Monday, September 12, 2011

DESIGNS

Observations on the Small Book of Designs

Of the 23 images, 13 picture males, 11 picture females. The mid-point of the series - page 12 - with the inscription, 'Teach these Souls to Fly', can be seen as a turning point in the direction of movement. The next image of a skeleton in a fetal position represents a new beginning. Images of females which are concentrated in the second half of the book, mostly present positive possibilities.

There is some alteration between affirmation or negation alternatives between plates. The inscriptions on each picture offer alternatives also.

To help me remember the image in each picture I gave them labels. Blake's words in the right column are highlighted with words which suggest contraries. The Copy B pages are missing where no inscriptions are available.

...Labels..................................................Inscriptions
1 WHICH WAY------------------------------ "Which is the Way/The Right or the Left"

2 TWO WOMEN - DEATH & LIFE---- "Death & Hell/Teem with Life"
3 GLOBE OF BLOOD---------------------- "Vegetating in fibres of Blood"
4 PRISON---------------------------------------- "Who shall set/The Prisoners free"
5 FLAMING SWORD----------------------- "A Flaming sword/Revolving every way"

6 TIME & SPACE--------------------- "O revolving serpent/O the Ocean of Time & Space"
7 URIZEN EXPLORES--------------------- " Fearless tho in pain/I travel on"
8 FLOOD OF THARMAS
9 LOS AS DESIRE---------------------------- "Oh! Flames of Furious Desire"

10 THEL OBSERVES
11 URIZEN'S WORLD
12 LOS' WORLD--------------------------------"Teach these Souls to Fly"
13 BEGIN AGAIN

14 EMANATION--------------------------------- "Is the Female death/Become new Life"
15 RECONCILING CONTRARIES-"Does the Soul labour thus/ In Caverns of The Grave"
16 WORM OR BABE
17 ROLE OF FEMININE--------------------- "Wait Sisters/Tho all is Lost"

18 AGONY-------------------------------- "I sought Pleasure and found Pain/Unutterable"
19 HUMAN QUALITIES----------------------"Everything is an attempt/ To be Human"

20 LIFE RENEWS
21 LOOKING BACK or IMAGINATION- "The Book of my Rememberance"
22 LITTLE ONES--------------------------------- "Doth God take care of These"
23 LOVE A WORM - TENFOLD LIFE

Here is a link to images from small and large Books of Design in the British Museum.

Here are two more plates which have no counterparts in Copy A but which resemble the Small Book of Designs. We can join Blake in expressing the sentiments in the inscriptions on these last two plates.

From the Book of Urizen ...................................From the Book of Urizen
Plate 12 .................................................................Plate 9
Tate ........................................................................Princeton University Library

















"The floods overwhelmed me
".........................."Eternally I labour on"

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