New book explores the role of Oothoon in Visions of the Daughters of Albion

Joshua Schouten de Jel's second book is due to be published on March 15.

William Blake's Divine Love, Visions of Oothoon, will be published by Routledge on 15 March:

Despite the fact that William Blake summarises the plot of Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) in just eight lines in the prefatory ‘Argument,’ there are several contentious moments in the poem which continue to cause debate. Critics read Oothoon’s call to Theotormon’s eagles and her offer to catch girls of silver and gold as either evidence of her rape-damaged psyche or confirmation of her selfless love which transcends her socio-sexual state. How do we reconcile the attack of Theotormon’s eagles and the wanton play of the girls with Oothoon’s articulate and highly sophisticated expressions of spiritual truth and free love?

In William Blake’s Divine Love: Visions of Oothoon, Joshua Schouten de Jel explores the hermeneutical possibilities of Oothoon’s self-annihilation and the epistemological potential of her visual copulation by establishing an artistic and hagiographical heritage which informs the pictorial representation and poetic pronunciation of Oothoon’s enlightened entelechy. Working with Michelangelo’s The Punishment of Tityus (1532) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1647–51), Oothoon’s ecstatic figuration reflects two iconographic traditions which, framed by the linguistic tropes of divine love expressed within a female-centred mystagogy, reveal the soteriological significance of Oothoon’s willing self-sacrifice.

Joshua Schouten de Jel lectures at a number of universities, including Plymouth, Bath Spa, the Open University, and Falmouth.

William Blake's Divine Love is available from the Routledge web site and other bookstores.