Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Blake and Dante
You may read in Milton O. Percival's Circle of Destiny page 1:
"I predict then, that when the evidence is in, it will be found that in the use
of tradition Blake exceeded Milton and was second, if to anyone, only to Dante."
In the concordance Blake mentioned Dante 27 times; many could be searched,
but I show here only 2:
Look at the Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Plate 22):
Have now another plain fact. Any man of mechanical talents may, from the writings of Paracelsus or Jacob Behmen, produce ten thousand volumes of equal value with Swedenborg's, and from those of Dante or Shakespear an infinite number.
But when he has done this, let him not say that he knows better than his master, for he only holds a candle in sunshine.
In Letter 62:|
Mr. Fuseli's Count Ugolino is the father of sons of feeling |
and dignity, who would not sit looking in their parent's face in
the moment of his agony, but would rather retire and die in
secret, while they suffer him to indulge his passionate and
innocent grief, his innocent and venerable madness, and insanity,
and fury, and whatever paltry cold hearted critics cannot,
because they dare not, look upon. Fuseli's Count Ugolino is a
man of wonder and admiration, of resentment against man and
devil, and of humilitation before God; prayer and parental
affection fills the figure from head to foot. The child in his
arms, whether boy or girl signifies not, (but the critic must be
a fool who has not read Dante, and who does not know a boy from a
girl); I say, the child is as beautifully drawn as it is
coloured--in both, inimitable! and the effect of the whole is
truly sublime, on account of that very colouring which our critic
calls black and heavy.