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Friday, February 26, 2010


Blake's Sublime Allegory continues to be a fertile source for gaining understanding of Blake message. This is from the chapter, Blake's Radical Comedy, by W.J.T. Mitchell, page 305.

"The second thing we ought to notice is that the courage required for self-annihilation is not in itself sufficient to redeem either the self or the world. Milton's act would remain within the fruitless cycle of creation and destruction which continues to trap the male imagination, even after his descent, if it were not for Ololon's response, her renewal to life to balance his descent to death. Ololon's final transformation into an ark and a dove, the bearer and messenger of life amidst the annihilating flood, occurs when she casts off her false femininity. Her seeking out Milton reverses the traditional passive role of the virtuous heroine in epic and romance, but she does not escape this role by becoming a female warrior, a woman in the armor of a man. "A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War" (40:20). On the contrary, she sees that the stereotypes ruling the behavior of both sexes are the basis for the vicious cycle which entraps the best efforts of Milton and the sons of Los, and that these roles must be annihilated and recreated as human relationships before the cycle can be broken and transformed into the fruitful, liberating dialectic of contraries."

In this short passage and the pages surrounding it, we get help in understanding many of Blake's concepts.

1)First that annihilation is not the total solution for redemption. Annihilation is the 'bottom', the point where regeneration can begin in the individual and society.

2)The relationship of the male and female, the active and the receptive, are necessary ingredients in breaking the cyclical pattern called the Orc cycle (construction and destruction repeating itself.)

3)The female's role is not adopting the male's attitude of making the opposite sex into a 'commodity', but relinquishing the female attitude of jealousy of the males role as initiator.

4)The contribution of the female is to be the carrier of life and hope through which male and female can regenerate a relationship based on Human (unified), attitudes rather than Sexual (divided), attitudes.

5)Contraries are redeemed when the Negative of seeing them as being opposed to one another rather complementing one another, is annihilated.

Milton, Plate 35 [39], (E 135)
"O how the Starry Eight rejoic'd to see Ololon descended!
And now that a wide road was open to Eternity,"

Plate 40 [46] (E 142)
"But turning toward Ololon in terrible majesty Milton
Replied. Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man
All that can be annihilated must be annihilated

That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved from slavery
There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary
The Negation must be destroyd to redeem the Contraries
The Negation is the Spectre; the Reasoning Power in Man
This is a false Body: an Incrustation over my Immortal
Spirit; a Selfhood, which must be put off & annihilated alway
To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by Self-examination.

PLATE 41 [48]
To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human
I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration
To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour
To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration
To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albions covering
To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination
To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration
Then trembled the Virgin Ololon & replyd in clouds of despair

Is this our Femin[in]e Portion the Six-fold Miltonic Female
Terribly this Portion trembles before thee O awful Man
Altho' our Human Power can sustain the severe contentions
Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot: but flies into the Ulro.
Hence arose all our terrors in Eternity! & now remembrance
Returns upon us! are we Contraries O Milton, Thou & I
O Immortal! how were we led to War the Wars of Death
Is this the Void Outside of Existence, which if enterd into

PLATE 42 [49]
Becomes a Womb? & is this the Death Couch of Albion
Thou goest to Eternal Death & all must go with thee

So saying, the Virgin divided Six-fold & with a shriek
Dolorous that ran thro all Creation a Double Six-fold Wonder!
Away from Ololon she divided & fled into the depths
Of Miltons Shadow as a Dove upon the stormy Sea.

Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felphams Vale
In clouds of blood, in streams of gore, with dreadful thunderings
Into the Fires of Intellect that rejoic'd in Felphams Vale
Around the Starry Eight: with one accord the Starry Eight became
One Man Jesus the Saviour. wonderful! round his limbs
The Clouds of Ololon folded as a Garment dipped in blood
Written within & without in woven letters: & the Writing
Is the Divine Revelation in the Litteral expression:
A Garment of War, I heard it namd the Woof of Six Thousand Years"

Jesus the Savior

1 comment:

  1. Annihilation like salvation is not a definitive act per se; it's a process. It's the "Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find". So it's a process of doing it every day, being receptive for that Moment, allowing it to come and acting on it, day by day until it becomes a lifelong habit and everyone is forgiven.