Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blake's Nakedness

Every creative thought is the God Within.

What did T.S.Eliot mean when he said that Blake was naked?

"the [Blake's] peculiarity is seen to be the peculiarity of all great poetry: ....It is merely a peculiar honesty, which, in a world too frightened to be honest, is peculiarly terrifying. It is an honesty against which the whole world conspires, because it is unpleasant. Blake's poetry has the unpleasantness of great poetry."

And a little way on in The Sacred Wood:
"He was naked, and saw man naked, and from the centre of his own crystal. ..... He approached everything with a mind unclouded by current opinions. There was nothing of the superior person about him. This makes him terrifying."

(I have to wonder what he meant by superior person. Can anybody elucidate that? And what did he mean by Blake being naked?)

At the beginning of the Preface of The Great Divorce C.S.Lewis, like Eliot, also recognized Blake's greatness:
"Blake wrote The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. If I have written The Great Divorce, this is not because I think of myself as a fit antagonist for so great a genius...."

And I think he was equally terrified: he recognized Blake's power, but not his godliness; imo his faith wasn't up to that.

This url addresses the psychological meaning of nakedness.

I found that Blake used the word (naked) 58 times. Some may hint toward what Eliot may have meant in the above quote.

Here are some examples of Blake's use of naked:
"Art can never exist without Naked Beauty displayed" (Lacoon; E275)

"Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind;"
(The Chimney Sweeper; Erdman 10)

"I also asked Isaiah what made him go naked and barefoot three years? he answerd, the same that made our friend Diogenes the Grecian." (MHH, plate 13; E39)

"The Britons (say historians) were naked civilized men, learned, studious, abstruse in thought and contemplation; naked, simple, plain, in their acts and manners" (Descriptive Catalog; E542)

Can anyone tell me what Eliot meant by Blake's nakedness, and what he meant by the superior person?

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