Thursday, July 24, 2014

More Golgonooza

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Metropolitan Museum
Angel of the Divine Presence Bringing Eve to Adam
Blake didn't intend to be pinned down to a single interpretation of his images. He developed the image Golgonooza from scratch and added layers of meaning as his imagination enriched an expanding panoramic vision.

Analytically we can say that Golgoonoza is:

the city of art
 & Manufacture,
spiritual Four-fold London eternal,
the place where souls of the dead are given bodies,
the internal organs of the human body,
the printing house in Lambeth where William and Catherine produced books,
the location of the furnaces of Los and the looms of Enitharmon,
our own spiritual activities which contribute to the building the Kingdom of God.     

Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
 "I know of no other
Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
& mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.   
  Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more." 

Milton, Plate 24 [26], (E 120)
"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" 
Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 123)
"And every Generated Body in its inward form,
Is a garden of delight & a building of magnificence,
Built by the Sons of Los in Bowlahoola & Allamanda
And the herbs & flowers & furniture & beds & chambers
Continually woven in the Looms of Enitharmons Daughters          
In bright Cathedrons golden Dome with care & love & tears
For the various Classes of Men are all markd out determinate"

Jerusalem, Plate 10, (E 153)
"it is the Reasoning Power
An Abstract objecting power, that Negatives every thing
This is the Spectre of Man: the Holy Reasoning Power             
And in its Holiness is closed the Abomination of Desolation

Therefore Los stands in London building Golgonooza
Compelling his Spectre to labours mighty; trembling in fear
The Spectre weeps, but Los unmovd by tears or threats remains

I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans           
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create

So Los, in fury & strength: in indignation & burning wrath
Shuddring the Spectre howls. his howlings terrify the night
He stamps around the Anvil, beating blows of stern despair
He curses Heaven & Earth, Day & Night & Sun & Moon               
He curses Forest Spring & River, Desart & sandy Waste
Cities & Nations, Families & Peoples, Tongues & Laws
Driven to desperation by Los's terrors & threatning fears

Los cries, Obey my voice & never deviate from my will
And I will be merciful to thee"

Commentary from Northrop Frye in Fearful Symmetry:

Page 252
"Los is the builder of the eternal form of human civilization, and is therefore a smith, a worker in metal and fire, the two great instruments of civilized life.
Page 253
"If we combine the fact that Los is a blacksmith with the fact that Orc is his medium, we get the furnace as a symbol of the natural body. On the level of a conscious will to live the hammer is the heart-beat, the bellows the lungs and the furnace the whole metabolism of a warm-blooded animal. The same is true of the risen or spiritual body, but that body is part of Golgonooza, which is conceived a huge machine shop or foundry, a vast cubicle into which the whole physical world has to be thrown before the refined gold of the New Jerusalem can emerge from it. There are seven furnaces in Los's smithy, corresponding to the Seven Eyes, and they are associated with wheels in a way which we shall explain more fully later. In them are to be found Ezekiel's 'wheels within wheels,' imaginative energy as opposed to the interlocking compulsions of nature which we see represented in physical machinery. The allusions of the finger of God touching the seventh furnace refer of course to the coming of Jesus."

Earlier posts with the label Golgonooza

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I am indebted to Milton O Percival's William Blake's Circle of Destiny for the understanding I have of this subject. Quotations are from his book. This book is rarely for sale at a modest price but is available in many libraries. To find a library near you from which it is available If your local library doesn't have the book, you can ask them to obtain it on interlibrary loan.

Blake sees the status of man in terms of levels of existence. At each level man is capable of living according to certain principles which represent his level of consciousness. In ascending order the worlds through man may progress are Ulro, Generation, Beulah and Eden. Each level is characterized by the ability of man to perceive at that level, and the structure which results from that level of perception.


So we have in Ulro the ability to perceive at only the level of single or literal visionMeaning beyond the superficial material level escapes single vision. Looking for information about the relationship between William and Catherine Blake in the prophetic books is confining oneself to Ulro thought, since it is looking for outward sensory data about outward sensory events. The most striking facet of perception in Ulro is the inability to see spiritual significance in anything that comes to us. Perception is turned outward only; the inner world is thought to be non-existent. Seeing only an outward existence creates the world of matter, rigid and passive.

Page 87: "This void in the empty East is Ulro, the Hell of Blake's myth. In this void the selfish emotions are activated by rational doubts and fears. ..Everything in this world is 'without internal light.' The souls which inhabit it have 'neither lineament nor form.'"

Ulro is the bottom of man's fall from eternity. If the fall had continued man would have fallen into the abyss of non-entity. The limits of Adam and Satan were set to prevent that from happening. When the limits were defined, man could start the rebuilding and return.


The agent for the the process of rising or returning is Los who gives form or concrete expression to the abstractions of Urizen in Ulro. In this way error is revealed for what it is and can be repudiated. This is our world where ideas and emotions are expressed in behaviors and personalities.

This is man's condition in the generative world: he is confined to the world of time and space, he is vegetated in a body whose limitations he cannot escape, he is receiving his information from shrunken senses. But there is more going on in generation; it is the world of transition from the outward and corporeal to the inward and spiritual. Los in the role of the holy Spirit is the agent of transformation.

Los's job is breaking down and building up. Breaking down by revealing error for what it is. Building up by creating Golgonooza in which man may exercise imagination. Spiritual vision becomes possible through the development of symbolic thinking. The object seen outwardly and corporeally becomes capable of carrying meaning which is inward and spiritual. 'The world of generation might indeed be thought of as a training school in vision.' (Page 272)

Page 273: "When the struggle is over, and the world and all that is therein can be seen, calm and assuredly, as the manifestation of spirit - then the soul has arrived at threefold vision and softBeulah's light."

'To Be Continued' in my next post.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Northrup Frye has a good bit to say that adds to the picture of Golgoonoza which we have been developing. Here is a paragraph which clarifies the purpose and the eventual outcome for Blake's City of Imagination. Notice that he emphasizes that Golgonooza as it becomes the New Jerusalem, 'the total form of all culture and civilization', will make permanent (but not static) all the imaginative work which has been contributed to its building. It reminds me of a phrase which I picked up somewhere along the way: nothing lost, nothing wasted.

This is from page 91 of Fearful Symmetry:

"Inspiration is the artist's empirical proof of the divinity of his imagination; and all inspiration is divine in origin whether used, perverted, hidden or frittered away in reverie. All imaginative and creative arts, being eternal, go to build up a permanent structure, which Blake called Golgonooza, above time, and, when this structure is finished, nature, its scaffolding, will be knocked away and man will live in it. Golgonooza will be the city of God, the New Jerusalem which is the total form of all culture and civilization. Nothing that the heroes, martyrs, prophets and poets of the past have done for it has been wasted; no anonymous and unrecognized contribution to it has been overlooked. In it is conserved all the good man has done, and in it is completed all he hoped and intended to do. And the artist who uses the same energy and genius that Homer and Isaiah had will find that he not only lives in the same palace of art as Homer and Isaiah, but lives at the same time." 
Perhaps Blake is even more inclusive in this passage about Los' work:

Jerusalem, Plate 13,(E 157)
"Golgonooza: Los walks round the walls night and day.    

He views the City of Golgonooza, & its smaller Cities:
The Looms & Mills & Prisons & Work-houses of Og & Anak:
The Amalekite: the Canaanite: the Moabite: the Egyptian:
And all that has existed in the space of six thousand years:
Permanent, & not lost not lost nor vanishd, & every little act,
Word, work, & wish, that has existed, all remaining still
In those Churches ever consuming & ever building by the Spectres
Of all the inhabitants of Earth wailing to be Created:
Shadowy to those who dwell not in them, meer possibilities:
But to those who enter into them they seem the only substances
For every thing exists & not one sigh nor smile nor tear,
Plate 14
One hair nor particle of dust, not one can pass away." 
Satan's Watch-fiends Never Find the Gate of Los 

Jerusalem, Plate 35 [39], (E 181)
"this gate cannot be found
By Satans Watch-fiends tho' they search numbering every grain
Of sand on Earth every night, they never find this Gate.
It is the Gate of Los.
Withoutside is the Mill, intricate,  dreadful
And fill'd with cruel tortures; but no mortal man can find the Mill
Of Satan, in his mortal pilgrimage of seventy years" 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Auguries of Innocence 

"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour"
'Thy golden wings are my delight'

Eternity as we have said before is not distant in time or space; it can be experienced whenever we are able to be open and receptive to it. The tiniest, most humble things may act as the catalyst for opening or cleansing the doors of perception.

We as humans are made to receive Eternity, because God is within us. And yet we are barred from entering the gates which are provided. Blake tells us that the 'dread Og and Anak guard the gates.'
Anak, says Damon in A Blake Dictionary is one of an Old Testament race of giants. He is one of four - Anak, Og, Sihon and Satan - who are designated to 'oppose Man's progress towards Eternity.' Og and Anak are the guards of the gates which open into Golgonooza (the city of Imagination). 'They are also responsible for the looms, mills, prisons and workhouses which prevent man from leading a spiritual life.'

On the level of the psyche there are blockages (Og and Anak) which lock us out of the ability to perceive things as they are. These barriers are different for each person. By looking within and facing the 'giants' these gates may be opened.

Blake also names the 'manacles' which bind man in the outward world, the oppressive institutions (Og and Anak) which destroy bodies and deaden minds. In this world limits are set which constrict the downtrodden from seeing that 'world in a grain of sand' or 'heaven in a wild flower'.

Milton, Plate 20, (E 114)
"Seest thou the little winged fly, smaller than a grain of sand?
It has a heart like thee; a brain open to heaven & hell,
Withinside wondrous & expansive; its gates are not clos'd,
I hope thine are not: hence it clothes itself in rich array;
Hence thou art cloth'd with human beauty O thou mortal man.
Seek not thy heavenly father then beyond the skies:
There Chaos dwells & ancient Night & Og & Anak old:
For every human heart has gates of brass & bars of adamant,
Which few dare unbar because dread Og & Anak guard the gates
Terrific! and each mortal brain is walld and moated round
Within: and Og & Anak watch here; here is the Seat
Of Satan in its Webs; for in brain and heart and loins
Gates open behind Satans Seat to the City of Golgonooza
Which is the spiritual fourfold London, in the loins of Albion"


Monday, April 26, 2010


We've posted on each of Blake's four major cities: London, Galgoonoza, Babylon and Jerusalem but there is more to be said. London was Blake's outward experience, with all its errors and contradictions; Golgonooza, the city within London (which through imagination may correct errors through vision, forgiveness and spiritual gifts), was created to provide an escape from the merely physical; Babylon was the expression of the soulless, self-centered, mercenary city which grows when man fails to develop his inner riches; and Jerusalem was the spiritual city, the potential for the inner and outer realization of Eternal values. 

Although we have already posted four time on subjects related to Golgonooza, more needs to be said.

Blake speaks frequently of Golgonooza:

Milton, PLATE 6, (E 99)
"From Golgonooza the spiritual Four-fold London eternal
In immense labours & sorrows, ever building, ever falling,
Thro Albions four Forests which overspread all the Earth,"
Milton, Plate 17,(E 111)
"For travellers from Eternity. pass outward to Satans seat,
But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza." 
Milton, Plate 20, (E 113)
"for in brain and heart and loins
Gates open behind Satans Seat to the City of Golgonooza
Which is the spiritual fourfold London, in the loins of Albion" 
Milton, Plate 24, E( 119)
"I the Fourth Zoa am also set
The Watchman of Eternity, the Three are not! & I am preserved
Still my four mighty ones are left to me in Golgonooza 
Still Rintrah fierce, and Palamabron mild & piteous
Theotormon filld with care, Bromion loving Science"

You O my Sons still guard round Los. O wander not & leave me
Milton, Plate 24, (E 120)
"But Golgonooza is namd Art & Manufacture by mortal men." 
Milton, Plate 29, (E 128)
"Then Los conducts the Spirits to be Vegetated, into
Great Golgonooza, free from the four iron pillars of Satans
(Temperance, Prudence, justice, Fortitude, the four pillars of
That Satans Watch-Fiends, touch them not before they Vegetate." 
Milton, Plate 35, (E 135)
"So spake Ololon in reminiscence astonishd, but they
Could not behold Golgonooza without passing the Polypus
A wondrous journey not passable by Immortal feet, & none 
But the Divine Saviour can pass it without annihilation.
For Golgonooza cannot be seen till having passd the Polypus
It is viewed on all sides round by a Four-fold Vision
Or till you become Mortal & Vegetable in Sexuality
Then you behold its mighty Spires & Domes of ivory & gold" 
Jerusalem, Plate 10, (E 153)
"Therefore Los stands in London building Golgonooza
Compelling his Spectre to labours mighty; trembling in fear
The Spectre weeps, but Los unmovd by tears or threats remains

I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans 
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create"
Jerusalem, Plate 12, (E 156)
"Go on, builders in hope: tho Jerusalem wanders far away,
Without the gate of Los: among the dark Satanic wheels.

Fourfold the Sons of Los in their divisions: and fourfold, 
The great City of Golgonooza: fourfold toward the north
And toward the south fourfold, & fourfold toward the east & west
Each within other toward the four points: that toward
Eden, and that toward the World of Generation,
And that toward Beulah, and that toward Ulro: 
Ulro is the space of the terrible starry wheels of Albions sons:
But that toward Eden is walled up, till time of renovation:
Yet it is perfect in its building, ornaments & perfection.

And the Four Points are thus beheld in Great Eternity
West, the Circumference: South, the Zenith: North, 
The Nadir: East, the Center, unapproachable for ever."
Jerusalem, Plate 14, (E 157)
"Around Golgonooza lies the land of death eternal; a Land 
Of pain and misery and despair and ever brooding melancholy:"
Jerusalem, Page 87, (E 368)
"Los performd Wonders of labour 
They Builded Golgonooza Los labouring builded pillars high
And Domes terrific in the nether heavens for beneath
Was opend new heavens & a new Earth beneath & within
Threefold within the brain within the heart within the loins
A Threefold Atmosphere Sublime continuous from Urthonas world 
But yet having a Limit Twofold named Satan & Adam"
Jerusalem, Page 100, (E 372)
"And upon Enitharmon & the Divine Countenance shone
In Golgonooza Looking down the Daughters of Beulah saw
With joy the bright Light & in it a Human form
And knew he was the Saviour Even Jesus & they worshipped 

Astonishd Comforted Delighted in notes of Rapturous Extacy
All Beulah stood astonishd Looking down to Eternal Death
They saw the Saviour beyond the Pit of death & destruction
For whether they lookd upward they saw the Divine Vision
Or whether they lookd downward still they saw the Divine Vision 
Surrounding them on all sides beyond sin & death & hell"
Four Zoas, Page 103, (E 376)
"In Golgonoozas Furnaces among the Anvils of time & space
Thus forming a Vast family wondrous in beauty & love
And they appeard a Universal female form created
From those who were dead in Ulro from the in Spectres of the dead"

In Golgoonooza: City of Imagination, Kathleen Raine sees Golgonooza as an attempt to make visible the archetypal city of Eternity by those who remember Eternal things. Lovers of wisdom, poets, painters, architects - those with imagination - are the agents (Los and his sons) for building Golgonooza. Within London the the spiritual Four-fold eternal city is to take form as multiple pathways or gates into Great Eternity.

Kathleen Raine: "Jerusalem can never, in the very nature of time and change be fully realized on earth , yet Jerusalem has in Golgoonoza, her refugees, her 'secret chambers' in the houses of London's inhabitants, and among these Blake's own house in 'lovely Lambeth', where he and Catherine lived in the early years of their
 marriage, where a vine grew unpruned in their small garden." 

Image from the British Museum
Milton, Plate 1, (E 95) 
"I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem, 
In Englands green & pleasant Land."

Footnote: Field of Dreams; "Is this heaven?", "No, it's Iowa".

Monday, April 12, 2010


THE SLEEP OF ALBION is a chapter in Kathleen Raine's book, Golgoonoza: City of Imagination. In it Raine explores the relationship between King Arthur and Albion (the oldest name for Great Britain) in the mind of the British. She shows how Blake's Albion partakes of the legends surrounding King Arthur. As the legends of King Arthur end, he is entombed but not dead, sleeping until he is called to return to 'restore just rule to his kingdom and repel its enemies'.

Blake writes:
(Descriptive Catalogue, Number V, (E 543)):
"The giant Albion, was Patriarch of the Atlantic, he is
the Atlas of the Greeks, one of those the Greeks
called Titans. The stories of Arthur are the acts of
Albion, applied to a Prince of the fifth century, who
conquered Europe, and held the Empire of the world
in the dark age, which the Romans never again

In Jerusalem, it is the Giant Albion who is "imagined in the similitude of Arthur". Albion's sleep is the sleep of Arthur. Raine says, "in recounting the 'acts of Albion' [Blake] considered himself to be recounting the sacred history - the inner history of the British nation from ancient times, with prophetic foresight of that future when Albion, like Arthur, is to wake from sleep."

To Raine the 'sleep' of Albion "is conceived by Blake not as the mere passage of time but as a state of apathy, of lowering of consciousness, of forgetfulness of higher things...Blake tells the story of how the nation has come to lapse into spiritual ignorance and forgetfulness...

"Blake is quite specific in his diagnosis of England's national disease: it is precisely that secular materialism ... upon which modern Western civilization is founded...

"Our society is forever thinking in terms of changing our circumstances; Blake's revolution will come when we change ourselves. From inner awakenings outer changes will follow...

"When Albion awakens he will find himself in his lost kingdom restored to its former glory; for the kingdom is ourselves...

"Paradise is not a place but a state of being, the lost kingdom to which the sleepers of Albion must someday awake."

Descriptive Catalogue, NUMBER V, (E 542)

The Ancient Britons:

"In the last Battle of King Arthur only Three Britons
 these were the Strongest Man, the
Beautifullest Man, and the 
Ugliest Man; these three
marched through the field unsubdued, as 
and the Sun of Britain s[e]t, but shall arise again with 

tenfold splendor when Arthur shall awake from sleep,
and resume 
his dominion over earth and ocean."

Jerusalem, Plate19, Albion 'in pain & tears'

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This account of the building of Golgonooza demonstrates the nature of its structure. Here Golgonooza is described as the elements of the life lived according to the Eternal principles of brotherhood and integrity.
Those who build their lives as expressions of the 13th Chapter of First Corinthians are the 'golden builders'; they are 'becoming a building' - carefully built just as Blake's illuminated poetry was produced with 'well wrought blandishments' and 'well contrived words.' The structure of Golgonooza is the principles and attitudes through which we build our character, the furnishings are the way we behave to one another: 'curtains woven tears and sighs, woven into lovely forms.' The outcome is the 'joy' of losing the 'self'' by knowing the love in which we abide, and which abides in us.

Jerusalem, Plate 59
'For they labor for life & love'

Jerusalem, Plate 12, (E 154)
"What are those golden builders doing?...

Becoming a building of pity and compassion? Lo!
The stones are pity, and the bricks, well wrought affections:
Enameld with love & kindness, & the tiles engraven gold
Labour of merciful hands: the beams & rafters are forgiveness:
The mortar & cement of the work, tears of honesty: the nails,
And the screws & iron braces, are well wrought blandishments,
And well contrived words, firm fixing, never forgotten,
Always comforting the remembrance: the floors, humility,
The cielings, devotion: the hearths, thanksgiving:
Prepare the furniture O Lambeth in thy pitying looms!
The curtains, woven tears & sighs, wrought into lovely forms
For comfort. there the secret furniture of Jerusalems chamber
Is wrought: Lambeth! the Bride the Lambs Wife loveth thee:
Thou art one with her & knowest not of self in thy supreme joy.
Go on, builders in hope: tho Jerusalem wanders far away,
Without the gate of Los: among the dark Satanic wheels."

Thursday, November 12, 2009


At the end of the First Book of Milton, Blake sums up the
work of Los by explaining how spirits are vegetated. It is
a clear explanation except much of the terminology is
peculiar to Blake. So I have consulted Damon's A Blake
Dictionary for definitions.

Milton Plate 29, (E127):

"Then Los conducts the Spirits to be Vegetated, into
Great Golgonooza, free from the four iron pillars of Satans
(Temperance, Prudence, justice, Fortitude, the four pillars
of tyranny)
That Satans Watch-Fiends touch them not before they

But Enitharmon and her Daughters take the pleasant charge.
To give them to their lovely heavens till the Great
Judgment Day
Such is their lovely charge. But Rahab & Tirzah pervert
Their mild influences, therefore the Seven Eyes of God walk
The Three Heavens of Ulro, where Tirzah & her Sisters
Weave the black Woof of Death upon Entuthon Benython
In the Vale of Surrey where Horeb terminates in Rephaim
The stamping feet of Zelophehads Daughters are coverd with
Human gore
Upon the treddles of the Loom, they sing to the winged
The River rises above his banks to wash the Woof:    
He takes it in his arms: be passes it in strength thro his
The veil of human miseries is woven over the Ocean
From the Atlantic to the Great South Sea, the Erythrean.

Such is the World of Los the labour of six thousand years.
Thus Nature is a Vision of the Science of the Elohim."

     End of the First Book.
Golgoonza - Los's city of "art and manufacture." (M24:50)
Enitharmon's looms are in the golden hall of Cathedron. Its gates
open into Eden, Beulah, Generation, and Ulro.
(Damon, Page 162-5)
Enitharmon - with her daughters, she weaves beautiful, spiritual
bodies (the web of life) for the Spectres about to be born.
(Damon, Page 124-5)
Entuthon Benython - a land of Urizen east of Galgonooza: "a dark
and unknown night, indefinite, unmeasurable, without end. Abstract
Philosophy warring in enmity against Imagination" (J5:56)
(Damon, Page 126)
Horeb - where Moses saw the burning bush, Blake associates with
rock. (Damon, Page 189)
Rephaim - "Miltonic limbo of amorphous decaying superstitions"
(Damon, Page 346)
Rahab - harlot of Babylon, symbolizes false church of this world, the
opponent of Jerusalem. She imputes sin and righteousness to
individuals. (Damon, Page 338-9)
Tirzah - daughter of Rahab; Tirzah weaves natural, physical bodies;
she represents sex; she is the mother of death; she is a temptress of
men. (Damon, Page 407)
Ulro - the material world, the world of death, the world of spectres who
are dead to Eternity. (Damon, Page 416)
Zelophehads - five independent Female Wills who restrict the senses
of man, Tirzah is the fifth. (Damon, Page 457)
Seven Eyes of God - "the path of Experience fixed for the Individual
by the Divine Mercy, so that proceeding through his errors he may
eventually reach the true God." (Damon, Page 134)
Science - "True Science is eternal and essential, but it turns bad
when it cuts loose from Humanity". "Science can assimilate its
material and communicate it, but cannot create."
(Damon, Page 359-60)
Los has provided a way that the Spectres not fall into non-existence, but it requires that they take on a physical body in a world of illusionary material existence under the dominance of mistaken morality and religion. Los parallels John the Baptist, he can prepare the way, but he cannot initiate the coming of the Kingdom. 

The Arlington Tempera, which has been mentioned in other posts, can be viewed in the light of this passage.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


BLAKE'S SUBLIME ALLEGORY, Edited by Stuart Curran
and Joseph Anthony Wittreich, Jr.

This book is a useful addition to the Blake shelf in our
library. It is easier to understand than some and more
thorough than others.

In addition to the helpful essay 'On Reading the Four Zoas'
by Mary Lynn Johnson and Brian Wilkie, are several others
including 'The Aim of Blake's Prophecies' by Jerome
McGann, which I particularly like.

From page 16, I quote:
"...The demand is that we set the poem's terms into
successively different types of relations to each other.
Blake's art is a sort of Glass Bead Game. (Hermann
Hesse, The Glass Bead GameTo "make sense" of his
works we establish in and for them different forms of
order, based on shifting sets of dissociations and
associations, contrasts and analogies. To cease the
act of creating these relations, or ironically, unbuilding
them again, is to lapse into single vision."

page 17 "Every line ought to be an opportunity for
outwitting Satan's watch fiends, while every poem as a
whole is designed as a spiritual exercise for the
encouragement of universal prophecy."

page 20 "Golgonooza is the house whose windows of the
morning open out to the worlds of eternity, where Jesus
dwells. We were never meant to live in, or with it but
through it."

page 21 "...artists must approach the world not with
creations which will trap men but with visions that will
encourage imaginative activity."

Trapped in the Cave of the Mind
The point to me is that Blake did not write poetry whose
meaning is discernible in static images, methods, or rules.
He wrote to encourage the kind of discernment or
perception which characterizes intuitive, imaginative,
immediate response to the image which presents itself.
The way he wrote, what he wrote, and why he wrote are
all one piece: imagination permeates all. He didn't want us
to exit by the same door we entered, so he closed that
one door and left all the others open.

Monday, December 31, 2007


This is a response to friend Clint Stevens' post to the Yahoo Blake group.

It really doesn't respond to Clint's architectural questions, but the general question of Golgonnza in Blake's vision. However re spatial concepts: you may understand that the culmination of Gol is in Beulah, where space is completely evanescent. In that light Blake may be expected to use spatial (and temporal) terms playfully.

Blake was a highly spiritual (religious) man and Golgonooza can be best seen in that light.
In my simplistic understanding of Golgonooza it is the work of "art" and "artists", or perhaps the imaginative work of creative people in the world, or in Albion if you prefer, or in your own psyche-- of a period of 6000 years.

These works have a ambiguous history or nature, continually building and destroying like Jeremiah was called to do. You might also call it the work of angels in a demonic world (truth forever on the scaffold). The best work of the artisans of Golgonooza is chequered or flawed with many vestiges of Ulro, but consciously or hopefully moving toward Beulah. There of course it becomes Jerusalem.

The Church, which purports to be about growing into or building the kingdom of God can only be one of the lesser dimensions of Gol's inhabitants. As the master said,
"A Poet a Painter a Musician an Architect: the Man
Or Woman who is not one of these is not a Christian"
(LAOCOON prose; Erdman 274).

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