William Blake (Blooms Classic Critical Views)
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He would allege that as a young man he could absorb 1, pages at a time. He graduated in from Cornell University, where he studied under the celebrated critic M H Abrams, and lived abroad as a Fulbright scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Bloom married Jeanne Gould in and had two sons. In the 50s, he opposed the rigid classicism of Eliot.
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How do series work? Nathaniel Hawthorne Bloom's classic critical views by Harold Bloom. Ellis and Yeats tell us that his rank as a mystic entitles him to far more admiration and patient study than any claims he may have as a mere painter and poet! Be that as it may and some of us cannot but hold the artist as the most glorious manifestation of the divine on this earth! His was a strange religious creed. It is evident that in early life he obtained somehow or other many of the works of the great mystics and studied them with passionate attention.
Among them Swedenborg whom, however, he frequently criticised harshly and Jacob Boehmen, the wonderful shoemaker of the sixteenth century, seem to have exerted the most lasting influence on his mind. No man ever sought more gallantly to batter down the walls of materialism which were closing round the souls of men, to let in the sweet breath of Spirit, and to unveil the Vision of the Universal Life. It seemed to him to be as actually a fetter to the spirit as the carnal nature of man. Religion was to him a matter of intuition, and not a question of creed or dogma at all.
Thine is the friend of all mankind; Mine speaks in parables to the blind. Thine loves the same world that mine hates, Thy heaven-doors are my hell-gates. The last line is very significant of Blake. He announced definite counter doctrines on his part, and advocated in his vehemence, almost as partial a view of things, as in their own way, did the materialists of his time.
Of his own personal religion it might be said that certain fantastic and strange tenets he chose to believe because they pleased him, as we may choose to believe in this or that section of the Catholic Church; but the most quintessential, intimate, and spiritual of his views were not beliefs at all, but simply and purely knowledge. He knew , by an intuition beyond reason, things outside the ken of ordinary men. The deep melodies of the super-sensible universe reverberated through his soul, and he could never therefore think much of the hum and clamour of this material world.
From this intuitive and rapt knowledge of the mystic there is no appeal, for it transcends human experience, and when Blake had it, he was prophet teller of hidden things indeed. But when he chose to believe and assert complex and sometimes contradictory doctrines, the affair is different, and we may give or withhold our intellectual sympathy as we will.
In any case the spiritual and unorthodox creed which was the lamp of truth to this beautiful soul is worthy of deep reverence, but I cannot altogether agree with Messrs. It is suggestive, deeply sympathetic with [Pg 61] Blake—sometimes radiantly illuminating—but seems an independent treatise rather than an exposition.
Deeply as all students of Blake must feel themselves indebted to Messrs. Ellis and Yeats for their learned work, and the real help it has afforded to a clearer view of his unique personality, I cannot but think that every man will—nay must —interpret Blake for himself.
He was too erratic, too emotional, too much the artist, the apostle of discernment and the enemy of reason and science, to have constructed the closely-reasoned, carefully-articulated system of thought which they describe so graphically. Blake was an intuitive mystic, not a systematic or learned one. However, if Messrs.
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Virgin thought it was indeed, for tradition had little hold on him, and the social, political and intellectual movements of his time passed by him, washing round the rock on which he sat isolated, but leaving him almost untouched by their influence and atmosphere. He was never swept into the current of contemporary life, but was as removed from the London of his time as if his rooms had been an Alpine tower of silence, instead of being in the very heart and turmoil of the city.
He belonged to no particular age. We could never [Pg 62] think of him, for instance, like Rossetti or William Morris, as an exile from the middle ages who had fallen upon an uncongenial nineteenth century. He lived apart in a world of spirit, and concerned himself with the great elementary problems of all ages, bringing none of the bias or characteristic mental hamper of his generation to bear upon these considerations.
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His art necessarily ranges in the same primeval world, not yet thoroughly removed from chaos. Swinburne, in his eloquent critical essay on Blake, finds him largely pantheistic in his views. There is something in Blake of the rapt indifference to externals, found in the Buddhist. He is become a worm that he may nourish the weak.
For let it be remembered that creation is God descending according to the weakness of man: our Lord is the Word of God, and everything on earth is the Word of God, and in its essence is God. He believed in a great permeating unconditioned spirit—God—of whose nature men also partake, but subjected to the conditions and moral nature which result from sexual and generative humanity. And beside the unnameable supreme God there is another God, the creator Urizen, who is a sort of divine demon. If thou humblest thyself thou humblest me.
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Thou art a man: God is no more: Thine own humanity learn to adore, For that is my spirit of life. What resemblance do you suppose there is between your spirit and his? I must have had conversations with him. So I had with Jesus Christ. I have an obscure recollection of having been with both of them. His eye brightened at this, and he fully concurred with me. We are all co-existent with God, members of the Divine Body. We are all partakers of the Divine Nature. The latter words seem as ordinary and orthodox as on first reading his assertion that he was Socrates seems wild and mad.
But all Blake really meant and I think Crabb Robinson only half took his meaning was, that the vegetative universe being a mere shadow, so are the accidents of personality, the age one is born into, the organic form which incloses the spirit. But he and Socrates were one or at least related at the point where their spirits the eternal verity touched, and melted each into the other. He understood the Bible in its spiritual sense. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good and Evil.
smtp.manualcoursemarket.com/137-prix-plaquenil.php Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active, springing from Energy. Good is Heaven, Evil is Hell.
That energy, called evil, is alone from the body, and that Heaven, called Good, is alone from the soul. That God will torment man in Eternity for following his energies. But the following contraries are true:. Man has no Body distinct from Soul, for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of soul in this age.
Energy is the only life, and is from the body, and reason is the bound or outward circumference of energy. But there is no limit of expansion, there is no limit of translucence in the bosom of man for ever from eternity to eternity. Opaqueness and contraction were the only forms of evil [Pg 66] he recognized, and these are negative rather than active qualities. Indeed, Blake often seems to deny the existence of sin at all.
Again referring to the invaluable record that Crabb Robinson has left of Blake—I quote always from Messrs. But these are only negations. He denied that the natural world is anything. Contraries exist. But negations exist not; nor shall they ever be organized for ever and ever. The great strife with Blake was always that between reason and imagination, experience and spiritual discernment. The greater part of humanity seemed to him to see with the natural eye natural phenomena only. This was accordingly opaque to them, and did not let through the light of the Universal Spirit or Imagination, seen with which alone it was beautiful, as being then the symbol of something immeasureably greater than itself.
He would fain have had men look through the eye at the infinite imagination which is the cause of phenomena. Where is the existence out of mind, or thought? Some people flatter themselves [Pg 67] that there will be no Last Judgement, and that bad art will be adopted, and mixed with good art—that error or experiment will make a part of truth—and they boast that it is its foundation. These people flatter themselves; I will not flatter them. Error is created, truth is eternal.
Error or creation will be burnt up, and then, and not till then, truth or eternity will appear. It is burned up the moment men cease to behold it. It gives the Last Judgement—hitherto conceived of by the orthodox as a terribly material and mundane affair—an imaginative and esoteric significance very grateful and welcome to the spiritually sensitive.
I look through it, and not with it. The treasures of heaven are not negations of passion, but realities of intellect, from which all the passions emanate, uncurbed in their eternal glory. The modern Church crucifies Christ with the head downwards.