Linda Freedman will speak about William Blake’s Urizen books (The First Book of Urizen, The Book of Los and The Book of Ahania) as retellings and critiques of Genesis, which are embedded in, and informed by, late eighteenth-century debates over scriptural authority. Addressing Blake’s use of both visual images and text in the Urizen books, she will look at the relationship between creativity, form, fallenness and fallibility; worlds we make and narratives we lose; worlds which might have been.
Looking primarily at ‘Fall’ interpretations of Genesis, and later interpretations that question and sometimes deny the theology of the Fall, Meg Warner will engage ‘worlds’ which are created and then broken and/or re-created through scriptural interpretation. She will trace how such legacies of interpretation play out in contemporary politics and theology, including where issues in human sexuality are concerned.
Dr Linda Freedman is a Lecturer in English and American literature at University College London. She is the author of Emily Dickinson and the Religious Imagination (CUP 2011) and William Blake and the Myth of America: from the Abolitionists to the Counterculture (OUP 2018). Her research and teachings interests are transatlantic and interdisciplinary, ranging from the Romantic period to the present and focusing on the relationship between literature, religion, politics and the visual arts. She is currently writing a cultural history of the Book of Genesis.
Dr Megan Warner is Postdoctoral Researcher based at the University of Exeter, working on its Templeton-Funded project ‘Tragedy and Congregations’. Previously she has taught in the field of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at King’s College London and University of Divinity, Melbourne. She is a Reader and General Synod member in the Church of England and the author of Re-Imagining Abraham: A Re-Assessment of the Influence of Deuteronomism in Genesis (Leiden: Brill, 2018) and Abraham: A journey through Lent (London: SPCK, 2015).