Author

Ruth LiFollow

Date

2013

Department or Program

English

Additional Department or Program (if any)

English

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Alison Hickey

Abstract

Merging literature and visual art, artist’s books reveal the fascinating experiment between word and image. The works of the Romantic poet, printer, and visionary William Blake invite exploration of this relationship. Blake's illustrations in Songs of Innocence and Experience, revelatory in themselves, often subtly undercut or complicate the meanings of his writings, offering a complex view of the songs as both literary creations and material objects. Blake conceived the medium of the book as an ideal vehicle that, marrying text and image, had the power to join the author and the reading public. In addition to interpreting Blake's poems, I examine his books as material objects, paying special attention to the relation of text and image. With Blake's powerful example in mind, I proceed to examine contemporary “artist’s books” in order to gain insights into the continuing evolution of the book form.

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