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G. A. Rosso, The Religion of Empire: Political Theology in Blake’s Prophetic Symbolism


R. Paul Yoder

In The Religion of Empire: Political Theology in Blake’s Prophetic Symbolism, G. A. Rosso makes a strong, systematic case for the importance of the character Rahab in Blake’s three longest poems, The Four Zoas, Milton a Poem, and Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion. It is an interesting case because Rahab is a relatively late arrival into Blake’s work, and, as Rosso himself admits, she “never speaks directly in Blake’s entire corpus” (185). Nonetheless, in an introduction and six chapters he logically and clearly moves from Rahab’s roots in the Bible to what he sees as the character’s initial appearance in Night VII of The Four Zoas as the “Shadowy Female,” her increasing ascendancy through Milton and Jerusalem, and her crucial role as part of the “dark Hermaphrodite” that menaces Albion in Jerusalem.


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