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Vol. 48 no. 2: Fall 2014

Steven Goldsmith, Blake’s Agitation: Criticism and the Emotions

  • G. A. Rosso
3 October 2014
03 Oct. 2014


This is an imaginative, deeply learned, and passionately argued book. The thinking and writing are sustained throughout at exceptionally high levels. Complex and difficult but readable and clear, the book makes an original and important contribution to Blake studies, though its aims and interests are much broader and more ambitious. I will focus on Goldsmith’s approach to and interpretation of Blake, but since he uses Blake to explore larger concerns in literary theory, the field of emotion/affect studies, and the relation of critical thought to political theory and action, I take these into view. The thread that ties these areas together is the centrality of reading in modern culture, about which Goldsmith has innovative and insightful things to say.