Blake List — Volume 1997 : Issue 35

Today's Topics:
	 Blake Archive update
	 Ackroyd's Biography
	 John Opie
	 Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
	 Re: UNSUSCRIBE - thanks
	 Of crimson joy
	 Re: Of crimson joy
	 The Sick Rose
	 Re: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
	 Eternity and Urizen Again...
	 Re: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
	 Urizenic Roses and Worms of Orc
	 Re: Of crimson joy
	 Re: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?


Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 21:53:36 -0700
From: "Charlie K." 
Subject: Quote
Message-Id: <>

     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


Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 07:48:35 -0700
From: "Charlie K." 
Subject: Quote
Message-Id: <>

With trembling horror pale aghast the Children of Man
Stood on the infinite Earth & saw these visions in the air
In waters & in Earth beneath they cried to one another
What are we terrors to one another. Come O brethren wherefore
Was this wide Earth spread all abroad. not for wild beasts to roam
But many stood silent & busied in their families
And many said We see no Visions in the darksom air
Measure the course of that sulphur orb that lights the darksom day
Set stations on this breeding Earth & let us buy & sell
Others arose & schools Erected forming Instruments
To measure out the course of heaven. Stern Urizen beheld
In woe his brethren & his Sons in darkning woe lamenting
Upon the winds in clouds involvd Uttering his voice in thunders
Commanding all the work with care & power & severity


Date: 	Tue, 25 Mar 1997 10:55:53 -0500 (EST)
From: Joseph Viscomi 
To: blake online 
Subject: Blake Archive update
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

The William Blake Archive
25 March 1997

In late 1996 we were expecting to add new illuminated books to the
Archive very soon.  At the time our strategy called for us to move
forward along two tracks: adding new illuminated books to the site in
its present, rather straightforward form, and meanwhile, in the
background, developing the tools that will produce the final, more
elaborate form of the site in the long run.

You can do a lot, after all, even with the books already available at
the site.  You can move through the plates in any order, bring up
transcriptions of the texts as needed, bring up enlargements of the
plates to examine details, and open multiple windows in your Web
browser to compare plates with one another.

But in the final version of the site, you'll be able to do much more.
As we've explained before, you'll be able not only to search all the
texts for any "text string" (sequence of characters or words) but
also, more remarkably, to search the designs--the larger ones, the
small interlinear ones, or both--to locate any component that
interests you.  In addition, if your browser is able to run programs
written in the language called Java (from Sun MicroSystems) will be
able to use an innovative Java applet (little application, or program)
called INote to study the images in the Archive by looking at enlarged
details and referring to the elaborate network of annotations that we
are composing for every design.  We've recently been developing a
second Java applet that will automatically resize all images to their
actual size, no matter what kind of monitor they are being displayed

Early this year, however, it began to dawn on us that we should
concentrate entirely on the ultimate, enriched version of the Archive.
We have also decided that we should offer two versions of the site:
one "Java-enabled" for those whose Web browsers can run Java applets,
and one for users whose browsers can't.  These changes in our strategy
have unfortunately prevented us from adding new works, but it has
freed up the time, resources, and expertise to get much further than
we otherwise could have with the development work required to put the
site in its final form.  Here's what we can now report:

1.  The end of the crucial first phase of adapting our search
software, DynaText (from Electronic Book Technologies), to the special
textual-visual demands of the Archive is now in sight.  All the
elements--the pages where the illuminated books are displayed, the
pages where text and image searches are launched, the Java applet
INote and the Java applet that resizes images automatically--are in
place and roughly coordinated.

2.  A lot of new design work has been required to make our pages look
the way we want them to look in the new environment created by the
search software.  Most of the major redesigning is finished, and we're
now deciding on details--at this point it's more like choosing
kitchen-cabinet hardware than building walls.

3.  To make the site more useful, we are adding two basic research
tools, a standard text-only edition and a bibliography: David
V. Erdman's edition of The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake
(without the commentary by Harold Bloom) and a fairly extensive list
of books and articles on Blake.

The Erdman edition comes to us courtesy of David and Virginia Erdman
and Nelson Hilton (University of Georgia), whose idea it originally
was to put the Erdman edition online.  Nelson has also done some of
the SGML "tagging," final responsibility for which rests with our
project director, Amy Sexton at IATH, who is now in the home stretch
for this particular part of the Archive.  Once it is at our site--by
early summer, we now think--you will be able to search it along with,
or separate from, all the other texts and images in the Archive.

The list of useful works on Blake should be available at about the
same time, and similarly searchable.  The standard reference
sources--catalogues and editions--will be there, of course, and the
entire list will be cross-categorized under various subject headings,
such as the titles of works (e.g., Jerusalem) and special interests
(e.g., Blake's visual art).

In summary, here's what we expect to happen soon:

April 1997: We hope to have working versions of the two sites--one for
browsers that can run Java, one for browsers that can't--to test and
demonstrate at the public Blake Archive site.

Summer 1997: By early to mid-summer, the text and notes of the Erdman
edition and the list of useful works will both be online and
searchable.  In the course of the summer, we expect to add new
illuminated books to the Archive.  Several of those books are ready
and waiting in the wings, because we have continued to work on the
basic materials of the Archive: first persuading major private and
public collections to let us display the works that we think will give
the Blake Archive its scholarly coherence and integrity; then the long
process of acquiring images of those works, scanning them,
color-correcting them, editing the texts, annotating the images, and
encoding everything, texts and images, in SGML (Standard Generalized
Markup Language), the common currency of our enterprise.

Among the books nearly ready for primetime are All Religions are One
(copy A), There is No Natural Religion (copy C), America (copy E),
Europe (copy B), The Song of Los (copies A and B), The Marriage of
Heaven and Hell (copy D), The Book of Urizen (copy G), Songs of
Innocence and of Experience (copy Z), The Book of Ahania, and The Book
of Los.  [Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi

Forthcoming Demonstrations: 
11 April, "Constructing the Blake Archive: A Progress Report and
Demonstration," Joseph Viscomi. Conference of the Society for
Textual Scholarship, Graduate School and University Center of
the City University of New York.

24 April, "Blake and Hypertext." Joseph Viscomi, Yale University, for the 
Yale Center for British Art. 


Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 16:28:00 -0700
From: "Charlie K." 
Subject: Ackroyd's Biography
Message-Id: <>

I recently purchased a copy of Peter Ackroyd's (1995) biography on
Blake. Interesting.  Looks to me like a good biography.  I was
wondering what the popular opinion is on this book.

I also wanted to mention that Erdman's edition of Blake's Notebook
(1973, reprinted 1977) is no longer available from Edward Hamilton. 
:-(  Does this mean it's now officially out-of-print & unavailable?

Also just wanted to say how great it is going to be when The Blake
Archive is completed.  Great work!  It will be a fine thing to have
all (?) Blake's designs & paintings & engravings available for
viewing (like the Blair's 'Grave' designs & the 'Job' engravings).
And it will also be handy to be able to search the entire text.  For
example, I think a search of all Blake's references to Science might
be interesting, since I get the impression that his attitude toward
Science changed significantly as he got older.

And finally, a Quote:

   The Vegetative Universe. opens like a flower from the Earths center:
   In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell
   And there it meets Eternity again, both within and without,
   And the abstract Voids between the Stars are the Satanic Wheels.


P.S.  How does one go about subscribing to 'Blake/An Illustrated


Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 18:44:26 -0600 (CST)
From: (susan p. reilly)
Subject: John Opie
Message-Id: <>

To all subscribers, and especially Owen Eden, John Lord, Tim Linnell, 
et al.:

Since the rest of the list seems to have gone sub rosa and All is Quiet 
on the Cyber Front, I'd like to pose a somewhat off-list  
problem/question and ask for help from those of you, particularly, who 
live and work in or near the London, Cambridge, Oxford  galleries, 
museums, libraries.

A portrait exists, (somewhere, possibly held privately) painted by John 
Opie, of Basil Montagu, a "minor" Romantic figure--barrister, 
pamphleteer, and litterateur.  It was known to have been at one time  
in the possession of Bryan ("Barry Cornwall") Waller Procter and was 
exhibited  at the National Portrait Exhibition of 1868 (yes that's 
*18*68, not 1968).  Here the trail, alas! grows cold;  the painting is 
not in the National Gallery (I checked), although the NPG houses a 
number of portriats of Montagu's ancestors, the  sometimes nefarious 
and often infamous Earls of Sandwich.  No publications on Opie's works 
I've found can trace the whereabouts of the painting in question.

Do any of you know (i.e., can you easily find out) if Opie's portrait 
of Montagu is in the Tate or Fitzwilliam, Bodleian,  etc. etc. (are 
there portraits in the British Museum?).

Failing that, does anyone  know any more about OPie's works and their 
whereabouts? (I know his portrait of Wollstonecraft is in the NPG).

Any leads would be very much appreciated.


P.S.  Montagu did have tenuous Blake connections.   For example, he 
went about trying to enlist subscriptions for Blake's _Job_.


Date: 27 Mar 97 00:50:07 EST
From: Philip Benz <100575.2061@CompuServe.COM>
To: "" 
Subject: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
Message-Id: <970327055006_100575.2061_GHW53-1@CompuServe.COM>


<< Now if someone could help me with my recently posed query on the
dissemination of Blake in the Caribbean. >>

    Missed your first query on this. I'm convinced that Edouard 
Glissant, a wildly unconventional writer from Martinique, is a closet 
Blakeite. I wish I could tell you more, but I read Glissant before ever 
clapping eyes on Blake, and now all my old books are in a locked storage 
bin half-way round the planet.
    One of Glissant's big things was to demand his right to "poetic 
opacity" -- his stance is very reminiscent of Blake's insistence that 
his readers *work* in order to grasp the meanings carried by his poetry.

    In English, I'd have to suggest Wilson Harris right off. Though I've 
only read his _Palace of the Peacock_, the nonlinear opacity in that 
novel might be hiding a few Blakean references.
    One guy to ask might be Peter Nazareth -- if he's still at U of Iowa, 
he might well have an email number. How does one check such things?
    This is a little off subject, but I can't not mention the equally 
unconventional Martinican musician/performer, Joby Bernabe'. His music 
carries craftily-thought-out traditional themes that are not entirely 
alien to Blake's cosmology either. Things like "Tou ko se ko":
.  "Tou ko se ko.
.  Ko rosh, ko bwa, ko dlo, ko nom,
.  Tou ko se ko.
.  Me se lespri ko ki met ko."

    Loose translation: "All bodies are [part of one] body. / Body of 
rock, body of wood, body of water, body of man, / All bodies are [part 
of one] body. / But it's the spirit of body that is master of body."
    Without a doubt, someone should be looking more closely at this 
stuff. Go for it Ralph!

Cheers,   --- Phil Listine


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 15:12:00 -0800
From: rene 
Subject: Re: UNSUSCRIBE - thanks
Message-Id: <>


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 97 09:28:06 GMT
From: Paul Tarry 
To: blake online 
Subject: Of crimson joy
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Hi, i've been following the list for a few weeks now, ever since 
getting hooked up. Naturally having been hooked up and mainlined  
into William Blake since A-level his was the first name i searched and 
i have really enjoyed the response. Now when doing said Level-A i 
remember being particularly baffled by The Sick Rose and a gloss 
mentioning the sexual nature of the poem. No amount of background 
reading has explained away my intrigue or given me the sense that i 
intuitively understand. Please help!
The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

With thanks in anticipation,
paul tarry 


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 08:27:17 -0500
From: John Hecklinger 
Subject: Re: Of crimson joy
Message-Id: <>
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On sexuality in "The Sick Rose"

Worm and Rose.  Rose and Worm.
Bed of Crimson Joy
Life and Destruction
Sex and Death

Who gets destroyed, the rose or the worm?
Does the rose's life destroy the worm's dark secret love, or
does the worm's dark secret love destroy the rose's life?

In any case the transaction is invasive, stealthy, and happens at night
in bed.

Rose and Worm.  Worm and Rose.
Think about it.


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 05:29:14 -0800 (PST)
From: " Jenny  H." 
Subject: The Sick Rose
Message-Id: <>
Content-Type: text/plain

To me, "The Sick Rose" has little to do with sex.  I think it has more to do
with Blake's view of religion, particularly the church's unhealthy denial of
the dark aspect of God.  Roses usually symbolize wholeness, and by denying the
dark aspect of God, the church cannot accept God in his totality.  Blake wrote
a great deal on this subject, particularly in "The Marriage of Heaven and

Get Your *Web-Based* Free Email at


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 06:38:21 -0800 (PST)
From: Ralph Dumain 
Subject: Re: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
Message-Id: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Philip, thanks for your helpful feedback.  Interesting coincidences: today I
came across a remaindered book by Glissant in the bookstores.  Wilson
Harris's THE PALACE OF THE PEACOCK was the book that CLR James picked up on
and waxed so enthusiastic about from a philosophical point of view.  I
haven't read it, but I have met Harris.  And Harris has commented about
Blake.  I'm pretty sure I uploaded something on this to the Blake list.
Harris mentions how on a surveying expedition in the Guyana jungle he got a
fellow worker to take Blake's "The Tyger" seriously.

Here's a copy of my original inquiry: 

Regarding recent discussion on Blake and the canon, I do not do Blake
scholarship for a living, but I do have an historical question which is of
great practical importance to my own research.  I need to know something
about the history of Blake's introduction into the British educational
system, particularly in the public schools and colleges and their
counterparts in the British colonies.  My own area of research is the
Trinidadian writer C.L.R. James (1901-1989).  James was a student at Queen's
Royal College in Trinidad.  In the documentary record James makes numerous
references to Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, and occasionally Byron,
but not a word about Blake.  James was strongly affected by Greek tragedy
and English literature, and in poetry specifically by these Romantic poets.
After moving to England in 1932, James turned against Wordsworth but became
more attached to Keats and Shelley.  Still no word about Blake.  I must
assume Blake was not part of the canon between before 1925, or James would
have had some exposure in school and hence some commentary in Trinidad. I am
also not well versed in the literary scene in the West Indies in the 1920s
and 1930s, so I don't know if Caribbean literary people were reading Blake.
But if somebody knows about these matters and could inform me, this would be
of great help in my own work.


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 12:57:39 -0500
From: (R.H. Albright)
Subject: Eternity and Urizen Again...
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Let's see...

Now that we've discussed Blake's and individual's interpretations of
Blake's visions of "Eternity", which actually has many definitions and
connotations... I see that this last definition by Damon is perhaps the one
which fatally flaws Blake:

        "Blake's great task therefore was 'to open the Eternal Worlds, to
open the immortal Eyes of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought, in to
Eternity every expanding in the Bostom of God, the Human Imagination' (J

The human imagination... yes... and it's Blake's imagination that nullifies
space and time as aspects of Eternity. Either that, or his acceptance of
the Christian mythology of Eternity as after-life or second-coming, which
at least Blake tries to seize in the "here and now", although... again...
does it get nullified after the "present" is gone???

Maybe that's why Blake is better at shorter rather than epic poems (just my
opinion, of course!), because:

"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."

rings true to me, just as, later in the same poem:

"A Dog starv'd at his Master's Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus'd upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood."

rings true in its beyond merely anthropomorphic "signifier/signified" use
of animals as symbols.

Whereas "annihilation of the self" is an aspiration, but can't even happen
to saints. You still wake up in the morning and see yourself in the mirror.
You only get annihilated when you're DEAD. The truth is in the dialectic
Blake poses in "The Clod and the Pebble", that we is a constantly struggle
between selfish and selfless views of "love". Even Saints may be doing
seemingly "selfless" things for the simply selfish attempt to get out of
the cycle of reincarnations called LIFE.

And this gets back to another very real discussion, of why Urizen fell out
from the Eternals. Couldn't one call life an aberration? The
Hindu-Buddhists seem to think so, always trying to get out of the circle of
reincarnation. In this light, Urizen's fall is merely like any other
painful fall which we may call, by another name, BIRTH.

And yes, as long as there is space and time and Blakeans who breathe life
into his mythology (sorry, Mr. Blake, but I believe you're dead. And now,
like Christ, as you knew, you're free of the constraints that being merely
mortal put upon even a great person), there will always be Urizen and Los
and... so much more.

-Randall Albright


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 12:27:37 -0600
From: Vesely 
Subject: Re: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
Message-Id: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Ralph, I'm glad that you have found direct evidence of a possible source of
awareness of Blake by James--

At 06:38 AM 3/27/97 -0800, you wrote:
>Philip, thanks for your helpful feedback.  Interesting coincidences: today I
>came across a remaindered book by Glissant in the bookstores.  Wilson
>Harris's THE PALACE OF THE PEACOCK was the book that CLR James picked up on
>and waxed so enthusiastic about from a philosophical point of view.  I
>haven't read it, but I have met Harris.  And Harris has commented about
>Blake.  I'm pretty sure I uploaded something on this to the Blake list.
>Harris mentions how on a surveying expedition in the Guyana jungle he got a
>fellow worker to take Blake's "The Tyger" seriously.
>but, from your original inquiry: 
>I must
>assume Blake was not part of the canon between before 1925, or James would
>have had some exposure in school and hence some commentary in Trinidad.

Right--Blake was not seriously in the canon anywhere until Frye's 1946
*Fearful Symmetry,* although there were a few good efforts out on Blake
before that.



Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 13:43:20 -0500
From: John Hecklinger 
Subject: Urizenic Roses and Worms of Orc
Message-Id: <>
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Jenny H.

I think your reading of "The Sick Rose" as a poem about God and Religion
is right on.  I did not mean to limit the poem's possibilities by
writing about its sexual content.  "The Sick Rose" supports an infinite
variety of readings, much like the rest of Blake's poetry.

Worm = political subversive 	Rose = corrupt political system
Worm = religious subversive 	Rose = corrupt religious system
Worm = the masculine  		Rose = the feminine
Worm = pollution  		Rose = the environment
Worm = singular vision 		Rose = complexity of perception
Worm = God			Rose = Satan
Worm = Satan			Rose = God
Worm = Aggression		Rose = Weakness
Worm = Decadence		Rose = Purity
Worm = Natural Chaos		Rose = Fleeting bifurcation of order

The tricky thing is that all of these formulations go both ways.

Who destroys whom?
Who wins?
Who ever wins?

The struggle is the thing.

The Readiness is all.
Without contraries is no progression.
Everything that lives is holy.


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 17:03:10 -0700
From: "Charlie K." 
Subject: Quote
Message-Id: <>

[Had quite a reading in the school library today of Jerusalem,
plates 66-73.  Actively working to contain my emotion in the quiet
setting. Absolutely wonderful!  The more I learn, the more these
poems reveal! Grinning from ear to ear as I read.  These particular
lines really raised the ol' eyebrows...  -ck]


But no one can consummate Female bliss in Loss World without
Becoming a Generated Mortal, a Vegetating Death


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 20:14:10 -0600 (CST)
From: (susan p. reilly)
Subject: Re: Of crimson joy
Message-Id: <>

Dear Paul,

You wrote: 
  No amount of background 
>reading has explained away my intrigue or given me the sense that i 
>intuitively understand. Please help!
>The Sick Rose
>O Rose thou art sick.
>The invisible worm.
>That flies in the night
>In the howling storm:
>Has found out thy bed
>Of crimson joy:
>And his dark secret love
>Does thy life destroy.

If you go to

you will find critical summaries on "The Sick Rose" by Meyerstein, 
Gleckner, Hirsch, Gillham, Holloway, Ostriker, Natoli, Glen, Gardner, 
Pagliaro, Cervo, Srigley, and Mellard which are succint and very 
useful, not to mention varied.  Everything from the rose's burden of 
concealed sexuality, an admonition against the "self-enjoyings of 
self-denial,"  the "death and destruction implicit in the world of 
genration" to Christian allegory and beyond is offered as an 
interpretive reading.



Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 22:39:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Nelson Hilton 
Subject: punctilio
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

URLs, like poetry, admit not a Letter or Mark that is Insigificant...

On Thu, 27 Mar 1997, susan p. reilly wrote:

> If you go to 

nb:      virtual.park

Cheers, NH


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 22:13:30 -0800 (PST)
From: Ralph Dumain 
Subject: Re: Blake & Caribbean: Glissant? Harris?
Message-Id: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

At 12:27 PM 3/27/97 -0600, Vesely wrote:
>Ralph, I'm glad that you have found direct evidence of a possible source of
>awareness of Blake by James--

I hope I didn't confuse you, for I am sure confused now. I never asserted
that because Wilson Harris was aware of Blake and James was aware of Harris,
that James was aware of Blake.  My memory has a lot of blank spots, but
nowhere in the James corpus that I am aware of does James refer directly to
Blake, whereas he refers many times to Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats,
sometimes to Byron and Coleridge.  The only Blake references in James are
allusions such as the following:

"The freedom which would enable the Rastafari to build their new
Jerusalem in Jamaica's green and pleasant land would enable the
Pattersons to steel and temper their weapons upon some dark and
satanic mills."

-- C.L.R. James, "Rastafari at Home and Abroad" [review of Orlando
Patterson's THE CHILDREN OF SISYPHUS], 1964, reprinted in: AT THE
1984, pp. 163-165), p. 165.

For James even to make such tongue-in-cheek remarks does not require that
James ever read a line of Blake, but only that he heard Paul Robeson sing
Parry's "Jerusalem."  I'd bet the farm that this is where James got these
lines from.

>Right--Blake was not seriously in the canon anywhere until Frye's 1946
>*Fearful Symmetry,* although there were a few good efforts out on Blake
>before that.

By good efforts you mean critical studies, but the question is, when does
Blake get incorporated inot teaching in schools, at elementary, secondary,
or college level, let alone at the level of practicing literary scholars?
There could be some relationship to formal critical studies and the
incorporation of Blake into popular culture, but I am too lacking in
knowledge to be able to know anything about the penetration of Blake into
defined literary circles or the general reading public, where and when.

Last night I was looking through Edouard Glissant's CARIBBEAN DISCOURSE:
SELECTED ESSAYS.  There is no index and I am completely ignorant about
Glissant.  Is there anything in this book I should look out for?  Is there
anything specifically by Glissant that reminds you of Blake that I should read?

End of blake-d Digest V1997 Issue #35