Global Blake
Global Blake: Christoph Reinfandt
Christoph Reinfandt explores various musical settings of Blake with a view to the implications of genre

Of all British Romantic writers, William Blake has inspired by far the most musical settings of  his work, ranging from ‘classically’ composed, as in William Parry’s well-known setting of “And  did those feet in ancient time” (“Jerusalem”, 1916), Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Ten Blake Songs  (1957), Benjamin Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake (1965) and John Tavener’s The  Lamb (1982), to poet Allen Ginsberg’s musical performances of the Songs of Innocence and  Experience(1969) and on to various performances and recordings in jazz, folk and rock/pop  idioms.1It is these latter that the proposed paper intends to focus on: While the field of Blake’s  musical reception has been broadly charted (cf. for example, Paris 2014, Lussier 2007, Walker  2018, Root 2018, Lobdell 2018, Sanders 2018, Whittaker 2019), the proposed paper will try to  contextualise individual musical settings though the concept of genre. Centrally drawing on  Mike Goode’s “Blakespotting” (2006) and bringing together his reference to Wai Chee Dimock’s  “Theory of Resonance” (1997) with more recent work on new modes of reading and  interpretation (esp. Steven Connor’s “Spelling Things Out”, 2014) as well as on how to analyse  and interpret media textures in general (my own “Reading Textures”, 2016) and songs in  particular (Allan Moore, Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song,  2012), the paper will address the implications of musical genres for reception processes and  try to place these in the broader field of Blake reception, from the academically historicised  through commodification to the visionary and artistic.


Christoph Reinfandt is Professor of English Literature at the University of Tuebingen. He is the General  Editor of ZAA (Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik), an English language quarterly of language,  literature and culture. His main areas of research are the history and theory of the novel, Romanticism,  contemporary literature and culture (including popular culture), Indian literature in English, and  theory. He has written monographs on the meaning of fictional worlds in the English novel from the  18th century to the present (Winter, 1997), on the persistence of Romantic modes of communication  in modern culture (Winter, 2003), and on English Romanticism (E. Schmidt, 2008). Recent edited  collections include Theory Matters: The Place of Theory in Literary and Cultural Studies Today(with  Martin Middeke; Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), The Literary Market in the UK (with Amrei Katharina  Nensel; E-publication University of Tuebingen, 2017) and Handbook of the English Novel of the  Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (De Gruyter, 2017).

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