Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Left the Paths of Ease

You'll find this as a link at the end of the last post. The following re the meek man... is taken from an April 11, 2009 post to the Yahoo Group WmBlake:

Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 2, (E 32)

Blake writes in a language that few people today know, so maybe we need an interpreter. I happen to be reading The Unholy Bible, by June Singer. It's largely an (Jungian) interpretation of MHH. Here are some of her interpretations:

"Rintrah is the personification of rage against the status quo" (and an apt description of the young Blake). Revolution was in the air, and Blake writes about a change (very timely!). The meek man is Joe Six Pack; he hasn't learned to read; his social, political, moral consciousness is minimal, and his exploitation by the 'villain' (let's say bankers) has driven Joe out into the wilderness, but "he's sick and tired, and he's not gonna take it any more." Times will be hard for everybody now.

The meek man and the villain: man is not one, but two. He's "Adam and the serpent, Jacob and Esau, outraged honesty and sneaking hypocrisy".

Speaking of Revolution: France was being bathed in blood, and America had already thrown off the sneaking villain.

So much for the political dimension (Erdman's Blake Prophet Against Empire has more). Psychologically the meek man is the good unconscious church goer; the villain is the Voltarian priest (the first priest was the first villain who met the first fool.) The meek man must some day wake up and gain a critical dimension.

Well I've just scratched the surface. This is poetry; poetry is
never (or at least rarely) about the literal; it's about the
intellectual, the spiritual. The Bible is poetry: beginning to end; not about material events; about spiritual events; events in your consciousness. Blake taught me how to read the Bible. One of his greatest gifts to me.

What does Blake (or the Bible) mean? That depends on you- and me.

Justin said: Justin has left a new comment on your post "Left the Paths of Ease":

This is a strange pronouncement: "poetry is
never (or at least rarely) about the literal; it's about the
intellectual, the spiritual." It's even stranger if you replace poetry with the more general literature: "Literature is never about the literal." But I think it's true somehow. Poetry is the contortion of the literal into the spiritual.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Well said, Justin. In the most general sense non-material entities can only be expressed poetically. Which means that the Bible is poetic. Descriptive language of all sorts can be viewed as more poetic or more prosaic (I see a spectrum between the two). "This body of death" from Romans 7 for example has several inferential meanings: captives in Roman prisons were chained together, so that often a poor devil moved around dragging a cadaver; Blake used the term his inmyth, and as an echo of Paul.

When most prosaic Blake was always poetic. I'm not sure he even recognized the existence of pure descriptive material as meaningful.