From Vala’s Veil to Christ’s Fibres of Love: William Blake’s Figure of Morality in Jerusalem
|Keywords:||廢棄道德律論;道德律法;感傷主義;面紗;娃拉;寬恕;antinomianism;Moral Law;sentimentalism;veil;, Vala;forgiveness||Issue Date:||2010||Abstract:||
William Blake expounds his concept of morality in his last epic Jerusalem. He develops the bone of his moral stance from antinomianism—hostility against the Moral Law and affirmation of the Everlasting Gospel—and he finds flesh from Hinduism and sentimentalism to substantiate his discussion. Compressing references to the veil of the temple and to the Hindu Maya in Vala’s veil, Blake makes Vala a composite figure that represents all the destructive consequences of the Moral Law. Blake’s critique of the Moral Law aims especially at its counterpart—sentimental morality—in the culture of sentimentalism. Presenting the veiled Vala as a parody of sentimental heroine, Blake reveals that the exclusive cultivation of feelings for moral codes does not cement community, but rather obstructs interpersonal relationships and thus leads to tyrannical egocentrism.
To circumvent the egocentric tendency of sentimental morality, Blake revises David Hume’s moral philosophy of sympathy and proposes the doctrine of forgiveness as a remedy. From Humean sympathy, Blake derives the “fibres” imagery for his ethics of forgiveness, but he sidesteps the risks of solipsism inherent in Hume’s theory by emphasizing the unconditional and voluntary aspects of forgiveness. Blake’s cultivation of forgiveness in Jerusalem indicates a rigorous revision of his attitude toward the French Revolution. Having witnessed and reflected on the aftermath of the Revolution, Blake exhorts to remedy the confrontation and violence in the British society by performing mutual forgiveness.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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