Anyone may learn to know and love William Blake. Small steps include reading, asking questions, making comments about posts made here (or anywhere else for that matter). We are ordinary people interested in Blake and anxious to meet and converse with any others. Tip: The primary text for Blake is on line. The url is Contents.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


BLAKE'S SUBLIME ALLEGORY, Edited by Stuart Curran and
Joseph Anthony Wittreich, Jr.

This book is a useful addition to the Blake shelf in our
library. It is easier to understand than some and more
thorough than others.

In addition to the helpful essay 'On Reading the Four Zoas' by
Mary Lynn Johnson and Brian Wilkie, are several others including
'The Aim of Blake's Prophecies' by Jerome McGann, which I
particularly like.

From page 16, I quote:
"...The demand is that we set the poem's terms into successively
different types of relations to each other. Blake's art is a sort of
Glass Bead Game. (Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game)
To "make sense" of his works we establish in and for them
different forms of order, based on shifting sets of dissociations
and associations, contrasts and analogies. To cease the act of
creating these relations, or ironically, unbuilding them again, is
to lapse into single vision."

page 17 "Every line ought to be an opportunity for outwitting
Satan's watch fiends, while every poem as a whole is designed
as a spiritual exercise for the encouragement of universal

page 20 "Golgonooza is the house whose windows of the
morning open out to the worlds of eternity, where Jesus dwells.
We were never meant to live in, or with it but through it."

page 21 "...artists must approach the world not with creations
which will trap men but with visions that will encourage
imaginative activity."

Trapped in the Cave of the Mind

The point to me is that Blake did not write poetry whose
meaning is discernible in static images, methods, or rules. He
wrote to encourage the kind of discernment or perception
which characterizes intuitive, imaginative, immediate response
to the image which presents itself. The way he wrote, what
he wrote, and why he wrote are all one piece: imagination
permeates all. He didn't want us to exit by the same door we
entered, so he closed that one door and left all the others

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