Angels in Blake, by Mia Forbes

Unfolding Emissaries:  Angels and Devils as Dialectic

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Just as Blake believed that angels are inter-relational and can interpenetrate many dimensions, a part of the divine fabric that constitutes human imagination and an extended field of gravity-like attraction and connection (“betweenness”), this piece weaves together the thought of three different but interrelated Blake commentators on angels – Mia Forbes, S. Foster Damon, and Northrop Frye – thus hoping to build, in a sense, the wings of mutual communion and flight, ones which constitute the true or ‘best’ sense of the angelic in Blake: wings enfolded within wings.

“Angel” is the Greek word for “messenger” or “emissary”.  Blake used the word in the specific sense only once, in expanding Matthew 1:20, where the Angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream, bidding him marry Mary. In the Bible it is not always easy to be sure whether God himself may not be intended by the word. Blake combined the two: “I heard his voice in my sleep & his Angel in my dream” (Jerusalem). But anything that speaks of Eternity may be an angel; thus the tiny skylark is “a Mighty Angel” (Milton: 12; cf.L’Allegro).

“Every man’s leading propensity ought to be call’d his leading Virtue & his good Angel” (Blake, On Lavater). Blake had one (see ‘A Dream’, Songs of Innocence; or “The Angel that presided o’er my birth”, from Blake’s Notebook 1808-26); Milton had one (Milton); also the unfortunate heroine of ‘The Angel’ (Songs of Experience). Angels guard children and give them sleep (‘Night’, and ‘A Cradle Song’, Songs of Innocence).

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‘For Empire is no more’: Blake’s America, by Allen Ginsberg

Countering the Beast and the Whore: Revolution as Revelation

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In February 1979, the great American poet and writer Allen Ginsberg gave a series of remarkable lectures on the prophetic books of William Blake, providing teachings and commentary on their meaning. They were delivered to the students at the Naropa Institute (Naropa University) in Boulder, Colorado.

This is an edited version of his lectures on Blake’s prophetic work America a Prophecy, which explores themes of empire, liberation, terror, the role of prophetic anger, and the centrality of imagination in the struggle to envision and to realise a better world.

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From Hell: Alan Moore and William Blake, by E.M. Notenboom 

Psychogeography: Occult London and the City as Psyche

The Ghost of a Flea c.1819-20 William Blake 1757-1827 Bequeathed by W. Graham Robertson 1949 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05889

Milton, Blake and Moore are philosophical wanderers who share a tendency to connect history, spirituality, and place in their works through philosophers of the past. They journey horizontally through urban, rural, or spiritual locations and at the same time delve vertically through history. As this article will suggest, their legacy is a transformation of familiar landscapes.

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Blake and Milton: Paradise Reloaded, by Jackie DiSalvo

Prophecy and Class Consciousness

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Behind Blake’s particular conception of prophecy there is another which arises from Milton’s but goes beyond it. Henry Parker had enunciated it in the Puritan revolution when he proclaimed that “vox populi was ever reverenced as Vox Dei”. This tradition was related also to a belief that “God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty” (1. Cor). When Milton interprets this text, as in his Treatise of Civil Power, it becomes a metaphor, a contrast between a laity’s conscience and the political authority of a state church.

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Blake, Nietzsche, and the Death of God, by Jenny Hollander

How Blake Views The Sacred ‘Fall’ Of Judeo-Christianity As Triggering A Sacrilegious ‘Fall Of Man’

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To make use of the term ‘fall of man’ is perhaps ironic; it is associated with a Miltonic, Judeo-Christian ‘fall’, which has a semantic implication of the sort against which Nietzsche battles when he begs for the ‘death of God’ to be absorbed into society’s reasoning. The sacred theological ‘fall’ of man from the faultless prelapsarian Eden to the fallible realism of Earth is far from how Blake, and indeed Nietzsche, understands man’s sacrilegious ‘fall’ to his present state.

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