Thursday, October 08, 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 prophecy."

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 open.

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