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Abstract

Most literary historians have found that the romantic shift from mimetic to expressive theories of art was "fatal to the audience"-leaving the poet a soliloquist, the audience an unnecessary appendage. Blake's idea of the audience helps show that, while artistic withdrawal certainly defines a polar phase of the theory, the logic of the theory does provide a complementary phase of fulfillment characterized by union between artist and audience. Since theories of art are often latent social theories, we can extend the logic of romantic aesthetics to outline a society of imagination.

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