Wednesday, May 06, 2015


Found on Page 47 of Critical Essays on William Blake, edited by Hazard Adams, is this statement by Northrop Frye in his essay Blake's Treatment of the Archetype:

"Narrative is normally the first thing we look for in a long poem, but Blake's poems are presented as a series of engraved plates, and the mental process of following a narrative sequence is, especially in the later poems, subordinated to a process of comprehending an inter-related pattern of images and ideas. The plate in Blake's epics...brings the narrative to a full stop and forces the reader to try to build up from the narrative his own reconstruction of the author's meaning. Blake thinks almost entirely in terms of two narrative structures. One is the narrative of history, the cycle of war and law, the conflict of Orc and Urizen, which in itself has no end no point and may be called the tragic or historical view of life. The other is the comic vision of the apocalypse or work of Los, the clarification of the mind which enable man to grasp the human form of the world. But the latter is not concerned with temporal sequence and is consequently not so much a real narrative as a dialectic." 

Illustrations to Virgil's Eclogue

 Milton, Plate 34 [38], (E 134)
"And Ololon looked down into the Heavens of Ulro in fear
They said. How are the Wars of Man which in Great Eternity
Appear around, in the External Spheres of Visionary Life
Here renderd Deadly within the Life & Interior Vision

How are the Beasts & Birds & Fishes, & Plants & Minerals
Here fixd into a frozen bulk subject to decay & death[?]
Those Visions of Human Life & Shadows of Wisdom & Knowledge     
Plate 35 [39]
Are here frozen to unexpansive deadly destroying terrors[.]
And War & Hunting: the Two Fountains of the River of Life
Are become Fountains of bitter Death & of corroding Hell
Till Brotherhood is changd into a Curse & a Flattery
By Differences between Ideas, that Ideas themselves, (which are 
The Divine Members) may be slain in offerings for sin
O dreadful Loom of Death!"

No comments: