Patti Smith’s Blakean influence deviates from the infamous excess that has come to define rock; rather, Smith presents the alternative, individualized responses to Romanticism that illuminate the spirituality present in rock singers. . . This chapter investigates the connections between Smith and Blake and thus hopes to remind readers that female artists should be discussed in as much detail as males have been.Alicia Carpenter, Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism, p. 103
Alicia Carpenter contributed chapter five of Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2022), in which she brings together Patti Smith and William Blake on the basis of their shared upbringing in dissenting traditions — William Blake as a Moravian, Patti Smith as a Jehovah’s Witness — and how their identities as artists helped them both escape their religions of origins but still express their spirituality.
Smith is of course a significant figure in the reception of William Blake in the late twentieth century and in rock. Besides nods to Blake’s influence on her in songs like “My Blakean Year,” Smith has published her own edited collection of Blake’s poems and served as president of the UK Blake Society for a year.
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Alicia Carpenter is a graduate from King’s College, London. Currently, she is the Editor of various independent music fanzines, including Live Circuit and BOLD.
Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism
Women in Rock. Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2022) is the first book-length work exploring the interrelationships among contemporary women rock musicians and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art and literature, the literature of the Romantic era. LIMITED QUANTITIES ONLY available at a 37% discount.