Blake List — Volume 1998 : Issue 81

Today's Topics:
	 blake class
	 Re:  Transformation?
	 Re: blake class
	 Re:  Transformation?
	 Explication
	 Re: Blake and Klopstock once more
	 Re: Explication
	 Section 17:      How to Kill Someone with your Bare hands
	 FREE INTERNET ACCESS!
	 "The Little Black Boy"
	 Re: "The Little Black Boy"
	 Re: "The Little Black Boy"
	 Another Blake sighting
	 Re: "The Little Black Boy"
	 Re: "The Little Black Boy"
	 Thanks
	 Re: "The Little Black Boy"
	 Re:  Transformation? -Reply
	 Re: "The Little Black Boy"
	 Re: Thanks

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 12:14:54 -0500 (CDT)
From: rpyoder@ualr.edu
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: blake class
Message-Id: 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
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I'm currently gearing up for my Blake seminar in the spring.  This will be
the third time I've done the course.  We focus on the illuminated books,
and we manage to read almost all of the printed books -- we start with "All
Religions" and "There is No Natural Religion" and stop with *Jerusalem*.
We end up with a week each for the chapters of *Milton* and *Jerusalem*.
In the spring I'm offering the course as a "distance ed" course in order to
appropriate the video technology for working with the illuminations.  I've
already taught some distance ed classes via compressed video, so I'm
expecting to have some fun.  The cameras work quite well for enlarging the
images on the monitors.

I suppose I have seen some of what Josh First remarks about some students
becoming disoriented or less interested after the *Songs*.  I think
disorientation is an appropriate response.  I'm not sure what I would make
of someone who reads *Urizen* for the first time is not disoriented.
Exhilarated?  Yes.  Confused?  Yes again.  The *Songs* seem so much more
accessible, and that can lead to a loss of interest as the class goes on.
It's almost like you're reading two different poets.  I try to combat that
in a number of ways.  I try to involve students in how Blake saw the drama
of his career.  I have the class read the letter to Trussler first thing.
It shows his visionary tendencies, and it also shows that he was a horribly
tactless business person.  We also read *Thel* before *Songs* so that the
students see narrative Blake before they see lyric Blake.  It is difficult
to schedule, but I think it would help to teach *Innocence* alone in its
chronological slot, and then add the combined *Songs* where it belongs
chronologically.  That way students see *MHH*, *VDA*, and *America* before
the consolidated *Songs*.  I think in that context, the later prophecies
seem more a part of the same career, and of the same poet.

Paul Yoder



"Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce / Angels"  Milton

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 14:30:25
From: Izak Bouwer 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re:  Transformation?
Message-Id: <3.0.1.16.19981024143025.44c78f58@igs.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

  This is Gloudina talking, (Izak's Shadow of Delight.)
I just want to say thank you to Tom Devine for writing
so movingly about the "active contemplation" that Blake
recommended.
  I also want to report a Blake sighting. In _The Globe
and Mail_ (Toronto edition) this morning there is a small
inset picturing Blake's "The Ancient of Days" directing
one to an article inside on "Is God at the end of the
scientific rainbow?" (an adaption of a longer article that
appeared in _The New Republic._) Above the article in the
Globe and Mail is a large black and white "Ancient of Days."
  In the last few days I have been fascinated by an Audi
commercial on TV picturing dummies coming to inspect an Audi
to the strains of "An der Freude" from Beethoven's Ninth.
This song surely has become a cultural icon, the tune known
by young people who have no inkling who wrote it and when.
I think that Blake's "Ancient of Days" has become such an
icon.  How surprised Lady Hesketh would have been if she could
see into the future. In 1804, she intimated in a letter to 
Hayley that Blake was one of those 'inferior or midling artists.'

Gloudina Bouwer 

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 14:03:06 -0500
From: tomdill@wc.stephens.edu (TOM DILLINGHAM)
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: blake class
Message-Id: <98102414030690@wc.stephens.edu>

Paul Yoder and I are in similar situations, planning a spring course 
on Blake (though I can give him only half the semester).  I would
agree entirely with Paul that it is better to begin with works other
than the Songs for several reasons, among which the "discouragement
factor" is certainly one.  I also begin with Thel, go directly to
MHH and VDA, then the Songs.  Of course, many students will have 
encountered at least selections from the Songs in other courses--in
fact, I am teaching the Songs included in McGann's _Oxford Book of
Romantic Period Verse_ this semester, along with Book of Urizen,
for which I had the students buy the Dover reproduction, as well.
Unfortunately for me, none of the students in my present class is
are likely to take the second semester course, since most are
graduating in December.
As for "disorientation," a culture that assumes that instantaneous
surface reception is all that is needed or wanted (which is, of course
essential to the success of advertising--all of it--which is what most
people spend most of the reading time "responding" to ) is unlikely
to have the patience or energy to do the *work* of reading great
poetry.  No disrespect intended, but to the extent that we fall into
the habit of thinking of poetry as entertainment, we are obliged to
present it as something easy and accessible--"fun" no less (and one
wonders what Blake would have thought of the present reduction of
the meaning of "play" to purely commercial and debased "fun"); 
certainly if we are to think of Blake's (or any writer's) work as
transformative, we had better be ready to show our students how much
really hard work may go into encountering such work in its role as
stimulus to transformation.  (The C-18l list has had an extended 
discussion over the past month of various aspects of this subject.)
Certainly Los never found poetry easy.  Certainly Blake did not.
Why should we be so presumptuous as to assume we can just get it at
a glance.  (Oops, I am repeating Paul Yoder's point--indeed, the
person who encounters Urizen with no disorientation is either
not really reading it or something well beyond us all.)
Tom Dillingham

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 14:16:29 -0500
From: tomdill@wc.stephens.edu (TOM DILLINGHAM)
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re:  Transformation?
Message-Id: <98102414162932@wc.stephens.edu>

Gloudina Bouwer is quite right, I think, about the widespread 
appropriation of the "Ancient of Days"--I have seen it so frequently
in the past year that it has seemed pointless to keep calling attention
to yet another sighting of it.  It has been on a number of dust jackets
and brochures, calls for papers, etc.  It is often troublesomely 
inappropriate, in fact, to the forced context.

But since I am at this, I will mention another Blake sighting that I don't
think has been discussed on the list before.  (If it has, I apologize fo
r the repetition.)
I have recently been reading a book--actually an exhibition catalogue, I
think--called _Sketchbooks of the Romantics_, with text by Robert Upstone,
who is identified as a curator of the British collection at the Tate Gallery.
Upstone defines the chronology of "Romantic Period" as 1740-1853, which
is slightly longer than many would offer, but allows for the inclusion of
a number of artists of considerable interest.  He includes several pages
of "timelines" showing the dates of various political events and their
contemporary literary and artistic events.  Very helpful.  When we open
to the first page of Part One ("The Romantic Era") we see a fullpage
reproduction of Blake's "Elohim Creating Adam"--a fairly stunning choice
at that point.  The summary of the shift from Enlightenment to Romantic
thought and style is developed nicely but is certainly open to many
objections (it is fairly traditional in its presentation of basic
dichotomies--reason vs. imagination, science vs. art/religion, etc.)
and offers comments on the "Big 6" as well as some figures from
the continent.  The second section is a discussion of the sketchbooks
of a number of important artists, organized by art historical 
categories ("The Academy and the Figure," "Travels and Tours,"
"Studies from Nature," "Fantasy and Imagination"), with special 
attention to Constable, Delacroix, Turner, David, Wright of Derby,
and others.  But of special interest to this list are the sections on
"Fantasy and Imagination" and "The Sleep of Reason produces Monsters,"
which concentrate, as might be guessed, on Blake, Samuel Palmer,
Fuseli, and Francisco Goya, with references to John Varley, William Lock,
and Thomas Jones as well.  (It seems to me Richard Dadd should have
been included, but we can't have everything.)  There are interesting
comparisons of Blake's finished designs and their preliminary 
drawings, and some comments on Varley and Blake, with reproductions of
a number of the visionary heads and Ghost of the Flea.

This is a beautifully illustrated book (A Quarto Book, published
by the Wellfleet Press, 1991) that does have some useful 
introductory materials for anyone interested in Romantic art.
The text tends to be repetitive and sometimes simplistic, but
certainly enjoyable to read if only because of the beauty of
the many reproductions.  I do not recall this having been
reviewed in _Blake_, though it was mentioned in passing in
Bentley's checklist of publications.  (For what it is worth,
it does not include Blake's "Ancient of Days," though it does
somewhat unaccountably--or luxuriously--print "Elohim Creting
Adam" twice.) 
Tom Dillingham

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 18:15:54 -0500
From: "Dave Brodsky" 
To: 
Subject: Explication
Message-Id: <000001bdffa4$40124320$bdaf51d1@daveman>
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	charset="iso-8859-1"
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Hi, I am writing a term paper on Blake's "The Little Black Boy".  I am
looking for some resources that would help me explicate that poem.

Thanks,
Dave B.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:42:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ralph Dumain 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: Blake and Klopstock once more
Message-Id: <2.2.16.19981024203829.31673d5c@pop.igc.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Thanks to all for the Klopstock info.  Don't stop now if you have more info.
Oddly, whenever I inquire about someone I never heard of before, immediately
references pop up everywhere in unexpected places.  for example, I was just
reading the beginning\ of Lukacs' THE YOUNG HEGEL, and a disparaging
reference or two to Klopstock just popped up in my face.  Who knew?

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 23:53:44 -0800
From: ndeeter 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: Explication
Message-Id: <3632D908.64AC@concentric.net>
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Dave Brodsky wrote:

> Hi, I am writing a term paper on Blake's "The Little Black Boy".  I am
> looking for some resources that would help me explicate that poem.
 
Well, what have you got so far?

Nathan Deeter
ndeeter@concentric.net

------------------------------

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From: NetCoreGen@aol.com
Subject: Section 17:      How to Kill Someone with your Bare hands
Message-Id: <4041d470.363306eb@aol.com>
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Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:30:59
From: latvia25@yahoo.com
To: 
Subject: FREE INTERNET ACCESS!
Message-Id: <199810251906.TAA04930@uu4.psi.com>

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------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 14:44:14 -0600
From: "Dave Brodsky" 
To: "William Blake Newsgroup" 
Subject: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <000001be0058$3a361ee0$9fca51d1@daveman>
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I really have no idea where to start on explicating "The Little Black Boy."
I am stuck because can't seem to find the purpose of it, or a decent thesis
statement for the paper I have to write.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 16:08:19 -0500
From: jonj@interlog.com (Jon James)
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <199810252104.QAA26698@smtp.interlog.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

The year....1939. The Polish Cavalry continues it's offensive.  


>I really have no idea where to start on explicating "The Little Black Boy."
>I am stuck because can't seem to find the purpose of it, or a decent thesis
>statement for the paper I have to write.
>
>
>




Jon James

jonj@interlog.com
OR jjames@ctv.ca

> "As lightning, or a taper's light,
>     Thine eyes, and not thy noise wak'd me;" 

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 16:07:05 -0600
From: tomdill@wc.stephens.edu (TOM DILLINGHAM)
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <98102516070511@wc.stephens.edu>

In the first place, Dave, this is not a "Newsgroup" and the
distinction is significant!
Nathan's question was relevant.  What have you read?  Where have
you looked?  What do you think, before you raise the question,
the poem *means* as you read it?  How does it make you feel
(other than anxious about your paper)?  
If you search the archives of Blake-L, you can find a fairly
lengthy exhange of views on the subject of that poem.
If you search back issues of _Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly_,
you can find a fairly recent and very challenging article on that
poem.
Search your heart and mind, first, however.  Do black/white contrasts
have any resonance for you?  Does the poem suggest questions about
the place of "black" people in late-18th century England (or 
elsewhere?)??  You probably could go far with a consideration of
the status of colonial peoples as related to the English empire.
You might take a look at the chimney sweeper poems or "London"
for more suggestive images of "black" and "white."  
Keep on keeping on.  No poem is ever read once.
Tom Dillingham

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 16:17:36 -0600
From: tomdill@wc.stephens.edu (TOM DILLINGHAM)
To: Blake@albion.com
Subject: Another Blake sighting
Message-Id: <98102516173599@wc.stephens.edu>

In line with the references to appropriations (or expropriations) of
Blake's imagery, today NY Times Book Review includes an ad for a 
new book, the cover of which (assuming the reproduction is accurate)
offers the lower half of "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed
in the Sun"--the half, that is, that portrays the woman with her
arms spread and her face turned upward toward the Dragon, which is
not seen in this partial reproduction.  This particular violation
of Blake is especially unfortunate from my perspective, since it
is part of the cover of yet another of Robert Bly's reactionary
screeds and palpable nonsenes on the subject of men and women--this
one written in conjunction with someone named Marion Woodman.
Bly should have stuck to translating great poetry for us--he waw
was doing valuable work when translating real poets who had something
to say.
Tom Dillingham

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 13:28:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Josh First 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <19981025212814.7093.rocketmail@web1.rocketmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

yea, I see what you guys were talking about earlier. 
I can see not being annoyed when students come and
have an idea about the nature of their paper and
somewhat understand the stuff, but simply want to see
what other people think about poetry in question.  In
that case, it's still somewhat of a sharing of ideas
on the list, but this guy obviously has nothing to
offer the list and wants other people to do his
homework for him.   



===
Joshua First
jfirst@rocketmail.com
c698167@showme.missouri.edu
Columbia Critical Mass Web Site: 
www.deviant.org/~lamp/critmass.html
next Mass: Oct. 30 4:30pm Peace Park (costumes
optional)






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------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 16:43:25 -0500
From: Daniel Zimmerman 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <36339B7D.5FB4@idt.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
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Dave,

So: you find yourself in "the southern wild"? 

1. You might want to explore how that wild becomes a "grove" -- perhaps
by way of his mother's instruction? 

2. You might also explore the dynamic of transformation which allows the
boy to "be like him" -- a positive instance of the [usually -- &
ultimately?-- negative] human predilection to 'become what we behold'? 

3. Think about the varieties of "heat" in the poem.

4. Look at the tree behind Jesus: "What dread hand?"

5. Think sheep.


Dan Zimmerman


Dave Brodsky wrote:
> 
> I really have no idea where to start on explicating "The Little Black Boy."
> I am stuck because can't seem to find the purpose of it, or a decent thesis
> statement for the paper I have to write.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 18:32:50 -0600
From: "Dave Brodsky" 
To: "Blake@albion.com" 
Subject: Thanks
Message-Id: <000001be0078$298c7920$5acd51d1@daveman>
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
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I appreciate the advice I received for my explication.  Though, some of
think that I am merle using this newsgroup to my homework.  That is not true
at all, I was just overwhelmed by the information available on Blake.  All I
wanted was to be pointed in the right direction.  I know that at this point
I cannot contribute to your discussions.  I hope to in the future as I read
up on Blake and his work.  I am sorry for wasting people's valuable time
with my ignorance.  Since I was given the impression that I am not of the
caliber to participate in these discussions I will be a spectator until I
can match the wits of this group's patrons.

Thanks to those that took time to help me.

Dave

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 18:14:10 -0900
From: ndeeter 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <3633E902.55D1@concentric.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

TOM DILLINGHAM wrote:

> No poem is ever read once.

Such is the proof of poetry's power. Wordsworth said it too. "[V]erse
will be read a hundred times where the prose is read once." (Preface to
_Lyrical Ballads_)

If a poem is hard to get at, it is because it wants you to struggle for
the reward is often sweeter with a struggle. Tom put forth some great
questions to start with, as did Mr. Zimmerman, although a more pointed
line of questioning may bemore useful, then "Think sheep."

A good place to start explicating a poem is at the level of syntactical,
grammatical sense. What is on the page being said?

And if you have the technical know-how, another good place is at the
sonic level. I like to look at prosody and scan the poem: see how the
rhyme scheme and line breaks determine the way you read it, see how the
accents heighten the drama, etc.

Most importantly, read it out loud. Hear it and see it. If you can
experience a poem in more than one way, it's a surer way in to the
marrow of the poem.

Dave, please let us know what you come up with and we can enter into a
discussion.

Nathan Deeter
ndeeter@concentric.net

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 10:51:12 +0200
From: P Van Schaik 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re:  Transformation? -Reply
Message-Id: 

Thanks, Tom, for taking up this topic so well that I'll read what you say 
whenever I get a chance to do so to my students.  What you and Bert
say is completely in accord with the way I personally have responded to
literature and conveys something of what inspires many to love and read
more  of the great works.... beyond what any degree requires. I 'm not
sure I can expain what I meant by transformation better than you already
have, so will simply append a few scattered thoughts here before my
mind is totally numbed by exam marking.
I find even Blake's shorter poems like the  Songs transforming in that the
Tyger and Lamb,  Clod and Pebble, Sunflower, Sick Rose,  White and
Black boys , etc  are , in a sense, not simply literary symbols, but could
be seen as held up as emblems for our contemplation.  As we meditate
on them, the rich resonances in each poem so open our hearts to new
perceptions that, even if only momentarily,  any residual limitations and
prejudices of the mind are dissolved. When teaching "The Little Black
Boy", I usually have to keep my feelings well under control when I read
the concluding lines as they have always been totally relevant to the
context here, and one can see the students who understand are visibly
moved by the black child's protective love and forgiving  disposition. That
such love and forgivieness are, in reality, not so clear-cut as presented
in this contemplative ideal vision is  also, perhaps, what adds poignancy
to the poem.  It is magical to read the poem in the sense that , once an
ideal vision has been responded to by the reader,  it is difficult ever to
want less from real life.
As Bert suggests, there are many individual instances which each of us
, as individual readers, will cherish because they carried for us that
moment of recognition of a truth which we didn't even know we were
seeking until we found it ... that moment in the Rose Garden in Eliot, of
momentary luminescence  which overtakes , just for a flash in time, even
his most lost and hollow of souls.
I found it in Hamlet at age nine, when shown a black and white film of the
play in the spiritual wilderness of boarding school -  when I responded to
 the tragic hero's integrity and courage to take on  and oppose  all the
smiling villains.  Again, at thirteen, reading Jane Austen, I found it in her
wit and clarity of perception of others, and artistry in creating `types' of
a sort ... since wit and clarity were not much encountered  in daily life
here.  Then, at university, reading John Donne I knew I could never love
a man who lacked wit and a deep sense of the religious, too, when
wooing and bedding his mate.  Similarly,  eschewing Church as a means
for developing the muscles of the soul, I found in literature most of what I
needed to grow inwardly and develop my own sense of individuality... or
growing loss of individuality through assumption of eclectic insights.
Whatever the case, I do feel blessed to have had the opportunity to make
that which I loved and revered not only part of myself, but a way of
earning my living.  Blake is therefore completely realistic when he urges
us to love men of genius most, simply because they have more of the
capacity to transform us by virtue of their own expansive   creativty  ..
or the ability to elicit from us  a response  that restores spiritual health to
the soul.  I know one is not supposed to mention the `soul' when dealing
with literature `professionally'  but, oddly, I have found that students are
prepared to read anything in Blake if one stops `playing safe' in teaching
it.  And the same goes for anything else worthy of being taught in a
literature course .... it is not that I  have to speak of soul in all cases...
rather, I look for the inner dynamic, beyond theme, narrative, narrator,
historical context etc .. to what `magic' this particular text has, or try to
locate the source of its vitality.  For example, what in human nature is
being celebrated by Blake, or by Shakespeare, even in his tragedies? 
What delight does the writer  take in finding exactly the right way of
evoking/dramatising  his world-view, even when the actual subject is a
sad or tragic one. .  It is response to the imagination delighting in its own
playfulness that I essentially find transforming in great texts.     It is this
which I do not think most literary theory encourages, so I go back to Sir
Philip Sidney and Longinus  for justificaction.  I  look for what delights and
entertains, and share this with my students when possible, and   tell 
them  to find their own specific moments of awakening in every text they
study ...   Ironically, though, we cannot say, in response to the current
vogue of outcome-based-education, that transformation of the self is
what  studying literature could really be about.  It is for reasons such as
the above that I find historicist and post-colonial readings (a la MArtin
Orkin's "Shakespeare Against Apartheid")  trendy and limited. As Blake
says:
`Enthusiastic Admiration is the first Principle of Knowledge & its last.'
(Annotations to Reynolds). Bert and Tom, thanks for showing me that I'm
not the only giraffe in the game park.
Pam

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 08:02:55 -0500
From: Robert Anderson 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: "The Little Black Boy"
Message-Id: <3.0.32.19981026080255.00b51bcc@pop.oakland.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Many of us on the list find these kind of uninformed questions irritating
because they to often appear to be intended to short-circuit the real
process of learning through reading and research--both because we believe
Blake deserves more than this passive attention and because, as teachers,
we want students to learn for themselves.  One obvious approach is to
examine the issues of race and religion in the late 18th c. in England.
Another is to examine the MLA index for the poem.  At the same time,
however, we--I think I can speak for others here--enjoy Blake's poetry so
much that given the opportunity of adding insights to an established
direction of study is almost irresistible.

Rob Anderson

At 02:44 PM 10/25/1998 -0600, you wrote:
>I really have no idea where to start on explicating "The Little Black Boy."
>I am stuck because can't seem to find the purpose of it, or a decent thesis
>statement for the paper I have to write.
>
>
>

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 10:57:41 PST
From: "David Perez" 
To: blake@albion.com
Subject: Re: Thanks
Message-Id: <19981026185742.8496.qmail@hotmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain

i know how you feel
-Dave P.

>From blake-request@albion.com Mon Oct 26 10:52:42 1998
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>From: "Dave Brodsky" 
>To: "Blake@albion.com" 
>Subject: Thanks
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>
>I appreciate the advice I received for my explication.  Though, some of
>think that I am merle using this newsgroup to my homework.  That is not 
true
>at all, I was just overwhelmed by the information available on Blake.  
All I
>wanted was to be pointed in the right direction.  I know that at this 
point
>I cannot contribute to your discussions.  I hope to in the future as I 
read
>up on Blake and his work.  I am sorry for wasting people's valuable 
time
>with my ignorance.  Since I was given the impression that I am not of 
the
>caliber to participate in these discussions I will be a spectator until 
I
>can match the wits of this group's patrons.
>
>Thanks to those that took time to help me.
>
>Dave
>
>
>


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End of blake-d Digest V1998 Issue #81
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