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Dangerous EnthusiasmWilliam Blake and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s$
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Jon Mee

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183297.001.0001

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‘Every Honest Man is a Prophet’: Popular Enthusiasm and Radical Millenarianism

‘Every Honest Man is a Prophet’: Popular Enthusiasm and Radical Millenarianism

Chapter:
(p.20) 1 ‘Every Honest Man is a Prophet’: Popular Enthusiasm and Radical Millenarianism
Source:
Dangerous Enthusiasm
Author(s):

Jon Mee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183297.003.0002

This chapter examines William Blake's relationship with the popular culture of religious enthusiasm and the distinctive voice that culture had in the Revolution controversy. For Blake and Richard Brothers, divine inspiration was an ongoing possibility, potentially available to anyone. Such enthusiasm was felt by many contemporaries as a vulgar feature of the popular culture whereas the millenarianism of Price and Priestly was couched in a much more respectable rationalist discourse. Whereas the latter pair sought to use the Bible to justify the French Revolution, Brothers and Blake went further and offered to supplement and even replace the received prophetic canon with their own visionary experience. For Blake and Brothers, divine inspiration was an ongoing possibility, potentially available to anyone.

Keywords:   William Blake, religious enthusiasm, millenarianism, prophetic canon, radical millenarianism

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