blake-d Digest				Volume 1996 : Issue 91

Today's Topics:

	 Tilting at windmills

	 Re: Blake and Archetype Cities

	 Re: O'Keefe on Blake

	   Re: Joseph of Arimathea

	 RE: Blake and Archetype Cities

	 INTRO: Charlie Kidder

	 Re: Blake and Archetype Cities

	 A View on Priam

	 Re: Joseph of Arimathea

	 RE: Blake and Archetype Cities

	      geography, individuality,poetic genius


Date: Fri, 19 Jul 1996 17:10:04 -0400 (EDT)

From: Izak and Gloudina Bouwer 


Subject: Tilting at windmills

Message-Id: <>

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  Ralph Dumain, yesterday I started writing, and then erased,

a post reacting to your previous quotations of McGann and your

thoughts about it. I wanted to ask you why I found all that 

stuff so utterly bo-o-oring. Usually I assume that I am just

not intellectually advanced enough to understand those subtle

nuances of thought. But yesterday I felt more aggressive. I 

asked myself why I feel that people like McGann (and you in that

post) looked like Don Quixotes tilting at windmills.

  And then it dawned on me. The windmills that these latter day

Marxists and critics of Marxists are tilting at are all so nine-

teenth century and early twentieth centuryish.They are centered 

around the concept of "work" and a concept of  society that

is outdated, to say the least. Also, what dates them is their

concept of what "Art" is. So that they are only relevant to the

cloistered bookish behind-the-times types who still agonize

about whether they read Wordsworth correctly or not. I am talking

about people who take no note of the art and content of for instance

the work of Michael Jackson, who is for better or for worse probably

going to be declared the artist of the century by 90% of the popula-

tion of the world. And do these people in their ivory towers know

of the subtle surreal videos of Dwight Yoakam? (Boys, am I going to

get it!) 

  To  return to Wordsworth again. I still believe that only what

is on the page or heard with the ear is relevant. A Wordsworth or a 

Blake poem will survive to the end of the next century because of what

it transmits directly to us, in our own time with its changing social

agendas and concepts of art. Poets are like technicians of the spiritual

energies of man, to borrow a phrase from Teilhard de Chardin. We really

do not need to have these middlemen try and tell us what to think or

feel about poetry. It is transmitted directly to us by a good poet.

   Ralph, when I read your other post this morning, I was so relieved.

Your soul is not wandering in the desert of intellectualism after all. 

Can we now hear your poem? And afterwards start having a discussion about

the role of Jesus in Blake's work.That thought really turns me on. I dig

both those guys.


Gloudina Bouwer


Date: Fri, 19 Jul 1996 14:48:25 -0500

From: (J. Michael)


Subject: Re: Blake and Archetype Cities

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>wouldn't you say Blake sees a corruption to the

>term commerce, which is largely how cities come about?


>I personally think Richardson is wrong in _Emerson, Mind on Fire_, when he

>claims Emerson is the ONLY Romantic to embrace commerce. (Emerson, however,

>like Blake, found disparities between rich and poor to be dangerous.)

>Actually, I think both Blake and Emerson liked commerce for the same

>reason: interchange of ideas. Emerson didn't dread a sort of moderated

>industrialized progress, however. You have to read Blake's "black" as

>"white" to see him as a friend of the Industrial Revolution.


>Or do you?


>-Randall Albright

Yes, yes, and maybe.  "The City," "Commerce," and "Industry" are related,

but not interchangeable.  Remember that there was a city long before there

was an Industrial Revolution, and that our own cities are more

post-industrial than industrial these days.  Blake is contradictory on

commerce, just as he is on the city:  he retains a double awareness

(Innocence and Experience?) of how things "are," or appear to be, and how

they could be.  So we have, on the Laocoon plate,

"Where any view of Money exists Art cannot be carried on" 


"The Whole Business of Man Is the Arts & All Things Common"

but in _Jerusalem_, in the lyric I've been quoting so much lately,

"In my Exchanges every Land

Shall walk, & mine in every Land,

Mutual shall build Jerusalem:

Both heart in heart & hand in hand."

Wordsworth doesn't see London as a monster?  Well, in Book Seven of the

Prelude he comes awfully close.  But Blake's description of London as "a

Human awful wonder of God" is a lot more complex.

Jennifer Michael


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 00:31:36 -0500 (CDT)

From: Darlene Sybert 


Subject: Re: O'Keefe on Blake


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On Fri, 19 Jul 1996, R.H. Albright wrote:

[text deleted]


> 1) Many was enamored with these men's philosophies, so Blake took it upon

> himself to criticize their shortcomings. But where does he, in the official

> poetry, REALLY criticize them beyond generalizing, himself? Where does he

> talk about their "rationalist ideology attempts to transcend the minute

> particulars of actual human experience through generalization"? All I seem

	[text deleted]

	Part of Blake's accomplishment, of course, is the way he

	slides these critiques of mis-thinking into his works 

	in bits and pieces, which build up into a refutation

	of An  Erroneous Idea.  The reader has to work at it 

	if he wants an explicit statement.....

	oh, well, if you don't want to, you could read _Fearful

	Symmetry_.  Frye gathers up all those bits and pieces

	in one place for the edification of he who runs,

	especially Locke who gets the first chapter."The Case

	Against Locke."

	Blake's marginalia in his copy of Bacon's _Essays_

	is somewhat explicit. You can find it in Keynes,_Complete

	Writings of William Blake_

	In "There is No Natural Religion," the first series states

	Locke's philosophy of the five senses until it becomes absurd

	and Blake finishes it off with:

	"If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character, the 

Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things, & 

stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again."

(You remember that, don't you?)

	The second series of that poem contradicts the aphorisms of the 

	first series and says "He who sees the Infinite in all things,

	sees God.  He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only.  

	Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is."

	(Note the present tense.)

	Locke's "philosophy of the five senses," is attacked again in

	_Daughters of Albion_, plate 3 for 11 lines, (I think that is when

	 Oothoon blames him for the limiting of man's brain.(note the



	I think the only place there is a sustained comment on Newton,

	it concerns his Unitarianism (Everlasting Gospel), but scattered 

	through Milton, Jerusalem and the Songs of Innocence are allusions

	to Newton's omission of God, man and life from the Universe. 

	BUT, as ye old faithful Damon points out,  when error is at its 

	height, it's end is near:

	It is the "mighty Spirit from the land of Albion named Newton"

	who has the power to blow 'the Trump of the last doom' (Europe)


	In the poetry, look at Jerusalem, plate 93 where Enitharmon

        has a few things to say about Bacon, Newton and Locke.

	and Los says they were a necessary evil to "prepare the way"

	for Truth (a rather obvious plagarism of the New Testament, but

	we'll let it pass).

Darlene Sybert 

University of Missouri at Columbia   (English)


Once we have left the waters of the womb, we have to construct a space for

ourselves in the air for the rest of our time on earth--air in which we can

breathe and sing freely, in which we can perform and move at will. -Irigaray



Date:      Sat, 20 Jul 1996 09:07:11 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Avery F. Gaskins" 


Subject:   Re: Joseph of Arimathea


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Randall, I haven't had time to read all my posts yet, so somebody may already

have answered your question, but I won't have time to answer after reading all

my mail. Here goes. As I understand the legend, Joseph of Arimathea is supposed

to have brought the grail to England after the death of Jesus. I don't recall

Jesus accomanying him in resurrected or unrsurrected form.

                                                   Avery Gaskins


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 10:30:36 -0500

From: (J. Michael)


Subject: RE: Blake and Archetype Cities

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Good points, Paul!  Your analysis of the status of the land agrees with

what I'm saying in my dissertation:  that the land is there to be

cultivated--a word that encompasses both agriculture and "culture" in the

sense of civilization and its arts.  When Blake says "The Primeval State of

Man was Wisdom, Art and Science," he's agreeing with Adam Ferguson and

several other anti-primitivists that there's no such thing as a "state of

nature," that man from the beginning has used imagination to shape the

world around him.  So it's not a choice between city and country, but

between constructive and destructive cities (or human and inhuman ones): 

Jerusalem and Babylon.

As for the shift from pastoral lyric to urban epic:  I argue in my chapter

on the _Songs_ that Blake is moving from the pastoral to the urban world

there, or rather incorporating the pastoral into the urban.  In the "final"

arrangement of the songs, we move very quickly from "The Shepherd," "The

Ecchoing Green," and "The Lamb" to the un-pastoral dissonances of "The

LIttle Black Boy" and "The Chimney Sweeper."  My argument is that the urban

and pastoral worlds mutually critique each other, exposing  the limits of

the pastoral perspective but also offering the pastoral as a humanizing

model for the city.

But you're right; the shorter prophecies have very few images of cities,

which is why my remaining chapters deal with _The Four Zoas_, _Milton_, and

_Jerusalem_.  And the city in _FZ_ is less specific than it becomes

later--I'm thinking of Urizen's construction of the Mundane Shell, with its

golden halls and slave labor, and the first sketchy descriptions of

Golgonooza.  But to me, what Blake is describing in _FZ_ is the way nature

and the material world first got defined as something outside humanity: 

the creation of space, its definition and colonization, and the role of

human labor in constructing all environments, whether "urban" or "rural."

Jennifer Michael


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 13:46:51 -0700

From: "Charlie K." 


Subject: INTRO: Charlie Kidder

Message-Id: <>


Glad to have found this list.  I'm a 23 year old student who attends

Arizona State University and who hopes to be receiving his Bachelor's

degree in Biology come December.  My interest in Blake is something

that I've cultivated independently over the last couple of years.  I

recently discovered the 6 volumes of Blake's illuminated books

published by The Blake Trust and The Princeton University Press.  So

far I have collected 5 of the 6 books (yet to get Vol. 5 "Milton")...

I hope to have all 6 by summer's end.  Reading the poems with their

surrounding paintings is like encountering them for the first time. 

The reproductions I have seen so far "on-line" seem to lack the

"minute particulars" and clarity of the printed reproductions, as I'm

sure the printed reproductions fall short of the originals.

Is it a sign one is becoming hooked into the mythology when one is

out there delivering pizzas, driving along listening to music and

thinking about none other than Los and Urizen and Enitharmon?

Glad to be aboard,


"What God is he, writes laws of peace, & clothes him in a tempest

 What pitying Angel lusts for tears, and fans himself with sighs

 What crawling villain preaches abstinence & wraps himself

 In fat of lambs? no more I follow, no more obedience pay."


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 18:01:34 -0400



Subject: Re: Blake and Archetype Cities

Message-Id: <>

"A City, yet a Woman."  Is this Blake's description of Jersalem?  Perhaps a

look-see at woman in Blake would also give insight into his urban thing.  You

cannot Idealize something without also Demonizing it...and Blake does that

a'plenty with both women and cities.  Babylon Mystery the Great......Big

Apple.....Tinsel Town.  Descriptions of women and descriptions of

cities/architecture are in some senses identical.  Read  some detective

novels. (She had a balcony you could do Shakespeare from. -Raymond Chandler)

To paraphrase Freud:  "There are no fixed and absolute symbols or images in

dreams which always mean the same thing.  Except, if you dream of a house you

are dreaming of your mother."  Rimshot.  Smattering of laughter from the

nightclub audience.  (Sigi baby, you'd get more laughs if you said

mother-in-law. -Freud's Agent, after the show)....

Excellent discussion, Paul & Jennifer.  And thanks to all for getting me up

to snuff on Joey the Tin Merchant, Friend of God.  (I wonder if he had that

on his business card?)

Hugh Walthall


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 19:31:33 -0500

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: A View on Priam


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Pual Yoder wrote:

>In my view this business goes back to the

>myths of British origin, the myth that Britain was founded by Trojan Brutus,

>the descendent of Priam of Troy/Iliad fame.  Blake calls this myth the

>"Covenant of Priam" and *Jerusalem* is his attempt to replace this covenant /

>myth with the "Covenant of Jehovah.">>>>>>>>

So the Druids built Stonehenge after Brutus came to the island?

>Geography is tied in to all this because

>Jerusalem was originally part of England/Albion (look, I just report the


And Blake just imagines things well.

>and Albion's fall involved a literal, geographic separation of Jerusalem to

>the other side of the Mediterranean.  Blake's catalogs of cities and counties

>assigning them to the various tribes of Israel are neither arcane nor

>pointless filler -- they are Blake's attempt to overlay the map of Canaan onto

>the map of England, his attempt to repair fallen geography.>>>>>>

He loves to repair geography, correct his favorite poet, improve the Bible,

doesn't he? No wonder people get confused sometimes, though!

> Regarding the

>-- nevermind.   I develop this argument more, including the ideological

>implications of the canon revision implied in replacing *The Iliad* with The

>Bible, in an article scheduled to appear in *Blake IQ* sometime soon.


>Paul Yoder

Good stuff, Mr. Yoder! See, even a novice like me can elicit some way cool

information from a friendly Blakean like you.

-Randall Albright


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 20:21:19 -0500

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Re: Joseph of Arimathea


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Thanks Avery.

No, nobody else answered,

but your story does jibe more with what I've heard.

-Randall Albright

>Randall, I haven't had time to read all my posts yet, so somebody may already

>have answered your question, but I won't have time to answer after reading all

>my mail. Here goes. As I understand the legend, Joseph of Arimathea is supposed

>to have brought the grail to England after the death of Jesus. I don't recall

>Jesus accomanying him in resurrected or unrsurrected form.


>                                                   Avery Gaskins


Date: Sat, 20 Jul 1996 19:32:21 -0500

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: RE: Blake and Archetype Cities


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Interesting points, Jennifer and Paul. It's obvious you read ALOT of Blake,

and I read only SOME. Gee, maybe that's why you have Ph.D.s and teach this

stuff while I only read it for fun!

Problems with either your views of Blake or Blake himself, though...


>What does it mean for Blake to be "ecology-minded"?  I've been thinking

>about building Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land -- what is

>the status of the land here?  Well, it's here to build a city on.  However

>green and pleasant the land may be, the last thing anybody really wanted

>was *unimproved" nature.  Broadly speaking, in the 18th century there is a

>spectrum running from nature to art to artifice.  Artifice is bad because

>it makes you look insincere; nature is not quite bad, but it wants the

>human touch -- where man is not, existence is not.  England may be green

>and pleasant, but it needs a good city.>>>>>>>>>>

Yes, think about building Jerusalem, but if it goes all over Albion, it

won't be green and pleasant anymore. I've noticed this tendency in Blake

and others, who will remain nameless because I love them, to think that

things are "barren" until man gets there. Then all of a sudden you can get

honey bees to sing and bushes to grow... which is, in fact, alot of how the

present state of Israel has done amazing things with unfavorable land.

But... is the land "barren" before you got there? Olmsted built great urban

parks to relieve the citizens of New York, Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, and

more, but he also realized that places like Yosemite were perfect, as is.

And as far as the 19th century, toward which I see Blake turning the corner

(literally, of course he was), the great Turner of Blake's England, Thomas

Cole in America, and so many others in the visual arts are NOT into

domestication of nature. They romanticize its savagery, like "Tyger, Tyger"

at times. Is it because they know, like Melville's story, that we have the

capability to NAIL that white whale, only to get laughed off (hopefully) in

the end? My belief is that Moby Dick made it, and THANK GOD. And that

Melville would be a GreenPeace supporter, too!

So this what sounds like an insult to ecology... if it's true in

"Jerusalem", it's not happening in the Songs, which again... handwriting,

leaves growing around stuff... MY reading? Ecology. Lessons in human

relations as well as ecosystem management, 1789-95 style.

Maybe that's why "Tyger, Tyger" has such a powerful appeal. It AT LEAST is

still untamed. So... Jerusalem... what is this great city? Why would I want

to be there? Blake marks me as the BAD guy because I'm a post-Christian

pantheist Deist agnostic piece of ****. I don't feel welcome. I laugh at

his revisionist Christian doctrine, whereas earlier I LOVE the challenging

of assumptions to see what's really TRUE and GOOD. Can you throw me a

Welcome mat to this city of imagination? What about the Arabs, who think of

Jerusalem as THEIR city? Is the invitation to the Jews satisfactory? And

then there's the rest of the world that has never had desart religion to

begin with.

More from Paul:

>Perhaps we can use this idea to reconcile the city/country business.

>Regardlessof what I or others think, we are not going to settle the

>question of what Blake *really* liked.  Indeed, in those terms, who really

>cares?  We can say,though, that he begins with pastoral lyric and ends

>with urban epic (roughly speaking).>>>>>>>

True. And why does he lose so many reader/viewers along the way, Paul? Why

do I want to associate him with the Arts and Crafts Movement (over and over

again), socialist idealists who said, "Hey, surround yourself with BEAUTY.

Hang it on your walls. Make it in your chairs. But have a community, too."

And why does Rimbaud's "Ville" ("City") poem seem to me like the perfect

nightmare of everything Blake feared from the modern world? Haussman

boulevards. Los Angeles freeways. I don't want Jerusalem in Paris OR L.A.,

but I want a world that has style and depth, not flat-footed malls.


Date:         Sat, 20 Jul 96 21:51:56 CDT

From: Mark Trevor Smith 


Subject:      geography, individuality,poetic genius

Message-Id: <>

Paul Yoder is exactly right to justify Blake's geographical catalogs

in terms of re-creating fallen geography.  I look forward to reading

his entire essay in BIQ (soon I hope).  Like the Bible, on whose

geography Blake analogizes that of England, Blake unifies human

and land (even as British nobility's names are identical to those

of the land) as part of his general project of unity.  But--and this

is a big but as Pee-Wee's Big Adventure reminds us--no individual can

encompass that unity.  Hence the necessity for minute particulars,

for wiry bounding lines, for vigorous self-declaration.  For it is

only in sharp assertion of being that unity, which must be formed by

particulars, can ever be built.  So Los keeps hammering, keeps

building Golgonooza, not because he never makes mistakes, but because

the power of Forgiveness allows life to regenerate after every

fallen disaster perpetrated by even the best-intentioned of us.

      We are, as many in these pages have argued recently, both fallen

and Visionary, and denying either one of those states just keeps

everything dark for us.  The universal Poetic Genius is the force and

power that permits us to leap beyond the limits of empiricism.  That

Genius creates religions (same thing as art).  "Jewish & Christian

Testaments are An original derivation from the Poetic Genius."  But

that statement does not privilege Blake's particular religion, for

"this is necessary from the confined nature of bodily sensation."

Since each individual--and each country such as Albion--must necessarily

be partial, then each individual must fully express whatever it can

express.  "All Religions ... have one source."  That is why all

religions are one and why the only way to find that oneness is to

express our individuality.

      "As all men are alike in outward form, So (and with the same infinite

variety) all are alike in the Poetic Genius."  Look at a human's general

outline and it is similar to every other human's.  And yet each human is

unique.  So, when Blake superimposes English geography over Israel's, he

is using his particular land ("And did those feet ...?") and his

particular aspect of Genius as an expression of the unity that

most of us spend most of our time trying to deny and cancel.

    From my point of view, Blake is not trying to tell us the "Truth," and

hence much of our frustration in trying to understand him.  Instead, he

embodies & urges amethod, one of vigorous artistic creation which is

free enough from egotism and Selfhood to allow itself egotistical

expression, for we do not discover all that is possible through

lawgiving at a dead end, but by constantly sinning (that's why Jesus

is Friend of Sinners), constantly forgiving, and constantly building.

      The convolutions of Jerusalem, and of Blake's whole oeuvre, can

be read as a map of the spirit struggling for "all," and the

agonizing traps (especially Mental Traveller) that we lay for ourselves

and for each other.  Blake is kin to the Hebrew prophets because

he screams to wake us from our complacent collaboration with

business as usual, from our blindness to miracles in every moment,

from our reluctance to draw the wiry, bounding line.


End of blake-d Digest V1996 Issue #91