Blake List — Volume 1997 : Issue 54

Today's Topics:
	 Olive Branches...
	 RE: Private E-Mails and DEAD MAN
	 RE: Private E-Mails and DEAD MAN
	 Re: Elohim, Blake and the Authorized Translation
	 Re: Elohim
	 Last Druid Post -Reply
	 Orc, his life and times -Reply
	 Re: Elohim and Other Matters
	 Drop me from mailing list.


Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 17:22:29 -0400
From: (R.H. Albright)
Subject: Olive Branches...
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Jim Watt:

I *hope* that Tom and I are now working out a "private" peace. I personally
believe that one of us is a dolphin, and one of us is a shark. Can you
guess who is which? Kind of like... the Good and Evil angels, perhaps! Only
our perspectives of each other know for sure!

I'll say to the group what I've been saying to Tom. We have _vastly
different perspectives_ to approaching Blake's art. To me, that adds to the
richness of ths group. I appreciate his in-depth scholarly knowledge of
Blake. I don't have it, nor do I claim it, although I do have a significant
amount of "Blake criticism" on my bookshelf, and I have more than browsed a
few of them, and I *have* taken a course on Romantic Literature that
included this great man.

So what you see with Tom is perhaps a great strength in "authorial intent"
and what you see in me is a Nietzschean/Barthean defense of
"reader/viewer's rights". I also have been getting a great kick, lately,
out of _Derrida for Beginners_ by Jim Powell. Really, there's no need to go
any further (I've tried!). But that comic book is really GREAT!

As far as the later epics, Jim, you're right. I mean, I may be right. I may
be wrong. I know Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane/Starship kept
cranking out albums after "Volunteers", when to me their apex is
"Surrealistic Pillow" --> that album. But then again, they're artists! What
else were they supposed to do? Pete Townshend? Yeah, he's still around, I
guess. I personally prefer Blake's *visual* art around-- oh, say, 1795. I
find the "Jerusalem" stuff (at least the core b/w plates) weak, in
comparison to something as highly imaginative as "The Book of Ahania" or,
perhaps my favorite-- and I've even read the poem about five times! please,
again, someone read my Web interpretation of it (originally written for
this group) and tell me where I SINNED in my interpretation of it!-- or
tell me a visual/verbal explanation that you LIKE-- "The [First] Book of

I personally prefer the original "Poison Tree" to the one which Darlene
Sybert pointed out in "Jerusalem". It was concise, there was room for three
valid views on it in this group roughly a year ago (one guy-- I forget his
name-- sorry!-- presented an "Old Testament" view, Jennifer Michael a "New
Testament" view, and mine was "Bible Free"), and there STILL is room for
more interpretation of that poem, because it has depth, breadth, and enigma
to BREATHE. Who, for instance, is that narrator? Could he perhaps have
offended the person whom he designated as the "enemy", and that's why the
"enemy" was trying to get back by stealing his apple? We'll never know, but
it's interesting speculation! There's a richness in early Blake, in shorter
poems, that I personally find exhausting and just not worth it in these
massive efforts to resuscitate Blake from his own depression or trying to
reunite Albion with Jerusalem in what is supposed to be an INclusionary
act, but I find to be repulsively EXclusionary. I also don't like some of
the metaphors in his later poems. Sorry. Give me Kubla Kahn or give me... a
plate from "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" to ponder. Not a big "Thel"
fan, either, for that matter. All these worries about whether the worm is a
he or a she? Whereas "The Sick Rose"-- it doesn't matter if it's a he or a
she although it DOES appear to be a SHE that emerges, as much as how she's
USING that rose to metamophose!

But, as I said privately to Jennifer Michael, I DO keep a crack open in the
door to reevaluate those longer works, even as I've gotten slapped as "an
idiot" for misconstruing them in the past, or arguing with The Prophet
himself on his ideas.

But at least this group talks. Thank God. I won't mention another
"official, scholarly" group to which I belong, in which the only thing they
can ponder is how to spell the adjective form of the author's name!
Honestly. At least Helen Croom and I offer an alternative, and some
academics deign to chat with us admirers of the nutcase-- I mean, *artist*!

Yes: I'd like, too, to hear why so many people are hunting around in
"Jerusalem" and "Milton"? Do I misunderstand, Jim, that you now find them
EASIER to grasp than the earlier ones that I love so much? If so, although
that is NOT true for me, it might be a case to give the earlier works some
more attention! (Double-binded, folks?)

I, as an artist, read things based on this simple premise. It's actually a
paraphrase of one of my heroes, Jesus: "What has this got to do with ME?"
And if I feel like there's a kindred spirit there, if there's something to
which I can relate and that I still find fresh, vital, and worth pondering,
I go with it.

Take care, one and all-------

Randall Albright


Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 17:40:46 -0500 (CDT)
From: Darlene Sybert 
Subject: RE: Private E-Mails and DEAD MAN
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On Fri, 2 May 1997, WATT wrote:

> Randall: don't be so hard on poor Tom D.  As to the "long-winded" epics, 
> I don't know if you're right or wrong.  What I _do_ know is that W.B. spent a 
> considerable part of his valuable time, composing, designing, etching, 
> printing and finishing them.  Before I'd line myself up with the scholars who 
> find the epic poems "disappointing," I'd ask myself who is disappointed 
> --and why?  I used to think they were harder to teach than the Songs and 
> MHH --but lately they haven't even been that.  It could be that we are 
> finally catching up to them?  Jim Watt  

I think so--in the same way that the older we get, the smarter our parents

Darlene Sybert vsa
You never know what is enough 
until you know what is more than enough.
--William Blake


Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 20:43:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: Paul Michael Hanson 
Subject: RE: Private E-Mails and DEAD MAN
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Michael Hanson
1805 Garden Ave #13
Eugene Or. 97403

e mail:

Telephone: 541.485.4677

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
                             Albert Einstein


Date: Sat, 3 May 97 13:02:27 -0700
From: Richard Record 
Subject: Re: Elohim, Blake and the Authorized Translation
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R.H. Albright 5/2/97 9:33 AM

>In my King James version, Genesis 1 just says "God". Isn't this the version
>of The Bible that was the "core text" in Blake's time?
>By Genesis 2. I see "the LORD God" being invoked by verse 4. This is the
>God that created Adam, verse 7, named Adam on verse 19. (Correct me if I'm
>wrong on any of this! I'm interested...)
It should be noted that Blake learned to read Hebrew. In fact, the 
ancient Hebrew predilection for puns is evident in his own writing. At 
any rate, he likely did not depend upon the Authorized Version for his 
choices of the names of God.


Richard Record and Gail Gastfield  |"Love BEARS all things."                      |"Eternity is in love         | with the productions of time." - 
13123 47th Pl.W.,Mukilteo WA 98275 |"Please look after this bear"


Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 21:49:27 -0500 (CDT)
From: Darlene Sybert 
Subject: Re: Elohim
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On Fri, 2 May 1997, R.H. Albright wrote:
> Interesting information on the subject of Elohim. Do you think Blake was
> playing on those various meanings in his "Elohim Creating Adam" painting,
> or do you see it as a reference to Genesis 1?
> In my King James version, Genesis 1 just says "God". Isn't this the version
> of The Bible that was the "core text" in Blake's time?

I see that while I was away for the weekend getting dental assistance,
Richard has answered these questions.  I would just add that even if
Blake had not read Hebrew, he would have known about the different
meanings of God's name.  They have never been a secret in the Christian
world since they are used to substantiate some important points of
doctrine.  Someone who knew the Bible as well as Blake would have known
them.  But he may have taken some artistic license with what he knew..

For example, Elohim creating Adam:  The first chapter of Genesis
refers just briefly to Elohim creating "man in his own image, male
and female he created them."  Then Genesis chapter 2 gives the details
of the creation of man by YHWH ELHM (Yahweh Elohim).  The first chapter
is an account of something done by that impersonal supreme God way up
there.  But from the moment of man's creation (followed so quickly by
his fall), the writer of Genesis encourages his readers that this very
holy God has provided redemption (since Yahweh includes thte idea of

I haven't seen the painting you reference, but I would assume that
Blake is emphasizing God's power, might, and holiness as opposed to
concern for or closeness to the man he is creating.

Darlene Sybert vsa
You never know what is enough 
until you know what is more than enough.
--William Blake


Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 10:06:17 +0200
From: P Van Schaik 
Subject: Last Druid Post -Reply

The Druid wisdom you inform us of would have been highly approved of
by Blake as he himself places forgiveness  as a sublime quality,
constantly contrasting the Accuser with the Forgiver.  I think, too, that he
would have approved of the type of humility you advocate, though not
the type that cringes in false holiness.  I can imagine that Blake would
have kept an open mind re  whatever truths he felt he could embrace
spiritually, whether these were found in Freemasonry, millenarianism,
kabbalah, gnosticism , Swedenborg, Boehme, or Druidism.  I think he
chose his own spiritual path by rejecting whatever in all other Systems
he found unpalatable.  Hence , he concluded : "I must create a System of
my own..."   I would like to hear more from Sylvan Bear re what is to be
found in the Druidic annals.  Pam van Schaik


Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 11:02:21 +0200
From: P Van Schaik 
Subject: Orc, his life and times -Reply

Gloudina, I think the point you make about respecting the integrity of the
Zoas is very important.  I never went along with either Frye or Erdman on
Orc, nor can I see him simply as revlolutionary energy .  Rather, I think
that he plays as important a role as Los in ultimately restoring Albion to
Eternity and to his full divine humanity.  I see that , just as Los represents
Albion's fallen Prince of Imagination, so Orc represents his Prince of
Love, fallen and made subject to fallen Urizen's false visions of good and
evil.  Los and Orc are the Zoas who hold out longest against the
distorted falsehoods which are given permanence in the earthly realm. 
When Los subdues his Specre and reclaims his feminine emanation, the
process of the reversal of the Fall commences, and Orc completes it at
the end of time by dissipating the smoky delusions in space and time of
the Fallen Female.  He ravishes Vala-Rahab, restoring with his ardent
fires some of the warmth which was quenched by aeons of being fed
on the cold and poisonous fruits of the Tree of Mystery.  When both Orc
and Los succeed in breaking the `stony laws' which have inhibited man's
creative, sexual, and imaginative  energies since Urizen first usurped
power, then Albion begins to revive from his stony `Sleep'.  Blake's
spiritual allegory goes far beyond historical cycles and events, as
intimated by Erdman and Frye...rather, he insists on total transformation
of the psyche - a truly mind-blowing experience in which we cast off all
ideas which diminish belief in our divine brotherhood and capacity to
create a heaven on earth through mutual tolerance, respect, forgiveness
and selfless love.  To discover this story is what makes reading the
longer poems worthwhile.  Perhaps they are not aesthetic in the neat
way in which Yeats' poems are... but they enthusiastically and sincerely
encourage faith in our own divine energy to create an earthly paradise.  

Not that this is easy since when the best men have succeeded in
bringing about a space for peace and beauty to flourish, there are
always those who spoil it for others through selfish greed and violence
-- and this is the tragedy South Africa is experiencing now -- just about
everyone I know here, knows four people who have been murdered,
hijacked , raped, or assaulted.    In this sense, whatever the energies of
Orc and Los can accomplish is taken over by Urizenic, satanic,
constrictive and inhumane powers of destruction.  Thus, Jerusalem must
be continually rebuilt. Pam van Schaik.


Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 09:25:55 -0400
From: (R.H. Albright)
Subject: Re: Elohim and Other Matters
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One, on Darlene's comment about our parents being "smarter" than us?
Well... "It takes a long time to become young", in the words of Pablo
Picasso. The older I got, the more I realized that my parents were
struggling, the best they could, and were mere mortals like myself. I'll
never make up for the age gap, but they're not smarter than me, believe me.
They may have more wisdom, based on the time difference. They also have
simply *other kinds* of wisdom than I have.

Two, that Blake poured as much energy and time into "Milton" and
"Jerusalem", after first doing a massive effort with "The Four Zoas", to me
indicates the amount of time he expects his readers to put into the
achievement as well. Whether that's "smarter" or "better" or... here's
another term: simply more complicated... as life indeed does become with
age, is up to viewer/readers to decide, isn't it?

In reference to change, I note that Michael Davis says, in reference to
"The Four Zoas":

        "Blake's mythical figures are not fixed and limited. Their organic
natures grow and change as the shimmering relief-map of Blakes expanding,
undulating, burrowing mind is revealed piece by piece, layer after layer,
in his writings and pictures. This map is of a living world. Its landscape
is ever developing, not arbitrarily, nor for the sake of artistic neatness,
but always according to Blake's passionately held beliefs."
                ---p. 71, _William Blake, A New Kind of Man_, 1977, UC Berkeley

To me this is also evident in the way he wrote and re-wrote "The French
Revolution" as chronicled in _Blake, Prophet Against Empire_ by Erdman,
trying to keep up with events because... the prophecies didn't work out as
planned?... or also how "The Bible from Hell" devolved from... its original
intent? So I don't understand why Gloudina, her husband, or Pam are so
insistent on keeping the Zoas separate, when in fact they, combined, make
up the human experience. Spring sows the seeds for summer, which sows the
seeds for fall, in my mere mortal words. There are undercurrents to things
which spell change. They intermingle. Doors of perception cleansed may turn
out to be... NewSpeak, _1984_, style! That's CLEANER, isn't it?

For example, if Los merges at times with Jesus in "Jerusalem", can I trust
that we forgive Jesus as well as Los and Blake, too, for _his_ mortal
excesses? (Blake's Deist bashing, for example!) I was frankly appalled at
much of Matthew 10, 24 and other quotes I came upon this weekend, in which
Jesus's "imaginative" power can also be seen as one of mere *tyrannical*
power itself: blind faith, hocus-pocus, shamanistic scaring that the
Judgment Day is imminent, for example. It is my own revisionist history
that keeps the quotes I *like* of Jesus in my head, and forgets those that
I frankly find among the most divisive on the Planet. No wonder early
Christians had to give _all_ their property to the church, sometimes buried
themselves in caves and not planted crops, waiting for the Apocalypse! It's

The "Jerusalem" that I see, *sunnyside up* from what glimmers of it that I
have seen/read directly, through Blake On-Line views, and a number of
"critical" texts that I have on Blake, is indeed more like Shelley's Deist
vision of not waiting around, but building things up, and being wary that
sometimes... say in the name of political correctness... you can become a
new Stalinist in your Holy Holy Holy quest for what you merely perceive *in
your own head* to be Utopia. The sunnyside up of Los, Orc, "Jerusalem",
Jesus, Buddha, and many others, should be much as Pam's "Orc, his life and
times -Reply" post describes: a plea for tolerance, for forgiveness, for
moving on, together, into a better future than today (even if it may never

= + = + = + = + =

On Elohim: Julian Jaynes points out is a plural word, coming from the root
of "'to be powerful', and better translations of 'elohim' might be the
great ones, the prominent ones, the majesties, the judges, the mighty ones,
        ---p. 297, _The Origin of Consciousness
                in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind_, 1990 edition

Is Jaynes off-base here, those of you who know Hebrew now? How many people
in Blake's time knew Hebrew? Blake's visual imagery does not reflect a
plural meaning to the poem in his famous painting at the Tate Gallery. As
far as your speculation that the image may be depicting this:

>Blake is emphasizing God's power, might, and holiness as opposed to
>concern for or closeness to the man he is creating.

But it isn't a power and might like you would see in the Frontispiece to
"Europe"! Elohim looks baffled, full of pain... an older version of the
victim he is making? And as far as "holy", is THAT what bringing this poor
creature to life is called? Adam is pre-snaked entwined, prostrate on his
back, powerless to his creator's will. Is that a *concern* for Adam? Or
just a knowing sadness of what lies in store? The picture is heavily
sarcastic, notes Martin Butlin (see, folks, sometimes I actually read the
"official commentaries!), a long way from God Creating Adam in The Sistine
Chapel by Michelangelo! But maybe since man created God in his own image,
men wrote the Bible, and... other things... this is a good commentary on it
all. Other views?

There is also a picture of simply "God Judging Adam" at the Tate, and it is
clear at this point that, like Los growing a beard in his own fall, Adam is
as death-like white as God himself. Another great piece of sarcasm by
Blake. Or is it more? Again, other views?

= + = + = + = + =

-Randall Albright

"Utopia is that place to which we are always heading."
        ---Oscar Wilde, roughly quoted


Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 12:43:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tripp Borstel 
Subject: Drop me from mailing list.
Message-Id: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Please take me off this mailing list.
Thank you

End of blake-d Digest V1997 Issue #54