Martin Heidegger and William Blake: Toward an Ontological Aesthetics

Dissertation, The University of Texas at Arlington (2001)
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This discussion interprets William Blake's poetry and painting across the hermeneutic philosophy of Martin Heidegger and his analysis of Dasein. It shows Blake's eighteenth-century discourse to be, like Heidegger's philosophy of Dasein, a radical critique of philosophical, scientific, and artistic thinking. To better understand the connections between Blake and Heidegger, the development of aesthetic philosophy from classical aesthetics through Nietzsche is charted. The parameters of eighteenth-century aesthetics, and the rise of hermeneutics in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, are discussed as a response to the limitations of the neoclassical. On this basis, ideas and practices central to Blake's poetry such as "eternity" and "Albion" are compared to Heidegger's concepts of Dasein in order to shed additional light on the pioneering nature of Blake's work, and to see that he may be understood in terms of later aesthetic philosophies
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