Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 50 no. 1: Summer 2016

Andrew M. Cooper, William Blake and the Productions of Time

  • R. Paul Yoder
24 May 2016
24 May. 2016


Andrew Cooper’s William Blake and the Productions of Time offers many challenges and many rewards. In a discussion that spans Blake’s career, but focuses primarily on the Songs of Innocence, Urizen, Milton, and the painting of The Vision of the Last Judgment, Cooper explores the interface between the past and the future (otherwise known as the present), between the external world of objects and the internal mental world of ideas, and between the human and the divine. In doing so, he connects Blake to eighteenth-century explorations of brain physiology and the processes of perception. Cooper approaches these interfaces as a sort of Zeno’s paradox, asking just how close do you have to be to the wall to register as contact? In his discussion, Blake’s image of the vortex serves as the vehicle by which this constant but constantly changing moment is entered.