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Jerusalem Building: Lolly Willowes, Blake and Rural Politics

Jerusalem Building: Lolly Willowes, Blake and Rural Politics Sylvia Townsend Warner's work is richly allusive, yet the precise purpose of her myriad references to, and echoes of, earlier works of literature often remains opaque. This essay explores one particular intertext in her work from the 1920s: the poetry of William Blake. In her essays, poetry, and in particular Lolly Willowes (1926), Warner, I argue, attempts to liberate Blake from both jingoistic nationalism and from progressive improvement. It is in particular in the intertextual dialogue she opens up with rural preservationist J. W. Robertson Scott that we can see how Warner seeks to free Blake from those who believed that Jerusalem could be literally built, rather than it being the preserve of an unfettered imagination. As I demonstrate, Laura Willowes has a series of Blakean epiphanies that allow her to become a critic of the materialism of modernity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Jerusalem Building: Lolly Willowes, Blake and Rural Politics

Modernist Cultures , Volume 15 (4): 23 – Nov 1, 2020

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2020.0307
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Sylvia Townsend Warner's work is richly allusive, yet the precise purpose of her myriad references to, and echoes of, earlier works of literature often remains opaque. This essay explores one particular intertext in her work from the 1920s: the poetry of William Blake. In her essays, poetry, and in particular Lolly Willowes (1926), Warner, I argue, attempts to liberate Blake from both jingoistic nationalism and from progressive improvement. It is in particular in the intertextual dialogue she opens up with rural preservationist J. W. Robertson Scott that we can see how Warner seeks to free Blake from those who believed that Jerusalem could be literally built, rather than it being the preserve of an unfettered imagination. As I demonstrate, Laura Willowes has a series of Blakean epiphanies that allow her to become a critic of the materialism of modernity.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2020

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