Join us for a live event as part of our Global Blake: In Conversation 2023 series. Mark Lussier will explore "Visionary Physics" and its engagement with William Blake's "sweet Science".
Global Blake: In Conversation with Mark Lussier - "A Return to Visionary Physics, or What Defines ‘Sweet Science’?"
The formal segment of my paper begins where my paper for the Global Blake conference concluded, the intersection/interference where contemporary physical theory meets physiological and psychological descriptions in several works by Blake that presage what has been termed “the new physics” of quantum and relativity (Lussier, Palgrave Advances, 201-213). As well, for anyone who has not read Dan Brown’s novel Origin, I offer a brief spoiler alert, since my talk opens and closes with Blake’s famous concluding line of Vala, or The Four Zoas: “The dark Religions are departed & sweet Science reigns” (Blake 407) These words provide an “End of The Dream” envisioned across nine nights. As well, their appearance achieves a crescendo to Dan Brown’s famous novel, where it serves as a password to access a powerful entity of artificial intelligence at the core of the work. Having spent a great deal energy researching and writing on Blake’s relationship to science, I felt an urge to return to visionary physics upon learning of Donald Ault’s death (author of Visionary Physics: Blake’s Response to Newton), since his work opened a productive dialogue within Blake Studies between physical dynamics and psychological events. The energized exchanges between Physis and psyche form the most fundamental of Blakean contraries, establishing their essential suspension in mutual exchanges that never “synthesized into a higher form, a new identity, which in any way is a dilution or resolution of the tension” (Ault 177). And so, let us return to visionary physics.
Mark Lussier, Dean of the Emeritus College and Emeritus Professor of English and Sustainability at Arizona State University has published the monographs Romantic Dynamics (1999) and Romantic Dharma (2011). He also edited and/or co-edited Reading Blake/Blake Reading (1986), Feminist Literary Criticism: Theory and Politics (1986), Perspective in the Art, History and Literature of Early Modern England (1994), Romanticism and the Physical (2002), Romanticism and Buddhism (2006), and Engaged Romanticism (2008). His essays have appeared in major journals in the field, including Arts Quarterly, Italian Culture, Journal of Palliative Medicine, Literature and Religion, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Oxford Public Forum, Progress in Palliative Care, Religion and Belief, Romantic Circles Praxis, Studies in Romanticism, Visible Language, Women’s Studies, and The Wordsworth Circle.