Blake 2.0: William Blake in Twentieth-Century Art, Music and by Steve Clark, Tristanne Connolly, Jason Whittaker (eds.)

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By Steve Clark, Tristanne Connolly, Jason Whittaker (eds.)

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If the artist’s work is successful, if the shaman’s ritual is effective’, Roszak claims, ‘the community’s sense of reality will become expansive; something of the dark powers will penetrate its experience’ (Counter Culture 260). The artist/shaman accordingly becomes political activist, whose role is to shape the ‘reality’ within which Blake, Roszak, and the Counter Culture 37 politics takes shape. In Roszak’s words once again: ‘Beyond the tactics of resistance, but shaping them at all times, there must be a stance of life which seeks not simply to muster power against the misdeeds of society, but to transform the very sense men have of reality’ (Counter Culture 267).

In Roszak’s summary: For Marcuse, then, liberation begins when we untie the knot of social domination. But for Brown, there is a knot within that knot: the knot of the scientific world view from which neither Marx nor Freud nor Marcuse could ever loose themselves. He replies to Marcuse with unabashed paradox: ‘... The next generation needs to be told that the real fight is not the political fight, but to put an end to politics. From politics to poetry ... ’ (Counter Culture 118) Blake, Roszak, and the Counter Culture 35 While Marcuse walks home, Brown falls into ‘the province of the visionary imagination’, which he understands not ‘as a fiction of cunningly wrought symbols, but as the reallyy real, the scandalously, subversively, dumbfoundingly real’ (Roszak, Counter Culture 115).

As a revolution’, led by reason, which would sweep ‘away social and political beliefs and forms of organization’ not based on reason. It was assumed that this would ‘free human beings from inherited inequalities, irrational fears and ignorance’ (11) and that this would be sufficient to open the present to a utopian future. If modernity is defined in this way, then Romanticism and the counter culture are anti-modernities: they mark the oxymoronic resurgence of primitive powers that modernity was meant to dispatch.

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