Framing, inversions, and materiality in William Blake's prints and printmaking
William Blake sought, though his poetry and printmaking, to change the fundamental nature of reality and to set humanity on a redemptive course. Inspired in his studio, the artist channeled what he called "Divine Vision" into his complicated poetry and visual designs—what is commonly referred to as his unique "composite" art. The cosmic transformations that Blake sought to bring about through the dissemination of his art, however, began in the material processes of his studio, in the performance of the novel "relief etching" method of printmaking he invented. This paper examines two tropes Blake used extensively in his art, what I call "framing" and "inversions," and traces their origins in his works' production. I consider framing as it is displayed in the short lyric "The Tyger," which is about physical and conceptual acts of framing at the same time that it uses frames in its structure and poetics. To define and describe Blake's inversions, this paper focuses on Blake's epic poem Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion, in which inversions infuse the language and visual designs even as they govern the poem's narrative order. A concluding section demonstrates the two tropes' intersection in a series of framings and inversions performed by the artist in his studio where, working the wheels of his press, Blake animates not only his illuminated books but, in his mind, alternative orders of reality.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English.