Blake List — Volume 1998 : Issue 85

Today's Topics:
	 Re: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
	 Re: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply -Reply
	 Re: R: Any news? -Tree of Life: De Witt James
	 Re: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
	 RE: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
	 Re: R: Any news?-Reply-Reply [New Age yadda yadda yadda]
	 Re: Blake and D.H. Lawrence
	 Blake Archive/Blake Trust
	 Blake visitation
	 Re:  Re: Library facilities
	 Re: The Passion of New Eve


Date: Wed, 04 Nov 1998 22:39:19 -0700
From: "S&J Faulkner" 
Subject: Re: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
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Hi Pam,
        Thank you for your note on Blake and Shamanism.  I would very much
like to read the short piece you wrote on this subject. You can imagine how
the medical profession would take to suggestions that a mystic poet may have
some answers for the plight of modern man and modern medicine.

    I often quote Blake to my patients, especially those who can get no
answer to the cause of their disease. I even quoted Blake extensively in a
talk I gave to complementary physicians recently. They loved it.

    I guess you have read a little book called William Blake and the Tree of
Life by Laura De Witt James. (Shambala 1971) She discusses closely the
similarities between Blake and the Kabbalah. I would definitely like to
sample some of your writings for your proposed book although I am no
Kabbalah expert.

    Thank-you Tim for your thoughts on the frivilousness of incantations.
I'm afraid I said the same things up until the age of 35. And then the
bottom fell out of my Urizenic thinking and then began the long road of
rebuilding my world aided by mystical experiences. Blake only reminded me of
what I already knew and had forgotten.

    Unfortunately for scientists, you can never do a double blind cross over
controlled study on mystical experiences. Both the observer and the observed
must go under the microscope to see what is happening - but this flies in
the face of the fundamentalist scientific tradition. (Despite the fact that
quantum physics confirms all this).

    It's fun writing these ideas on the cyber space world - does anyone else
read this stuff?

                    Stephen F

>From: P Van Schaik 
>Subject: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
>Date: Wed, Nov 4, 1998, 4:10 AM

>I'm rather taken aback that my first reply didn't reach the Group, but will
>try now to send a summary again of my work in progress. 
> My  book, provisionaly entitled, "Such Sublime Conceptions"  explores
>correspondences between Blake's vision of the Fall and Redemption of
>man and the  ideas expounded by a series of thinkers who contributed  
>to the Jewish mystical tradition of the Kabbalah. It takes up ideas
>intimated in the work of  Kathleen Raine in her work on Blake, but
>develops these in close relation to specific images and ideas in both 
>Blake and the Kabbalah.  It also presents ideas which I think  will appeal
>to the general reader as well as the specialist, and I could give the entire
>work a more popular slant than it presently has, if necessary  ... at the
>moment it is more academically oriented.  I envisage it as an illustrated
>book with anything between 5 and 20 of Blake's designs, in black and
>white and colour.   
>Chapter One, entitled "The 'Tree of Life' and Universal 'Man on High' ",  I
>explore the ways in which Blake's evocation of Eden and Beulah ,
>where all of God's Children  live in unity in Innocence, relates to  the
>Kabbalistic "radiances" of the Tree of Life.   For example,  possible
>correspondences between Blake's  Jesus and Jerusalem and  the
>"Upper Father" (Hokhmah)  and "Upper Mother" (Binah) are explored,
>particularly in relation to  imagery relating to the divine marriage in which
>the masculine and feminie aspects of God are united in perfect harmony.
>Blake's  four zoas are  then discussed in relation to the qualities
>represented by other "radiances",  or Sefiroth,  on the Tree of Life,
>focusing in particular on  interesting parallels between  unfallen Urizen,
>Albion's Prince of Intellect,  and  "Din", representing the power of  Divine
>Judgment in Kabbalah,  as, in Chapter Two, entitled "The Inversion of the
>'Tree of Life',  the ways in which  the `contraction'  of both of these
>contributes to the Fall is fully explored.   Urizen's casting of Jerusalem
>out of Albion as a 'harlot' is related to the kabbalists'  vision of the  first
>sin when Adam, `deceived by the serpent of false knowledge' separates
>the Shekhinah from the other Sefiroth. Also,  correspondences between 
>Urizen's insistence on moral  law and  the   kabbalistic view of evil
>arising from  an imbalance between god's divine mercy and rigour are
>explored.     Blake's consistent use of the imagery of boulders and rocks
>in relation to Urizen and the fallen world he creates,  is related to similar 
>images evocative of a tragic  divine contraction in Lurianic Kabbalah. 
>Similarly,  images of  the closing and desolation of Jerusalem's   `Gates',
>the building of Babylon,    the breaking of  God's vessels of  light  and the
>imprisonment of the scattered light  in  `shells' of matter,  in both
>cosmogonies, are also explored.  
>In Chapter Three, entitled "The Gathering of the Scattered Divine Sparks",
> the laments of Albion's Emanations, and their nostalgia for  the joys of
>the past in Eden and Beulah,  is discussed as a prelude to  showing how
>Los's sustained labours at his Furnaces may be related to  kabbalistic
>imagery of the `coal' , `flames'  and the `Kings of Edom' being in a state 
>'Judgment without Mercy'  and  the `six days of formative creation' 
>during which six imperfect worlds are  moulded into better form.  Los,
>Albion's Prince of Imagination, is identified as the Blacksmith figure of the
>poem, "Tyger"  and as seeking to create a better world than the
>imperfect ones formerly created by Urizen and Albion's other fallen
>Zoas. ... a world more like that in which Jesus and Jerusalem were
>revered and honoured.  He is seen as endeavouring to break with his
>Hammer of Mercy, and the assistance of his redeemed Emanation and
>the inspiration of Christ,  the ugly dogmas and forms (the `shells of
>deformity' )  created by the fallen vision of Urizen.  His efforts are related
>to the kabbalistic vision of `teshuba',  the repentance necessary to the
>upliftment of the divine sparks and their restoration to integrity within the
>Eternal Man, Adam Kadmon.
>Chapter Four deals with  how Los and Orc bring about  the Apocalypse
>in which Urizen's vision is  recognised as  delusory and all of God's
>children are freed from their bondage in the `shells of matter' .  Orc's
>dissipation of the 'Shadowy Female'  by fructifying her `Furrows'  with
>his fiery `Lightnings', so restoring the desert wilderness to fruitful
>`Gardens of Love' is related to kabbalistic imagery of male and female
>copulation  and orgasm.  The restoration of Jerusalem to her former 
>state of beauty and  glory is related to the kabbalistic idea of the "Grand
>In the final Chapter, I try to point out similarities between Hasidic thought
>and some of  Blake's ideas and explore the possibility that Blake's
>evidently detailed knowledge of Kabbalistic symbolism as well as
>underlying philosophy regarding  the creation of a fallen world by a fallen
>demiurge could have been inspired by awareness of the contents of the
>Zohar, Lurianic Kabbalah, as well as Hasidism.   
>Please let me know, at your earliest convenience whether you would like
>to see
>sample pages and chapters, or not. I can be contacted quickly via the
>email address at the top of this letter.  Thanking you, I am,
>                                                       Dr  Pam van Schaik


Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 10:22:13 +0200
From: P Van Schaik 
Subject: Re: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply -Reply

It used to  believe that music was helpful in curing some malaises and in
Tudor times it was used to aid  digestion. Itt is easy to imagine that poetry
and dance  might have served a similar function  -- as well as  erotic
functions probably.  I think Plato was right about knowing the effect
which art can have, even on prospective soldiers, and Blake certainly
believed that if we could enter contemplatively into his sublime visions,
that they could help us to see beyond the narrow bounds of the five
senses.  When I taught Blake here during Apartheid, my African and
Indian students  were amazed to find a white man saying such things.As
Eliot and Yeats both knew  ,,, poetry can give us `fragments to shore
against our ruins" or adorn `a tattered coat upon a stick'.  Blake thought
that givingg us a cup of `poetic fancies' was likke providingg a sip of the
`wine of eternal life'.  It is very heartening to see a doctor knowing how
to treat body, mind, and soul... so many stand as far as possible from a
hospitalised patient and  advocate bundles of machine-testing rather than
look at a tongue or touch a wrist  or spend an ounce of caring energy.
May your enthusiasm bring you much love,


Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 10:28:48 +0200
From: P Van Schaik 
Subject: Re: R: Any news? -Tree of Life: De Witt James

I forgot to answer your further questions  ,... I have read Laura de Witt
James' book but found this pleasant on account of all the pertinent
quotations rather than comprehensive or illuminating re the variety of 
correspondences beween Blake and Kabbalah.  Moreover, her
explanation of the Fallen Tongue is very sketchy.  It is necessary to
relate this image to the whole concept of how every being in Eternity,
before the FAll, was endowed with divine eloquence  -- like  the Cloud,
Lily of the VAlley and Worm in  "The Book of Thel".  Then, after the FAll,
one can still see vestigges of this expansiveness of soul in the ability of
the Sunflower, Rose and Clod and Pebble to feel as `humans' do ... that
is, they are not merely symbols, but aspects of the fallen divinity.   


Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 08:36:18 +0000
From: (Tim Linnell)
Subject: Re: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
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>    Unfortunately for scientists, you can never do a double blind cross over
>controlled study on mystical experiences. Both the observer and the observed
>must go under the microscope to see what is happening - but this flies in
>the face of the fundamentalist scientific tradition. (Despite the fact that
>quantum physics confirms all this).

This is pure nonsense. Quantum Physics confirms nothing of the sort, and I
defy you to provide any real evidence to support this claim. You are bluffing.

The great lie propagated by proponents of new age thinking, and included in
your earlier comments, is that science or medical science automatically
rejects the claims of mystics because they do not fit with preconceived
notions. This is the absolute contrary of the truth. Because science is
based on application of observation to theoretical models based on objective
standards for truth, it can and does change its view radically over a short
period of time. Quantum mechanics gives a good example of this in our own
era (this, by the way, doesn't invalidate the results of Newton, but simply
shrinks their scope of application). There is little or no preconception,
and where it exists it is rapidly blown away in the face of empirical
observation. Neither does science preclude a spiritual aspect to existence -
it simply measures the observable, which can certainly include
manifestations of the infinite within the bounded.

On the other hand, because mysticism is based on precepts of faith, which
once stated can never be recanted, mystics tend to reject science because it
doesn't fit in with *THEIR* preconceive notions. This is why Fundamentalist
christians still believe in a global flood, why Fundamentalist Moslems still
believe the world is the centre of the universe, and so on - there are an
almost infinite number of examples. The revealed word of the divine said it
was so, therefore it must be so.

In short: Science leaves options open, mysticism closes down options. You
could also characterise this as the fundamental difference between the
perfection of the divine and the imperfection of the man made.

Despite what you claim, it is perfectly possible to design experiments to
measure the efficacity of alternative forms of treatment, and to make
hypotheses to explain the causes of any effects shown (including the
influence of the supernatural). Indeed this is easier to follow through than
almost any mystic claim, because there is an objectively observable result
by any standards: the patient is either healed, improves in state, undergoes
no significant change, or becomes more ill. The only possibility for fraud
or error is that the patient and practitioner are in collusion, or that the
patient is not in fact ill. Both can be fairly easily eliminated by the
means used to choose subjects, and normal double blind procedures can be
employed, including use of 'placebo' treatments. If it works, science will
accept it. Indeed, if it only has a psychological benefit or placebo effect,
medical science will accept it, as it does to some degree already. Nothing
kills quicker than loss of hope, and following any procedure, however
strange, is likely to provide a focus for positivity.

However alternative medecine is also the most dangerous form of belief in
mysticism because it can kill people. It should therefore be challenged at
every opportunity, and spurious claims rejected with all the contempt they
deserve. A belief that waggling a crystal at a child while spouting all
manner of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo about energy fields and quantum
mechanics is not going to stop acute peritonitus killing them in fairly
short order. 

I understand from your post that you are a practitioner in alternative
medicine. If you have any shred of integrity, you would submit to proper
testing before making any claims for its validity. Otherwise, you are a
simple charlatan, worthy of nothing but scorn and contempt. The simple
excuse that proof denies faith, and without faith the treatment will not
work, is a disgracefully easy get out.



Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 16:59:59 +0200
From: Huw Edwards 
To: "''" 
Subject: RE: R: Any news? -Reply -Reply
Message-Id: <>
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I share your skepticism of "new age" thinking. Isn't it dangerous
however, or perhaps simply erroneous, to limit "mysticism" to the
boundaries of this philosophy? You say that "mysticism is based on the
precepts of faith". By faith I'm assuming that you are referring to the
Christian idea of entering into a unilateral contract with the divine in
order to achieve some kind of vicarious atonement. The Rishis of India,
the Kabalists, the Christian Mystics, have no such misconceptions
regarding faith. Faith simply becomes acceptance of natural or divine
law. The goal of the mystic is to go beyond faith, beyond mind, even
beyond understanding, to that state of unity where God and science are
one and the same. Mystical healing in my opinion (and it's only an
opinion) seeks bring about an acceptance of Karma; to set up in the
conscience the idea that one is not cured until one has had the illness
- a necessary experience one must undergo to assuage the guilt that
caused the illness in the first place. Agreed, many of the practices
performed today are indeed questionable, but mysticism, and spiritual
healing, deserve to be examined outside the domain of "New Age"

Huw Edwards


Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 08:49:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Ralph Dumain 
Subject: Re: R: Any news?-Reply-Reply [New Age yadda yadda yadda]
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Tim, you are a brave trooper, manning the deserted station of rationality on
this list, conducting a one-man fight against the ignorant, flatulent armies
of the irrationalist night, but I think you are wasting your time, esp.
since most of this discussion is ancillary to the topic of Blake.
Therefore, I will interject just a few points that may help things along and
then run and hide.

(1) Stephen Faulkner seems to be a belated example of what was a mass
phenomenon in the 1960s and 70s, i.e. the sudden swing of the pendulum that
occurred when people began questioning the technocratic rationalism that
reigned during the '50s and allowed themselves to be flooded with all sorts
of mysticism.  While such developments are historically understandable, it's
a shame we haven't matured by 1998 beyond this interdependent duality of
bourgeois rationalism and bourgeois irrationalism.

(2) Ideally, the issue of establishment and alternative medicine should be
an easy one to mediate rationally.  In practice, it is a different story.
I'll leave psychotherapy alone for the moment, as it involves sophisticated
philosophical and social issues beyond the usual grasp of the technocratic
mentality, so I'll restrict my comments to purely physical medicine.  I have
no problem with "western" rationality or the scientific method as such: to
me this is not where the problem of western medicine lies.  Rather, it is
the bureaucratic structure of medical research and health care delivery and
the huge sums of money that determine where the research goes and the
production of drugs and treatments.  This monster has gotten so out of hand
that there are good reasons to doubt whether the scientific method can
really operate as it's supposed to under such conditions.  Huge corporations
have too much power, and what thy do cannot always be trusted.  I listen to
alternative medicine shows on the radio, and I am dismayed at the tenor of
some of them.  They go beyond mere skepticism of the medical establishment
to total paranoia against virtually all aspects of western medicine, deify
the concept of "Natural", and manifest complete gullibility towards all
notions from any other source, even the most wacky.  Most galling are the
large does of reactionary spirituality that accompany the alternative
package.  The question of whether herbal medicines or vitamins or other
alternative treatments is a rational question.  There's no reason not to
take the good stuff no mater what the source.  But this gullibility towards
crackpot mystical ideas that have nothing o do with the rational content of
alternative medicines and therapies is difficult to stomach.  It just goes
to show what utter irrationalism is engendered by the alienation induced by
late capitalism.  Skepticism is a healthy reaction to prevailing corruption,
but paranoia is a right-wing phenomenon.  As I keep telling the people
around me, paranoia = gullibility.  If you believe anything is possible,
then you'll believe anything.

(3) The question for us should be, what has any of this meshugaas to do with
Blake?  So far, precious little.  Blake made a few remarks about natural
causes and spiritual causes, but these remarks are virtually useless to
determine what actual attitudes he may have had toward such matters.  As an
artisan alienated from the burgeoning industrial revolution, Blake's
hostility to scientific methods is more ideological than substantive, based
on his suspicions as to what type of human beings were being created by the
monstrous abstraction and impersonality of modern industry.  There wasn't
much to the medicine of his time; it had not yet become even scientific, let
alone industrialized and mass produced.  Do we know enough to know what his
attitudes were to the techniques prevalent in his time?  Blake presents a
problem for analysis because of his militant refusal to deal in matters on
the literal plane on which we all must live.  If you choose to see the
heavenly host and not a flaming disk when you look up in the sky, probably
you won't have a great deal to say one way or the other about medicaments
and leeches and inoculations.  I'm not aware of Blake scholarship that has
delved into the question of natural causality.

At 08:36 AM 11/5/98 +0000, Tim Linnell wrote:
>The great lie propagated by proponents of new age thinking, and included in
>your earlier comments, is that science or medical science automatically
>rejects the claims of mystics because they do not fit with preconceived


Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 09:14:52 -0800 (PST)
From: Ralph Dumain 
Subject: Re: Blake and D.H. Lawrence
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Scouting the Library of Congress database for Anais Nin, I find the
following (last edition listed):

_D. H. Lawrence, an unprofessional study_.  Denver, A. Swallow [1964].  110
p. 23 cm.

I am not going to have time to seek out this book in a library, so if
someone else wished to check it out, be my guest.  This may have been the
book I read over two decades ago, but I can't be sure without seeing the
book.  What other female authors would I likely confuse with Anais Nin?

At 12:05 PM 11/3/98 -0800, Josh First wrote:
>Well, I've never read anything by Nin, but I saw the
>movie, Henry and June in which Nin is a character. 
>At the beginning she is discussing with various
>people about her book about Lawrence, so she probably
>did write something about Blake in that book (back in


Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 13:34:02 -0500 (EST)
From: Matt Kirschenbaum 
Subject: Blake Archive/Blake Trust
Message-Id: <199811051834.NAA19486@jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU>
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I've only just joined the list, so apologies if the Blake Archive's
recent October update has already found its way here. But since there's
been some mention of the Archive in conjunction with problems of student
access to high-quality facsimiles, I thought the update might be timely
(see below). It also contains the Archive's URL and some information on
future plans.

As for the Blake Trust volumes, Princeton has recently re-issued them in
paperback form in both the U.S. and Britain; the complete set of six is
available from PUP for $165 (or $30 for individual volumes; I've seen
them in Barnes and Noble here in the States). The hardcovers are also
widely available in commercially produced (as opposed to limited
edition) form, though I'm not sure of their prices. But the Blake Trust
series should now be within the reach of many libraries, if still a bit
steep for students.

Matthew Kirschenbaum
Project Manager
The William Blake Archive


16 October 1998

The editors of the William Blake Archive
 are pleased to announce the
publication of four new electronic editions of Blake's illuminated
books. They are:

_The Ghost of Abel_ copy A (The Library of Congress) 

_On Homers Poetry [and] On Virgil_ copies B (The Fitzwilliam Museum) and
F (The Pierpont Morgan Library)

_Laocoon_ copy B (collection of Robert N. Essick)

These three works are Blake's final illuminated books, their composition
dateable between 1822 (_The Ghost of Abel_, _On Homers Poetry [and] On
Virgil_) and c. 1826-27 (_Laocoon_). In the words of Sir Geoffrey Keynes,
they offer Blake's "Last Testament" on subjects ranging from aesthetic
theory to political economy, from forgiveness to apocalyptic judgment. A
drama in miniature, _The Ghost of Abel_ addresses "Lord Byron in the
Wilderness" (plate 1) and, more specifically, the issues of vengeance
and forgiveness raised by Byron's _Cain: A Mystery_ (1821). The broadsheet
_On Homers Poetry [and] On Virgil_ challenges these representative figures
of classical learning, with special emphasis on concepts of unity as an
artistic ideal, identity, and the destructive consequences of
imperialism. There are five copies extant for each of these works,
which, like most of Blake's illuminated books, were produced in relief
etching; the _Laocoon_ plate, which is an intaglio etching/engraving, is
extant in two copies. Through a careful representation and restoration of
the famous Hellenistic sculptural group, Blake attempts to return the
_Laocoon_ to its supposed Hebraic origins and its allegorical meanings,
revealed by the terse yet intellectually expansive texts with which Blake
surrounds the central image.

All of these editions have newly edited SGML-encoded texts and are all
fully searchable for both text and images and supported by the unique
Inote and ImageSizer applications described in our previous updates.  We
now have twenty-six copies of sixteen illuminated books in the Archive.
Late this year and early in the next, we will add _Milton_ copy D and
_Jerusalem_ copy E. We will also be adding at least six more copies of
_Songs of Innocence and of Experience_, two copies of _Songs of
Innocence_, five copies of _The Marriage of Heaven and Hell_, four
copies of _The Book of Urizen_, and two copies each of _America, a
Prophecy_ and _Europe, a Prophecy_. In addition, by the end of 1998 we
will provide a fully-searchable SGML edition of David V. Erdman's
_Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake_.

In the coming weeks we will also be opening a brand-new wing of the
Archive, consisting of an extensive array of supporting materials: an
updated and expanded Plan of the Archive, a statement of Editorial
Principles and Methodology, a summary of the Archive's technical design
and implementation, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, an in-depth
illustrated Tour highlighting the Archive's features and some ways to
use its resources, and more. Our hope is that these extensive
documentary materials will prove valuable both to our own growing user
community as well as to scholars interested in the theory and practice
of electronic editing more generally. We will make a separate
announcement when these materials are available on the site.

Finally, on our recently opened Contributing Collections page, we plan
to begin adding color-coded and linked lists of each institution's
entire Blake collection to indicate what is and is not in the Archive
and what is forthcoming. In addition to providing a convenient index of
the scope and contents of the Archive, these lists should also be useful
to scholars in planning research trips.

Morris Eaves, Robert Essick, Joseph Viscomi


Date: Thu,  5 Nov 98 12:26:01 -0800
From: Seth T. Ross 
Subject: Blake visitation
Message-Id: <>
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All of you probably recall last month's spam attack on the list. Well, around  
the same time, received a visitation from beyond. One "William  
Blake" made numerous attempts to log into one of our servers via the Internet.  
When that didn't work, the entity tried to log in as various system users.

Who knows what this "preternatural" cracker's goals were. Nonetheless, I am  
not pleased about the attempts to defeat's system security. I am  
particularly sensitive to such probes because of my current work in the  
security field -- I'm working on a book on UNIX security.

Fortunately, there are no signs of further mischief. On the downside, the  
attempted attack ate up quite a bit of my time and has forced me to  
re-evaluate all of's Internet operations. More on this to come.

Eternally yours,

To leave the Blake List, send an email message to with the word "unsubscribe" in the
SUBJECT field. Please use the address
for all administrative queries.


Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 19:25:17 EST
Subject: Re:  Re: Library facilities
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>I think, as well, that the original editors
>(Essick, Eaves and Viscomi) are making a deal with the Tate gallery to
>produce the Blake Trust version in paperbacks, for around $30.00.
>			Meredith Thomson

Indeed, the paperbound versions are already out, at least in the U.S., for
about $30. each.  With the quality involved, I can't see them getting cheaper
than that.  They are a real bargain as it is.

--Tom Devine


Date: Fri, 06 Nov 98 01:27:49 GMT
From: Paul Tarry 
Subject: Quakers
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Did Blake ever have anything to say about Quakers ?


Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 21:38:49 -0600
Subject: Re: The Passion of New Eve
Message-Id: <>

I did a quick review of _The Sadeian Woman_ today, since it had been
several years since I read it.  In fact, there is one chapter 
epigraph quoted from "Vision of the Last Judgment"--It is the 
somewhat infamous "Time is a man, space is a woman, and her
masculine portion is death"--clearly the sentence fromwhich
Carter derived the three "propositions" Paul quoted. Skimming
the book, however, I do not find any other direct quotations or
references to Blake, and though there are many areas of her
argument about Sade that would certainly suggest the possibility of
allusion or quotation, I cannot see any occurring. This is not
to say that Carter does not quote Blake elsewhere--only that she
does not do so in this book.
Tom Dillingham

End of blake-d Digest V1998 Issue #85