Saturday, October 09, 2010


Sat 16 Feb 2010 09:00:35 AM EST





Throughout the 19th Century the works of William Blake
suffered almost total neglect. His message simply
surpassed contemporary currents of thought. A
voracious reader, Blake mastered (and used) the
symbology of the Bible, Plato, the Neoplatonists, Greek
mythology, Paracelsus, Boehme, and God knows what else.
(This subject will be treated in greater detail in a
future chapter on Blake's sources.)

       During the
20th century his reputation as a poet and thinker
steadily grew. His most popular collection of poems,

href="" target="-blank">'Songs of Innocence and Experience', has won

general recognition as a classic.

       Blake's three
largest works, called the major prophecies, still offer
technical difficulties that may defeat the casual
reader. Once they were thought to represent the
eccentric vagaries of an unbalanced mind; many people
considered Blake insane. Intensive Blake scholarship
over the past eighty years has slowly deciphered the
cryptograms and clarified (at least some of) the mysteries.

       What had seemed
the most insane passages often proved on closer
examination to be the most rational and meaningful. A
growing body of translation and interpretation has made
the major prophecies accessible and rewarding to the
reader willing to take reasonable pains with them.
They are now about as accessible to the general reader
as is the Bible.

A systematic acquaintance with Blake's literary

peculiarities will enhance the reader's enjoyment of his poetry.

This chapter introduces a few guiding principles of his thought

processes and literary and artistic style. First of all we

should note that Blake combined word and picture in a unique



Although he wrote unadorned poems and painted wordless
pictures, his primary mode of expression was the
illuminated manuscript, an intimate blend of graphic
and verbal art. To provide a full exposition of this
unique double form is beyond the modest goal of this
book. At this point the illuminated form is simply
mentioned as a most distinctive facet of Blake's art.

       One simple clue to reading Blake concerns his use of

dialogue; he spoke with many voices. He exercised this freedom

especially with the larger prophecies, the three major works.

These on first reading may seem to present insuperable difficulties, but the reader who pays close attention to the identity of

the speaker at each point will thereby break down the forest into

manageable groves of trees. In his three long poems Blake gave titles to various elements or speeches; they became units, landmarks

or guideposts, casting light on what at first seemed general


       In Night i of href="">'The Four Zoas' for example we find

Enitharmon's Song of
Death (FZ1-10.9; E305), the "Nuptial Song"

of the "demons of the deep" (FZ1-13.20; E308), and the message

of the Daughters of Beulah, which they call the "Wars of Death

Eternal"(FZ1-21.13; E311). These three songs comprise three

of the many selves of the human psyche; needless to say their

ideas and attitudes vary immensely. They all describe the same

event, but they see it, oh, so differently. They use the same

words with different meanings. For example consider that what

the daughters call "Death Eternal" the demons call marriage.

In this way Blake challenges the reader and stretches his mind

and immensely rewards whoever will accept the challenge. He gives

us the end of a golden string.


    To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.

    While we look not at the things which are seen,
    But at the things which are not seen:
    For the things which are seen are temporal;
    but the things which are not seen are eternal.

In The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
(the 2nd Memorable Fancy) Blake placed

in the mouth of Ezekiel a statement of his own primary purpose as

an artist and as a man, "the desire of raising other men into a

perception of the infinite". That basic aim pervades Blake's art; he was supremely interested

in what he called the infinite or the eternal, and he believed

that every man has access to it through his imagination. For a fuller
discussion of MHH go to chapter 9.

       In the majority culture people consider the material

realm to be the real. This viewpoint is so dominant that in

mathematics we speak of real and imaginary numbers as opposites.

But Blake understood that our only experience of the material

comes through our images of it. He saw reality as existing beyond the material. Like Plato he believed that the material lacks

substance; it is only the shadow of the real. The real is the infinite or the eternal, accessible through the imagination.

       All this does not mean that Blake was otherworldly in

the conventional senes. His heaven existed very much in the here

and now; its reality was not geographical but psychic. His poetry

reflects a vital interest in everything around him: personal relationships, the social scene, politics, all the works of art and

literature that he encountered.

       All these things became the raw

material for the eternal vision that haunted his mind. No one of

Blake's era recorded a more intense experience of life, a more

gripping drama of the passing scene. The political events and military campaigns of Europe march through his poems and pictures.

People have written lengthy and meaningful books on Blake as a


However from the perspective of two centuries the political level of his thought pales beside the spiritual dimension which was always his deepest concern. The political events interested Blake primarily as expressions of the human


       Poetry by its nature yields meaning at more than one

level. Most of Blake's poetry has significance at three primary

levels: political or historical, personal or psychological, and

religious or metaphysical. Blake would have denied these distinctions
because life to him was all one.

He saw the political

spiritually, the historical metaphysically. This means that the

reader may encounter an initial confusion, but if he perseveres

in the face of the complexities of symbols and thought forms, he

eventually discovers a wealth of meaning. Once again the guiding

principle is that everything points to and converges upon the eternal
reality underlying what Blake called the

shadows of life

       To think and speak eternally is no small achievement

for him or for us. Pursuing this aim he floundered for many

years (See Chapter One).

The words of Los in href="">The Four Zoas

record the moment when Blake got a firm grip on what he sought

for himself and for us:

...I already feel a World within
Opening its gates, & in it all the real substances
Of which these in the outward World are shadows which
pass away. |FZ7a-86.7; E368|

After twenty years in the visionary wilderness that

"World within" opened its gates into the mind of the mature artist and

Then he began to exercise the greatest freedom

in his artistic use of the shadows. They served him in every

conceivable way to elucidate the real world within. All the

shadows, all natural phenomena, all historical events, all works

of art, his own included, he treated as fluctuating insubstantials which illustrate or point to the eternal reality.

       Blake thought so much of Infinity that he learned to

take great liberties with time and space. In this he followed

the style of the most imaginative books of the Bible. As a young

man sitting at the feet of Swedenborg he had learned the

doctrine of correspondences

which had come down from the Bible through the

heterodox tradition. As Blake applied it, every material thing

has a spiritual or eternal referrent. In the words of the alchemical tradition, "As above, so below".

       In the Book of Revelation for example Babylon, a code

word for Rome, more generally connotes the citadel of worldly power and evil. Blake of course used it in the same way. He used

geographical locations of all sorts to point to spiritual realities. Africa symbolizes slavery in all its forms, particularly

the href="">"mind forg'd manacles" (from London) of the moral law. America

symbolizes the hope of freedom. In the 16th plate of href="">'Jerusalem'

(J16.1; E159) Blake went to extremes with this sort of

symbolization; he superimposed the territorial tribes of Israel

upon the map of England. The lapse into obscurantism was an

unfortunate attempt to evoke spiritual values from a very prosaic

material reality.

       He more often succeeded in translating historical events

and personages into spiritual realities. Constantine and Charlemayne symbolize war with religion as its handmaid. Albion is

Blake's master symbol for Man, but sometimes Moses symbolizes

Man; Michael and Satan then symbolize the forces of light and

darkness in contest for Man. In Blake's last great work Job became the archetypal man.

       Some of his symbols (Orc, Urizen, Los) Blake elaborated

into the dramatis personae of his complete myth. Their identities, not immediately apparent, grow and take on new and fuller

meaning throughout a life time of reading Blake. The fascination of the prophecies lies in watching these strange symbols

come forth from the mists of confusion and speak with ever increasing authority to the reader about himself and his world.

       Beginning with the traditional language of symbolic

discourse Blake learned to translate every facet of man's experience into a symbol of the ultimate:

    ...Each grain of Sand,

    Every Stone on the Land,

    Each rock & each hill,

    Each fountain & rill,

    Each herb & each tree,

    Mountain, hill, earth & sea,

    Cloud, Meteor & Star,

    Are Men Seen Afar.

    (from Blake poem, To Thomas Butts)

       And two years later, in another letter poem:

    For double the vision my Eyes do see,

    And a double vision is always with me.

    With my inward Eye 'tis an old Man grey;

    With my outward, a Thistle across my way.

       Blake used earlier works of art as symbols which he put

together to convey his thoughts about the eternal struggle and flux

of values. He used the Bible, Milton, earlier Blake in the same

way, all as a reservoir of ideational symbols combined into new

forms to convey spiritual truth. This habit of mind can be described awkwardly at best. But it can be experienced vividly by

the reader who will live into Blake's poetry. It's one of the

ways in which he expressed his "desire of raising other men into a

perception of the infinite".



As we have seen, Blake like the biblical writers expressed the eternal by means of metaphors or symbols from sense

experience. Logical positivists deny meaning either to the eternal per se or to value of any sort (other than quantitative);

Blake of course stood at the opposite pole. He despised the mental world of the positivists whom he knew best: href="">Bacon, Newton,

and Locke. They had directed men's thoughts away from the spiritual and toward the natural world. In violent reaction Blake refused any significance to natural events aside from their eternal


language language for href="">Jonathan Swift, with his

Lilliputians and his talking horses, had developed irony into a

fine art and a popular form of English writing.

Irony among other things separates out the less bright.

When Blake makes a statement like, "As I was walking among the

fires of Hell, delighted....", whoever attempts to read this literally thereby excludes himself from understanding. But ask

the question--what does Blake mean by the fires of Hell? A few

lines before he had said that hell or evil is "the active springing from Energy". In this way he responds to the viewpoint of

the pious. The knowledge of irony makes us aware that he disagrees with their value structure. Blake suggests that the 'religious' most likely would perceive his ideas as evil, so he ironically accepts their judgment as if to say, "Okay, I'm evil; if

delighting in energy is evil, then I'm evil." He must have been

in contact with some soul deadening religionists when he wrote


A real tail-twister, MHH has thrilled thousands of sophomores and helped them to endure frustrating experiences with

"good people".

Writing shortly before Hegel Blake, with his doctrine

of contraries (reason and energy, innocence and experience, love

and jealousy, heaven and hell), vividly displayed the obverse of

every truth which he considered. He often simply assumed the obvious or conventional wisdom as a starting point, not bothering

to state it explicitly. Instead he went directly to its opposite,

calling our attention to the dimension of truth buried on the other side of the conventional. From this dialectic he finally

arrived at a synthesis.

       He had a habit of inverting the meaning of the most

sacred words, for example "holiness". For Blake, as for many

others since his day, the holy most often seemed holier than

thou. Sometimes he used the word with an alliterative adjective

such as:
hypocritic holiness"
(plate 13; line 25).

Holiness characterizes the self righteous pharisee, who is most

insidious because he judges as non-holy all those who don't

measure up to his standard: "God, I thank thee that I am not as

other men." Holiness of course relates to the law, which Blake

despised for its life denying power. Furthermore he thought

holiness often rather stupid. In a climactic speech near the

end of 'Jerusalem' Los cries:

           I care not whether a Man is Good or Evil; all that I care
    Is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go, put off Holiness
    And put on Intellect....

       Having excoriated (false) holiness Blake also tells us

what the word really means with his sacred line, found at the end

of MHH:

    "Everything that lives is holy".

Since he wrote it, only

a few great souls in the west, like Albert Schweitzer with his

"reverence for life", have risen to that level of vision.

       Religion, like holiness, Blake almost always used as a

pejorative. A deeply religious man, though he might have denied it

at times, Blake keenly focused on the seedy side of religion: the

greedy priest, the life denying marriage law, the blasphemous alliance between an established church and the military lust of an

oppressive crown. "Religion" for Blake most often conveyed these

dire meanings, the sort of thing that "good people" feel should

be slurred over or ignored. Blake felt they should be named, and this

he proceeded to do in great detail with his descriptions of religion.

       "Elect" and "reprobate" are two words known today primarily by theologians. In Blake's day they were more common.

They came into prominence with Calvin's Institutes. The two

words basically differentiate the "good people", bound for heaven,

from the others. The doctrine of election represented the core

or key of Calvinism. Blake adopted the conventional meanings, but

he related them, not to the conventional God, but to the God of

this World
. His elect are those fully conformed to the God of

this World. His reprobate is Jesus and others like him who are

despised and persecuted by the elect.

The Bard's Song"

(Plate 2, line 22), the first third of Blake's major poem,

'Milton', concerns the creation of the three classes of men: the
Elect, the Redeemed and the Reprobate:

"Of the first class was Satan...."

For more on The Bard's Song look at a file in the Yahoo
Blake group called The Farrm at Felpham.

       With such inversions Blake provokes his reader to think

more deeply about these terms of value. As you go through the

hundreds of pages of Blake's poetry, these and similar terms recur

at frequent intervals. The reader who keeps in mind the ironic

dimension has a good chance to get the full and vivid impact of

Blake's meaning.


Blake made words into jewels, and with the utmost freedom he displayed their multiple facets. To the most significant

words of the English language he gave a new wealth of meaning.

The language contains a limited number of terms that relate to

ultimate value: God, heaven and hell, good
and evil, love href="notes.htm#death">death.

Blake's poetry exhaustively explores the meaning of these words

as symbols of value. A later chapter will describe Blake's images

of God. Here we look at his use of 'love' and 'death' as examples

of his general style and for the light they shed upon his basic

habits of thought.

       The general fate of all great words is to be steadily

abused and debased. We heard for example about the 'democracy' of

the Soviet Union. The word 'love' is certainly no exception to

this rule. A seaman may reach port and hasten to the nearest waterfront establishment to find love. In polite circles of course

we don't speak with such vulgarity.

       The devout have put the word 'love' very close to the

acme of the language. In John's first epistle marvelous use of

it is made to show the relationship between God and man. We see

the same thing in Paul. Look at some of the jewels of the English


God is love.

God so loved the world....

[Love] beareth all things....

And now abideth faith, hope and love, these three; but
the greatest of these is love.

       From that sacred backdrop it's easy to be offended at

the use our poet makes of the word. Worse than the seaman, he

turns everything upside down and comes up with href="">the Bible of Hell

(MHH: end of Plate 24). In his poems love most often connotes the

worst forms of human behaviour. How gross! But Blake knows that

'love' is not God; quoting Bob Dylan, it's a four letter word. It means many things

to many people, and even to the same person in a variety of

states. Like the grain of sand Blake wants to show infinity in

the word, in this case the infinite variety of meanings that it

carries, all the minute particulars. He wants to marry Heaven and


       Of course like every other word love conveys basically

two meanings. We all have some experience of God's love and the

Devil's love. And Blake sets out to show us both very clearly.

He aims for us to learn to distinguish the two and to make a wise

choice between them.

The enchanting poem, Thel, lives and

breathes the exquisite fragrance of divine love. In it the

humblest creatures of nature--the lily, the cloud, and the clod

of clay--know themselves as favored by God; in response their

love goes out to all. Their perfect love casts out fear; death

means only tenfold life. Here we meet innocent love at its best.

But after the first five plates of Thel we come to sterner stuff.

We don't meet divine love again in Blake's poetry until the href="">appearance
of the Saviour
(FZ8-100[1st].10;E372) in the later

additions to 'The Four Zoas'.

In Songs of Experience the clod of clay returns, this

time as one of the contraries.

A very elementary lesson about

love confronts the reader of "The Clod and the
. It shows with stark simplicity the two kinds of love,
divine and demonic.

       Two kinds of love! Blake will explore the pebble's

love with its infinite variety of forms before he allows us to

rest again in the love of God.

Blake's poem, href="">Visions
of the Daughters of Albion, (Look also at the href="">Plates)
begins with the words, "I loved Theotormon".

The heroine, Oothoon,

thus describes the first significant act in a life of horror.

Before the consummation of her love for Theotormon she is raped

by Bromion. Then Theotormon won't have her; well named, he's

tormented by God. Woman as a possession makes life hell for

everyone. Here we find Blake's first full manifestation of the

"torments of love and jealousy".

       At the climax of this strange love song, with the irony

all spent, Oothoon properly assesses conventional love and brands


    "self-love that envies all, a creeping skeleton
    With lamplike eyes watching around the frozen marriage bed."

       Those are hot, passionate words of righteous indignation at what fallen men have made of love. Oothoon then proceeds

to offer a happier form of married love:

    "But silken nets and traps of adamant
    will Oothoon spread,
    And catch for thee girls of mild silver,
    or of furious gold.
    I'll lie beside thee on a bank & view their wanton play
    In lovely copulation, bliss on bliss, with Theotormon

(For an ampler description of this "Vision" look at

Section I of Chapter 8

       With these extravagant images the young poet shocks his

reader into an awareness of love's spectrum of value. In the

ironic language of 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' the first,

jealous love, is the love of Heaven or Restraint, and the second,

the selfless love, is that of Hell or Eternal Delight. This

version of values set the style for Blake's use of the word. It

became in his hands a sharp sword penetrating to the core of

society's ills.

       The subtitle of The Four Zoas begins, "The Torments

of Love & Jealousy". Violent and passionate feelings characterize

the entire epic. As soon as the reader can envision 4Z as a

whole, he will perceive that all these passionate feelings in all

of these characters have a common destructiveness and alienating

effect, until the Moment of Grace recorded in Night vii. Love,

hate, fear, pride, humiliation, all are united in this common


       In Night i the primeval pair, Los and Enitharmon, set

the tone for the meaning of love in this fallen world. (They all

too aptly portray the emotional universe of many married couples):

"Alternate Love & Hate [filled] his breast: hers Scorn & Jealousy".

Enitharmon believes love to be a one way street. Speaking to Los

of their parents:

    "...if we grateful prove

    They will withhold sweet love,

    whose food is thorns & bitter roots."

       And in Night ii she announces her philosophy of the relations between man and woman:

    "The joy of woman is the death of her most best beloved

    Who dies for Love of her

    In torments of fierce jealousy & pangs of adoration."

       There you have love at its worst! This fairly represents Blake's ironic use of the word in his major work. In

Blake's symbolic structure of thought love is most often a function of woman, who is a symbol of fallenness (See CHAPTER EIGHT).

Not until 'Jerusalem' do we meet the feminine embodiment of the

Christian graces, among them love divine.

       The notebook poem which begins, "My Spectre around me

night and day" merits study as an approach to understanding the

use of Blake's symbolism to express his deepest feelings about

life. I quote the climax of it. In the first verse Blake means

by 'love' very much what Paul in Romans 8 meant by 'flesh'. In

the second, without using the word, he expresses in the fullest

possible way what divine love meant to him:

    Let us agree to give up Love,

    And root up the infernal grove;

    Then shall we return & see

    The worlds of happy Eternity.

    & Throughout all Eternity

    I forgive you, you forgive me.

    As our dear Redeemer said:

    This the Wine & this the Bread.

(from href="">Broken Love)

As these lines suggest, Blake had a strong sense of reticence about using the sacred words in the sacred sense, perhaps

because he had so exhaustively explored their profane senses.

Nevertheless in the poem "William Bond" from the Pickering Manuscript

he gave an exquisite portrait of romantic love, purified of

fallenness and filled with the divine. Read the last two


       I thought Love liv'd in the hot sun shine,

But O, he lives in the Moony light!

I thought to find Love in the heat of day,

But sweet Love is the Comforter of Night.

       Seek Love in the Pity of others' Woe,

In the gentle relief of another's care,

In the darkness of night & the winter's snow,

In the naked & outcast, Seek Love there!

       If its visions of love express the quality of a culture,

so also does the face which it presents to death. Our society expends enormous sums on the professional removal of all evidence of

death from our consciousness, even in the teeth of the stark reality.
Ernest Becker, in The Denial of Death, showed the ubiquity

of this impulse in American culture. His title, a poetic term,

can just as easily mean one thing as the other. Like all symbols

of value we encounter good denials of death and bad ones.

       The poetry of Walt Whitman expresses one of the best.

Like our poet Whitman was so sure of Eternity that the end of natural life had no terrors for him. He gained first hand experience

with death as a hospital volunteer during the Civil War. Exceptionally memorable is his address to a dying soldier, "I don't

commiserate, I congratulate you". Here is the exact opposite of

the forms of denial most often exercised by the mortician, who

simply does all he can to encourage us not to think about it.

       In one of his earliest writings Blake explored the

meaning of death to an ordinary young man and his loved ones.

The Couch of Death (Erdman 441) voices the common fears of humanity but moves

to the faithful reality that Blake possessed throughout his days,

ending "and the youth breathes out his soul with joy into eternity".

       Blake's idealism found expression in the simple inversion of death, an idea that goes back as far as Heraclitus, who

speaking of the Eternals said, "we live their death, and we die

their life". The thought comes down to us through Euripides,

Plato, and many others as late as Thomas Wolfe.

Most often when

Blake speaks of "
Eternal" he expresses the viewpoint of the

Eternals; they meant by the term "this mortal life". Three times

in Plate 14 of Milton the poet in Heaven, having heard the

"Bard's Song" about Satan and recognizing Satan as his own Self-

hood, says, "I go to Eternal Death!". He clearly means to return to this world, reenacting the kenosis (self emptying) of Christ.

       Otherwise Blake used the word 'death' more straightforwardly than he had used 'love' and in two general senses. In

fairly common parlance death is the opposite of the creative.

Speaking of the Law in 'Jerusalem' the Divine Voice says:

    No individual can keep these Laws, for they are death
    To every energy of man and forbid the springs of life."

       If you read Paul's epistles, you will discover that

he used 'death' in the same ways. For example "And you hath he

quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians
). Paul is always

reminding the Christian that he participates in the death and resurrection of Christ.

       Secondly, Blake used 'death' in its most proper sense

as the end of mortal life, but whenever he touched this subject,

he always denied the materialistic viewpoint that death is the

end. A clear example comes in Gates of Paradise, a short synoptic and pictorial description of Blake's myth of life:

    " But when once I did descry
    The Immortal Man that cannot Die,
    Thro' evening shades I haste away
    To close the Labours of my Day."

       Though he lived intensely, the love of the Ideal and

his life long visions of Eternity led Blake to yearn for the

Beyond and to depreciate material existence. Like the apostle

Paul he had a "desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is

far better". Blake made a deliberate attempt through the aid of

the doctrine of correspondences
to live each moment of earthly

life in the eternal realm, "to see a World in a Grain of Sand".

Expressed negatively,

    "I assert for My Self that I do not behold
    the outward Creation & that to me it is
    hindrance & not Action;
    it is as the Dirt upon my feet,
    No part of Me."

And as stated in

CHAPTER ONE he died with a song of praise on his lips. His life

and all his art provide a convincing testimony for the reality of

the Beyond. It was really Death that was "Dirt upon his feet".

       Finally Blake used 'death' in the uniquely Christian

context of self giving. At the end of 'Jerusalem' Jesus explains

to Albion the meaning of his own death and its significance as a

universal form of relationship:

           ...Fear not Albion: unless I die thou canst not live;

    But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me.

    This is Friendship & Brotherhood: without it Man is Not.

    ....Wouldest thou love one who never died

    For thee, or ever die for one who had not died for thee?

    And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself

    Eternally for Man, Man could not exist; for Man is Love

    As God is Love; every kindness to another is a little Death
    In the Divine Image, nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood.

       These explorations of 'love' and 'death' may help the

reader to grasp some of the poetic meanings attached to Blake's

other terms of value, words like heaven and hell, good and evil,

truth and error. Always watch for irony, for the other point of

view, the reverse side of the coin. In such ways Blake continually provokes the intellect. He delights the person who enjoys

an intellectual challenge--and frustrates others. He intimated

as much in a letter to Dr. Trusler, who likely belonged to the

second category:

    " But you ought to know that What is Grand is necessarily

    obscure to Weak men. That which can be made Explicit to

    the Idiot is not worth my care. The wisest of the Ancients

    consider'd what is not too Explicit as the fittest for

    Instruction, because it rouzes the faculties to act. I

    name Moses, Solomon, Esop, Homer, Plato."


So much for Blake's use of words; the Word now engages

our attention. Conventional Christian thought, following the

Prologue of John, identifies the Word or Logos with the Eternal

Christ, incarnated by Jesus. In addition we have the Written

Word, the Bible, the record of God's dealings with Man. Broadening this somewhat we get the Living Word, the Spirit of the first

two falling upon the heart of the believer. This approximates

the meaning of the Word for Blake. Finally, in his eternal

vision the Word was not confined to the content of the Bible,

but included all of God's statements to the world.

The Word was

a Man who contained among his parts everything in the universe.

The artist proclaims the Word, and Blake perceived it

as successively recreated by each generation. He understood the

Bible in this way as a series of recreations of the Word. So also was the work of Origen, Plotinus, Paracelsus,

Boehme, Swedenborg, all recreators of the Word.

Blake rightly

perceived Milton's poetry, especially his epic poem, 'Paradise

Lost', as the definitive English recreation of the Word, and

he hoped to do for later generations what Milton had done for

earlier ones. All of the artists named, and of course innumerable

others, had dealt extensively with the Bible, interpreting it,

commenting upon it, correcting it, adding to it. Lacking the

usual superstitious awe of the Bible Blake saw all of these as

legitimate activities and indeed as the appropriate vocation of

every artist; in that way man becomes One and Christ is formed.


A fascinating study of Blake's myth appears
to have come from the studies of a Va Tech student named
target="">Justin Scott Van Kleeck. This student
showed remarkable insight in these and some other
essays also appearing on the web.

No comments: