Friday, November 20, 2009


This passage from The King and the Corpse, written by the renowned mythologist, Heinrich Zimmer who was Joseph Campbell's mentor, describes some of the same dilemmas faced by the readers of Blake. In spite of our desire to understand Blake, it is more important to assimilate. His ideas can take root and permeate our thought if we open our minds to him.

"Hence the scientist, the scientific psychologist, feels himself on
very dangerous, very uncertain and ambiguous ground when he
ventures into the field of folklore interpretation. The discoverable
contents of the widely distributed images keep changing before
his eyes in unceasing permutations, as the cultural settings
change throughout the world and in the course of history. The
meanings have to be constantly reread, understood afresh. And
it is anything but an orderly work - this affair of interpreting the
always unpredictable and astonishing metaphors. ...
"The moment we abandon this dilettante attitude toward the
images of folklore and myth and begin to feel certain about
their proper interpretation (as professional comprehenders,
handling the tool of an infallible method), we deprive ourselves
of the quickening contact, the demonic and inspiring assault
that is the effect of their intrinsic virtue. We forfeit our proper
humility and open-mindedness before the unknown, and
refuse to be instructed - refuse to be shown what has never
yet quite been told either to us or to anybody else."

Heinrich Zimmer, The King and the Corpse

On Homers Poetry (E268)
"Aristotle says Characters
are either Good or Bad: now Goodness or Badness has nothing
to do

with Character. an Apple tree a Pear tree a Horse a Lion, are
Characters but a Good Apple tree or a Bad, is an Apple tree
still: a Horse is not more a Lion for being a Bad Horse. that is
its Character; its Goodness or Badness is another consideration.
It is the same with the Moral of a whole Poem as with the Moral
of its parts Unity & Morality, are secondary considerations &
belong to Philosophy & not to Poetry,"

To Poetry

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