Errata, Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety

This page contains a list of corrections and clarifications for James Rovira’s monograph Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum 2010). Please feel free to recommend additional corrections in the comments. I have not yet checked the Bibliography.

Corrections:

  • p. 53: “Wentworth” for “Wedgwood” china — I thought I corrected this one long before the proofs.
  • p. 71: “anciety” for “anxiety.” No idea how this one made it past the proofs.
  • p. 85: “describe” for “describes,” first complete sentence on page.
  • p. 115: “…everyday lovers’ spats[,] but rather to observe…” Insert comma where indicated.
  • p. 145, Ch. 3, n. 1: Substitute “personality” for “tradition” for what I think was my intent, but I would prefer this sentence to say that On the Concept of Irony is a critique of German Romantic appropriations of Socratic irony.

Clarifications:

On how Medieval theology viewed the self:

  • p. 1: “…were radical departures from centuries-old cosmologies and from classical models of a human being as a synthesis of body, soul, and spirit.” See also the first sentence on p. 60.
  • Clarification: While a tripartite view of the self was common during the first three centuries of the Christian church, Roman Catholic theology since at least the ninth century viewed human beings as a synthesis of body and spirit or soul, seeing the words “spirit” and “soul” as two different words for the same entity. It therefore rejects a tripartite view of the self. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, Paragraph 6.II.362-8. Furthermore, the division into body and soul is seen by Roman Catholicism as somewhat artificial: human beings are a unity, so that the soul is the “form” of the body, and the two together form a single nature (a view similar to that of Blake’s devils in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Erdman p. 34). Tripartite views of the self have long been a persistent minority position, however, and remnants of it surface (or are implied by) Medieval hermeneutics, which I believe I established well in my discussion of Origen (pp. 38-9). See also Aquinas on hermeneutics, which seems to elaborate on a tripartite model that Aquinas did not himself hold. Luther very likely believed in a tripartite self, which would explain Kierkegaard’s own belief in a tripartite self, as is evident from both Concept of Anxiety and the opening pages of The Sickness Unto Death. Blake, I am coming to believe, is probably closer to the traditional Roman Catholic position with some modifications. These modifications may only be polemic.
  • RESULT: my comment above needed to be further nuanced by this history. I was not ignorant of it at the time but was perhaps too focused on the schema while writing to provide this background where appropriate. My forthcoming chapter for Ziolkowski’s anthology Kierkegaard, Literature, and the Arts (Northwestern University Press) corrects this failure to address the history of Roman Catholic theology.

Other clarifications:

  • General: Both Blake and Kierkegaard were raised by Moravian parents, a significant point of similarity. Time constraints while writing did not allow me to pursue this facet of Blake’s and Kierkegaard’s lives, but my above mentioned chapter for Ziolkowski’s forthcoming anthology focuses upon this very aspect of their lives, arguing that their views of and appropriation of the works of Plato and the figure of Socrates were in part determined by their shared Moravian background. In this chapter I rely heavily upon the work of Keri Davies, among others, as I wish I had the opportunity to prior to publication. If I could release a second edition of Blake and Kierkegaard, I would insert this chapter for Ziolkowski’s anthology between chapters one and two of Blake and Kierkegaard, as it provides a link between the social history described in chapter 1 and the intellectual history described in chapters two through four.
  • p. 11: “In contrast, England, Scotland, and Wales united into Great Britain through the 1707 Act of Union…” Technically true, but it should be noted that Wales was joined to England in the sixteenth century.
  • p. 66: “…prior to linking the progress from innocence to fall to creation in Blake.” I’m unhappy with the word “linking.” “Following” may be a better choice.
  • p. 103: Claim that Blake is free from “clarity, simplicity, and common sense.” Perhaps just a bit of hyperbole, but given the opportunity to revise, I would eliminate “common sense” from the list, as it is too general and unprofessional a term, and as I believe Blake exhibits a great deal of common sense in his marginalia to Reynolds on this specific point.
  • p. 116: Last sentence in the section, “Urizen the Reflective-Aesthetic King” — replace the word “notion” with “understanding of the type of… self being created.”
  • p. 125: “…some was bound, [so that] human beings [are] sparks…” Editing for style and clarity.
  • p. 145: Annoying habit of saying that previous scholarship “resembles my own” when I should be saying that my work resembles theirs.
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