Embodying Heaven: The Body in Blake’s Dante, by Silvia Riccardi

Images of Transfiguration: Trasumanar and Transformation in Paradise

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Introduction: Inside Blake’s Body

Dante’s journey in the otherworld has introduced generations of readers to the consequences of the divine judgment, the architecture of sin and salvation, the moral condemnation of materialism, and the pilgrim’s encounter with God. God is the “somma luce” (“eternal beam”), which cannot be grasped by means of human understanding. The blinding light of redemption thus remains a mystery untold in the Commedia.

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Blake’s Illustrations of Dante’s Hell, by Eric Pyle

Entering Psychological Hell: The Dark Side of Christianity 

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Updating Dante

‘Dear Sir, I am still far from recoverd & dare not get out in the cold air. Yet I lose nothing by it—Dante goes on the better, which is all I care about’ – William Blake

 

‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them’ – Matthew 5:17

 

‘No thing can become manifest to itself without opposition’ – Boehme

Among William Blake’s last works was a series of illustrations to Dante’s Divine Comedy. It was an ambitious project for a man of 67 to begin, and he didn’t live to complete it. Even in its unfinished state, however, the series is a rich and fascinating work of art that can add to our understanding of Blake’s philosophy and artistic goals, and be enjoyed for its strange beauty.

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