Sunday, February 17, 2013


Illustrations of the Book of Job
Linnell Set
Plate 3  
Consistent with his use of the giant man Albion to represent all of humanity, Blake turns to the body to further explain the function of the furnaces as an instrument of transformation. As the 'Stomach in every individual man' Bowlahoola is a furnace within the body. The digestive tract breaks down the food it receives to provide the body with the ingredients to sustain itself. Food is not in a form which can be assimilated by the cells of the body until it is transformed into amino acids, minerals, fatty acids, glucose and other essentials for building cells and providing them with energy. So we can see the furnaces as a means of breaking down the experiences which the mind receives as raw material which must be disassembled into building blocks for new paradigms of thought.

The mental constructs are reorganized from the units which are deemed valuable, and the excess baggage is discarded. The mind has been molded but through a different process than the melting and hammering of the blacksmith. Now the furnace is metaphoric of assimilating from the mass of experience the gems and treasures necessary to fuel the  next transformation

Milton, Plate 24 [26], (E 120)
"Bowlahoola is namd Law. by mortals, Tharmas founded it:
Because of Satan, before Luban in the City of Golgonooza.
But Golgonooza is namd Art & Manufacture by mortal men.          

In Bowlahoola Los's Anvils stand & his Furnaces rage;
Thundering the Hammers beat & the Bellows blow loud
Living self moving mourning lamenting & howling incessantly
Bowlahoola thro all its porches feels tho' too fast founded
Its pillars & porticoes to tremble at the force              
Of mortal or immortal arm: and softly lilling flutes
Accordant with the horrid labours make sweet melody

The Bellows are the Animal Lungs: the hammers the Animal Heart
The Furnaces the Stomach for digestion. terrible their fury
Thousands & thousands labour. thousands play on instruments      
Stringed or fluted to ameliorate the sorrows of slavery
Loud sport the dancers in the dance of death, rejoicing in carnage
The hard dentant Hammers are lulld by the flutes['] lula lula
The bellowing Furnaces['] blare by the long sounding clarion 
The double drum drowns howls & groans, the shrill fife. shrieks & cries:     
The crooked horn mellows the hoarse raving serpent, terrible, but harmonious 
Bowlahoola is the Stomach in every individual man."

Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 123)
"For the various Classes of Men are all markd out determinate
In Bowlahoola; & as the Spectres choose their affinities
So they are born on Earth, & every Class is determinate
But not by Natural but by Spiritual power alone, Because         
The Natural power continually seeks & tends to Destruction
Ending in Death: which would of itself be Eternal Death
And all are Class'd by Spiritual, & not by Natural power.

And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and Not
A Natural: for a Natural Cause only seems, it is a Delusion      
Of Ulro: & a ratio of the perishing Vegetable Memory." 
Paul as well as Blake used the body as a metaphor. He chose the body to represent a group of believers in Corinth who were working together in spite of their diversity. He identified them as the body of Christ.

1st Corinthians 12
[14] For the body is not one member, but many.
[15] If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
[16] And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
[17] If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
[18] But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
[19] And if they were all one member, where were the body?
[20] But now are they many members, yet but one body.
[21] And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
[22] Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
[23] And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
[24] For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
[25] That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
[26] And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
[27] Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

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