blake-d Digest				Volume 1996 : Issue 88

Today's Topics:

	 Re: Old and New Testaments

	 Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	 Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	 RE: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	 Re:Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	  Blake and Zen -Reply

	  Handwriting, Industrialism, & Cities -Reply

	  Little White Boy: a diversion

	   Re: Re:Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	 Re:Blake, Jesus, Forgiveness, anti-Semitism

	 Re: Blake and Zen - Reply

	 Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism


	  Re: Blake and Zen - Reply -Reply

	  Nature vs Eternity


	   Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	 Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 19:20:44 -0400 (EDT)

From: "C. S. Beauvais" 



Subject: Re: Old and New Testaments


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More on the Old Testament

Anyone is entitled to his/her opinion on the Old Testament. But it can 

not be denied that the Old Testament was a source of inspiration for 

Blake in many ways. Here are some examples from his visual art:

The series on Joseph and his brothers (3 paintings 1785)

God Judging Adam (1795)

Elijah About to Ascend in the Chariot of Fire (1795)

The Body of Abel Discovered by Adam and Eve(1799)

Eve Tempted by the Serpent (1799)

Creation of Eve (1804)

Ezekiel's Wheels (1804)

Goliath Cursing David (1804)

Jacob's Dream (1805)

God Blessing the Seventh Day (1805)

The Job Series (22 plates published 1826)

Illustrations of Milton's " Paradise Lost"

	 All of this is not to say that the Old Testament should be 

important to you, but rather that it was important to Blake, and still is 

important to some people.














Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 19:52:18 -0400

From: ted ross 


Subject: Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

Message-Id: <>

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On 7/15 Carolyn Austin wrote:

  I hope the list will now continue as it always 

>has, with its usual decorous and insightful exchange.


Sorry for the frivolity, but my only question is, what list has she been

reading?? This one?? With posts referring to the "Last Testicle"??

He who sees the infinite in all things, sees God. He who sees the ratio only,

sees himself only.


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 18:47:51 -0500 (CDT)

From: Darlene Sybert 


Subject: Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism


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On Tue, 16 Jul 1996, Ralph Dumain wrote:

> Christopher Hottel has me in stitches.  One cannot show enough

> contempt for Jehovah and his Old Testicle, known to you as the Old

> Testament.


> Can Carolyn Austin and Scott Leonard be seriously accusing me and

> Christopher of anti-Semitism?  Did I make any scurrilous remarks

> about my oppressed Eastern European ancestors?  No, I referred to

	I am not Jewish--in fact, I am of German descent and a Christian.

	However, I have to agree with Carolyn and Scott that your remarks

	were anti-semitic and racist...

	And your defense in this letter--which I erased in the interest

	of saving space--IS insulting--and what's more you KNEW that both

	the post in question and this one were.   One might consider that 

	before Carolyn and Scott posted, you could have assumed that there

	were no Jews, Christians nor Islamic believers on the list.  But

	when you wrote this response, you knew better...and you can't have

	the education you do and not know that all three groups consider the

	Old Testament an important book.  So you knew that your psuedo-clever

	name for that book would be offensive to a few people on the list,

	 anyway.  But, hey, what do you care?  Being insulting and offensive

	is your modus operandi...your signature attitude.  

	And, hey, this is the age

	of skepticism and no one is supposed to believe any more--or dare

	to admit it if they do...So why show any respect for the beliefs of

	and politeness towards such ignorant people?

	If anyone is offended, let them unsubscribe from the list and leave

	you to get on with your self-glorification project in peace...right?

	It never ceases to amaze me that people can go to school for 16

	years in a (relatively) free country and never learn any manners...

> 	(Does your mother know you talk this way?)

Darlene Sybert 

University of Missouri at Columbia   (English)


Certain passages in the argument employed by Hegel in defining the relation of

master to slave apply much better to the relations of man to woman. -Beauvoir



Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 23:48:25 -0500 (CDT)



Subject: RE: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

Message-Id: <>


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Duh, I think Carolyn was being ironic.  You know, irony, that 18th century thing.



Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 03:06:19 -0400



Subject: Re:Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

Message-Id: <>

In a message dated 96-07-16 21:15:37 EDT, you write:

<< So why show any respect for the beliefs of

 	and politeness towards such ignorant people? >>

Really one is at a loss to know why one should.  And be wary of manners.

 Manners are a function of income.  Only the most violent and calculating

people have manners.  The better the manners, the higher the income, and the

more concealed violence by the manner-er toward the manner-ee. (For example:

is there more violent action in all of literature than when Miss Cardew gives

her guest cake and puts sugar in her tea?)

Of course manners are necessary, because we are all to a degree violent &

calculating and earn tens of thousands of dollars.  But our manners should

not be confused with Real Manners.  Consult the Protocol Officer at the State


"Did you see that?"  "Yes, Mr. Secretary."  "He crossed his legs and smiled."

 "Yes, Mr. Secretary."  "This means War."

Be Wary of Manners.

Have a nice day, Ms. Sybert.  It's been a pleasure conversing with you.

Hugh Walthall


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 10:29:28 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Blake and Zen -Reply


In relation to letting each moment slide by into the new in Zen, how do

you like Blake's:

   He who beds (or binds)   to himself a joy

   Doth the winged life destroy;

   But he who kisses it as it flies

   Lives in Eternity's Sunrise         ?    Pam van Schaik


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 10:44:31 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Handwriting, Industrialism, & Cities -Reply


To answer fully the question raised re the human form of London, I think

it is again necessary to invoke the whole spectrum of unfallen and fallen

light.    In Eternity, when all Nations were one with God in Innocence, all

the Nations and Cities had human, divine forms.  When Albion falls into

the sluggish `Sleep' which overwhelms his faculties, they can no longer

expand into God's humanising light, and he can no longer  assimilate with

Jerusalem, the beautiful `Bride' of Jesus.  Thus, Blake sees London in the

state of Experience as aged and bent and as being led by Babylon who

gains pre-eminence when Jerusalem is cast out of  ALbion's bosom

by Urizen.   The street names are surely actual names of those in

London and simply convey the breadth of the area devastated by

Urizen's distorted visions of good and evil?      Pam.


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 12:43:23 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Little White Boy: a diversion


Someone asked me the other day if there was a Contrary to Blake's Little

Black Boy.  I couldn't think of one but the following words came to mind

quite readily so I thought I'd share them with you - just for fun:


The Little White Boy

My mother bore me on a cold, dark night

And though I'm white, my soul is black,

Black as a coal-sack,

Bereaved of all light.

At Church I was told

To be good as gold

So  God would give me grace

And in heaven a place.

But, wherever I go

I give as good as I get -

A punch on the nose, or  blow

My enemies will never forget.

That's what the Bible says, if rightly read -

Dismay those who disobey God's laws

And on their sinful heads tread

Like a tiger with bloody paws.

Make them pay who me and my God gainsay

And live to regret their every defect.

Show no mercy, but prod them every day

So they will aspire to be as I, in every way. 

Pam van Schaik


Date:      Wed, 17 Jul 1996 08:41:22 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Avery F. Gaskins" 


Subject:   Re: Re:Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism


Hugh, your post on manners went completely over my head. Could you (as Byron

asked of Coleridge) "explain your explanation"?

                                               Avery Gaskins


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 10:18:20 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Re:Blake, Jesus, Forgiveness, anti-Semitism


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Hugh Walthall writes:

>>>>>>>>... be wary of manners. Manners are a function of income.  Only the

>>>>>>>>most violent and calculating people have manners.  The better the

>>>>>>>>manners, the higher the income, and the more concealed violence by

>>>>>>>>the manner-er toward the manner-ee.>>>>>>>>

Yes. Be wary of manners. The English (talk about a generalization!) used

them very well, while hypocritically doing the exact opposite of what they

said as they were busily conquering the world.

Also be wary of flawed correlations with "class struggle" and blatantly

insulting members (of any class, race, religion, or simply as a personal

attack) on this list. Netiquette (which Albion.Com provides online, in case

any of you want to review it) doesn't have anything to do with class or

income level.

I've actually had this "discussion" in other groups, which got more lewd

and mean-hearted than the level currently displayed. Here are examples of

the flaws in your logic:

1) Camille Paglia doesn't have "manners" in the common sense of the word.

But you'll find her criticism of Susan Sontag in _Vamps and Tramps_ to be

articulate, not merely derogatory, DESPITE having grown up in a lower

middle class Italian household.

2) Michael Harper has alot of anger. He dropped out of high school, came

from a poor family. Maybe, anti-Semites and haters of individuals of all

kinds, you can take a tip from a title to one of Harper's most famous poems

"Nightmare Begins Responsibility." When you make a post, derogatory

statements need to be re-thought at a higher level of "what am I _really_

angry about" before being posted. There's a responsibility to think as well

as feel (left and right brains, fused) before you click "SEND". And if you

DON'T  think? Well... it reflects on you more than anyone else. There is a

permanent archive of what is said in this group. So you go down on record.

3) I have personally been the victim of vicious verbal attacks by Mr.

Dumain since I joined this list. They have ranged from derisive to clever,

with a heavy emphasis on the former, which "peaked" during his Memorial Day

weekend double-assault. This was so ostentatious that he was told to chill

out, bigtime, or face list removal. When I critiqued his original series of

July 7-8 posts, nothing was said at a personal level. And why should it? At

least he finally was saying stuff of high enough quality to critique. To

his reply of Gloudina Bouwer's post, I pulled out a paragraph of his that I

thought stood up well as his view on Blake. It has little to do with mine.

Is forgiveness a sign of my "class"?

4) If you want a funny, class-conscious view of the original Gospels versus

the Book of Revelation, I recommend D.H. Lawrence's (he came from the

WORKING class, Hugh!) _Apocalypse_, in which he theorizes that Christ and

Buddha are elite, able-to-afford-generosity (i.e. upper class) people and

St. John the Divine (or John of Patmos, as Lawrence calls him) brings up

the working-class people's revenge with this "Well, don't worry! There's

going to be an apocalypse that will blow all of you unbelievers to

smitherings." Lawrence said it all with a level of articulation that made

me laugh.

5) We're all on the same ship, Mr. Walthall... even if it's a Titanic. A

dialectic can challenge you. An insult can be excused. And apologies are

always welcome. I've enjoyed your wit, even in this post which tried to

brush off egregious other posts. I look forward to you employing that wit,

and intelligence, in more productive posts in the future.

-R.H. Albright

......where no one is advised to drink from standing water


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 10:30:39 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Re: Blake and Zen - Reply


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>In relation to letting each moment slide by into the new in Zen, how do

>you like Blake's:

>   He who beds (or binds)   to himself a joy

>   Doth the winged life destroy;

>   But he who kisses it as it flies

>   Lives in Eternity's Sunrise         ?    Pam van Schaik

Very good one, Pam. In Zen practice, you let things flow in and out. So if

a beautiful thought alights in your head while meditating, neither do you

try to capture it nor deny it. But when it passes, you return to your

practice in peace.

This is very different than the practice of art or science, however. While

you need to keep open to new possibilities (the Post-It Yellow Stickie was

an accident, for example), you also need to keep your eyes on the prize, so

to speak.

Another Blake poem that lends itself very well to Zen:

"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.

        ---opening to "Auguries of Innocence"

This is perhaps where I begin to disagree with your view of the fallen and

unfallen worlds, Pam, as seen by Blake, or certainly as seen by me.

In Zen, the mindfulness in actions,

so that you feel like you're treading the sharp edge of a sword,

or running over the steep ridge of an iceberg,

(to paraphrase Katsuki Sekida),

it's important to feel that every step you make matters, and is part of


(at least until you get out of this cycle of re-births).

You can see a glimmer of what that Eternity is in a grain of sand,

or feel something like an expression of Heaven (Nirvana) in a wild flower.

Another good one by Blake for correlation with Zen:


by William Blake

"To find the Western path,

Right thro' the Gates of Wrath

I urge my way.

Sweet Mercy leads me on

With soft repentant moan;

I see the break of day.

"The war of swords & spears

Melted by dewy tears

Exhales on high;

The Sun is freed from fears

And with soft grateful tears

Ascends the sky."

Zen doesn't talk about repentance much (to my knowledge), but its reliance

on the word "love" basically does the same thing. It also talks about

overcoming fear, and remembering that you contain the Buddha within you...

which ties into that famous Blake quote about Jesus being the real God, and

so am I and so are you.

-Randall Albright


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 21:27:18 -0400



Subject: Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

Message-Id: <>

In a message dated 96-07-17 11:57:22 EDT, you write:

<< Hugh, your post on manners went completely over my head. Could you (as


 asked of Coleridge) "explain your explanation"?

                                                Avery Gaskins >>


The beautiful wooden floors of the Imperial Japanese Palace were waxed and

polished to the Nth degree.  They were powerfully slippery.  This was because

the various Shoguns refused to surrender their weapons, even in the palace.

 So.  They had to wear silk pantaloons that were seven feet too long.  If

anyone drew a weapon in the palace, The guards had only to step on the

pantaloons to send the offending one flying.

Hugh Walthall


Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 22:30:39 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ralph Dumain 





Message-Id: <>

"Blake begins by being 18th century, rapidly revolts to

Elizabethan Gothicism, moves on to Godwinism, and eventually can

find no satisfaction until he reaches a sort of

super-Protestantism, a complete individualism of mysticism which

is almost psychotic.  The most genuine revolutionary, his tragedy

is the outcome of an age when, as for Donne, there were no social

forces making for the real release of individualism.  He was

caught in the bourgeois circle.  His interest in Milton and Job

needs no explanation."

from: Caudwell, Christopher.  ROMANCE AND REALISM: A STUDY IN

ENGLISH BOURGEOIS LITERATURE, edited by Samuel Hynes.  Princeton,

NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970,  p. 66.

This must be the single most idiotic paragraph Caudwell wrote in

his entire career.  Caudwell was a brilliant autodidact, but this

passage illustrates what is most disturbing about this book, which

is at the same time an intellectually fertile tour de force and a

galling example of obtuseness to real works of literature.

Caudwell's strength lies in generalities, his talent lies in the

tying in of the various historical phases of capitalism with the

historical development and especially failures of literature, but

there is far too much generalizing and far too little

particularizing.  Caudwell was in a rush to synthesize the entire

universe of knowledge.  Perhaps had he not felt such urgency

(impossible in the mid-1930s), and had he not been killed on his

first day of combat in the Spanish Civil War, he could have

returned to his literary study to make the necessary refinements.


Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 09:17:27 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Re: Blake and Zen - Reply -Reply


Randall, I very much enjoyed the parallels between Blake and Zen which

you adduced.  You say that, in Zen, `every step you take matters' and I

think this is also implicit in BLake's "No Bird soars too high if it soars with

its own wings" and even in "Everything that lives is holy".  In such an

interactive universe, every action and choice would be significant and

one would indeed `become what one beholds'  or what one endorses

spiritually.  To resist that which can draw the spirit downwards is one of

Blake's central themes in my opinion - as dramatised in Los, consistently,

in the longer poems.

I think your quoting Morning is apt, but in this poem, I also see that Blake ,

having abjured the spiritual path of Urizen which leads through `the

Gates of Wrath', and led on by `Sweet Mercy' (of whom he sees Jesus

as representative)  foresees the end of the `Night' of Experience.  This,

surely, is why the dark, fallen Sun of this world is seen as becoming


I'm not sure why you say you disagree with my reading of Blake.

Apologies  for the typo in `He who bends to himself a joy ...'  made in my

posting.    Pam


Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 09:33:49 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Nature vs Eternity


In a recent posting to me personally,  Randall  described Blake as seeing

Nature as something which had to be endured rather than enjoyed.  I

don't think this necessarily follows from his view of this world as a fallen

one.  Although he sees the realms of Innocence in Eternity as the fullest

expression of the divine humanity of all things, and this world as a

distorted shadow of that world, he nevertheless champions Energy,

Delight, Joy, and Mutual Love  in which even sexual love is an

expression of recognition of the divinity in another and is freed from the

`mental chains' of social  and religious mores.   Pam van Schaik


Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 00:46:18 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ralph Dumain 




Message-Id: <>

Today I stumbled upon an essay, which is not only interesting in

its own right, but has passages in it confirming my hypothesis

about Blake's divergence from Culture-worshippers.  Instead of

summarizing the article, permit me to cite a couple of


In Re:

McGann, Jerome J.  "Blake and the Aesthetics of Deliberate

Engagement (To the New Historicists)," in: SOCIAL VALUES AND


MA: Harvard University Press, 1988, pp. 32-49.

Blake is distinguished from Kant and Coleridge in his aesthetics

and its relation to the status quo on p. 43.  Then:

"In the first place, the separation of 'subjective' and

'objective' artistic orders is canceled at the level of artistic

practice.  The point is that, insofar as 'meaning' is involved in

his work, the poetry does not deploy a set of 'images' which 'have

reference to' a secondary order of ideas.  The Kantian idea of a

disinterested art standing apart from social practice, within its

own sphere of autonomy, is the antithesis of everything Blake

believed and made."  (p. 44)


"Blake's position on poetics -- it has much in common with

Shelley's and Byron's -- was not to prevail over that of Kant and

Coleridge.  The complex of ideas which holds that poetry neither

affirms nor denies anything, that it erects a virtual and

autonomous world of its own -- in short, that art is not among the

ideologies -- came to dominate cultural thinking until late in the

twentieth century.  Blake's work itself was eventually interpreted

within the general Kantian/Coleridgean framework.  But there is no

question that Blake saw poetry very differently.  He believed, for

example, that poetry's world is not a virtual reality separated

from the quotidian order; on the contrary, it is engaged with that

order -- engaged in an adverse and critical relationship."  (p.


And now I'll cite the entire final paragraph of the essay:

"In a framework where everything is as it is perceived -- and all

modern theories of artistic work rest on such a premise -- the

problem of art becomes that of the relation between artistic

perception and social engagement.  Criticism formulates that

problem in the question: how does 'interpretation' acquire its

social meaning or significance?  Marx expressed the same problem,

for philosophy, in his famous eleventh thesis on Feuerbach: 'the

philosophers have only _interpreted_ the world in various ways;

the point, however, is to _change_ it.'  What Blake showed,

however, was that there could be an ideological production, even

in the modern world of capitalized productive fragmentation, where

gaps would not be fostered within an artistic interpretation and

its social reproduction.  In a capitalized world, all work may be

abstracted and objectified.  But some works resist the process

more vigorously than others, and may offer positive alternative

forms of communicative action, may suggest these forms even to

criticism."  (p. 49)

You might think I would be ecstatic to see Blake tied in with

Feuerbach and Marx in the same paragraph.  Instead I am perturbed,

for I feel I have been left hanging.  McGann knows that Blake's

engagement with society was not Marx's, and though Blake sought to

change it, he did so by interpreting it.  Marx's thesis 11 says

that the point is to change the world, but he doesn't say that the

point _of philosophy_ is to change the world or that _it_ can do

so.  If we wanted to pursue this call to activism seriously we

could wring our hands like Jack Lindsay over Blake's failure to

engage in any political action or organizing of any sort.  McGann

suggests the more modest notion of the artist's critical

engagement of society in his work.  I won't argue with that, but

the invocation of Marx's thesis 11 is posits a question, not an

answer.  The question is, what does the unity of theory and

practice mean for intellectual and cultural work in itself?  The

relationship between the categories of the intrinsic

characteristics of an activity and its utilitarian, instrumental

deployment has been flubbed many a time, not least by invocation

of this Marxian quip.  I have no fear that McGann has a Stalinist

view of art; I just don't understand the implications for artistic

practice of his specifically 'Marxian' conclusion.


Date:      Thu, 18 Jul 1996 08:11:09 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Avery F. Gaskins" 


Subject:   Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism


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Hugh, ignoring the question is not a suitable rhetorical reply. As I saw it,

your earlier post had little relationship to the debate at hand. At best, it

seemed to be arguing the equivalent of "black is white, red is green."

                                                  Avery Gaskins


Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 11:08:19 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy


Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hugh Walthall's post on the stealth used in taking over a palace... is that

what they were doing, Hugh?... reminds me of one of the many campy

Revolutionary Operas in China which the current fascist regime has seen fit

to ban.

I actually only saw a few fragments of these operas, although I thought

they had a certain style which I rather enjoyed. But Brian Eno used the

title to one of them, "Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy", for his least

successful album, commercially. (It took him years for him to find a new

label for _Before and After Science_ after that debacle.) And that title

reminds me of the stealth involved for the Just Man in Plate 1 of "The

Marriage of Heaven and Hell": how he makes the path, then abandons it for

the higher climes (pun intended). And what is "The Marriage of Heaven and

Hell" about, really? Well, uh... revolution is one. Just like "Taking Tiger

Mountain By Stategy", no doubt. And I'm sure Blake wanted the just to be

victorious, as did the creators of "Tiger Mountain..." The problem in real

life was, in both cases, that eventually the Villain(s) got the upper hand.

Blake, as many have noted in their particularly brilliant posts here, used

stealth extensively in his writing.

Nice post, Hugh.

-Randall Albright

Reality isn't that bad...

as long as it protects your dreams.


End of blake-d Digest V1996 Issue #88