Thursday, 21 February 2008
He deconstructs the mediterranean centered prejudices of history once thought true now now seen as recidivism........for example 'flat-earth' histories, pre-darwinian concepts of time, evolution and science, set chronologies of creation, economic abuse and the sexual repression of women and their sexual abuse, as in prostitution and mere pleasure, the abuse of innocence in child labour and slavery and sacrifice of the human form Divine, of the god within, for power and money.
Likewise Blake saw war as the consequence of closed shells of consciousness... he symbolised these closed 'prisons' of perception, giving twenty-seven of them, which with the final boundaries of finitude make twenty-eight 'churches' of perception. Blake' s shapings of mental entities and core energies engages his audience in a remarkably practical engagement with real suffering and real collapse and renewal. Blake's commitment to his idea of christian prophecy was profound; it was the mission of art to bear witness in a manner not unlike the ikon and its theology of witness inwhich Christ breaks through the self-created inner shells of human perception. Blake's myth bears witness of Christ infinitely transcending within and without.
.........Blake's visionary spirituality is anglo-celtic. it is essential to see he consciously crafts a vision inspired by prophetic origins antecedent to the invited-to-britain-and-soon sent home augustine.
late millenium papal christianity, post roman, came together with indigenous anglo-celtic christianity. Of course there was inter-communion... throughout east, centre, west, north and southern (egyptian christianity c.f. beatty/bodmer fragments of NT c.200 c.e.).
heresies were not not part of anglo-celtic practice...c.f. Gildas the Wise and his hatred of the 'arian poison' as he calls it ...or marcion. The normans completed the accommodation of anglo-celtic christianity with papal religious and secular authority. the weight of church support for william is typically understated in 1066 and all that...Blake's myth is northern and western european, and its origins shared by augustine though its expression fully contemporary.
on the other hand, it is equally essential to know reading Blake means we do see rome as the centre, not as the east... and not as the west... for 'all roads lead to rome'.......further, clearly when they left Jerusalem after the crucifixion..... Peter and Paul did not 'go west... there's gold in them thar seven hills' as i put it elsewhere. .....they went to the centre called rome....(and yes... there was and is gold in those seven hills..... unimagined wealth)....it is beyond philosophical doubt and archaeological dispute that the west was the tin isles of thucidites, ... eventually called england, ireland, scotland and wales. (see below, 2007)...DNA studies and studies of 'saxon' burial sites show the western isles were a genetically homogenous indigenous civilisation that remained reasonably intact before the romans came and after the romans left... including 'migrations' from europe. modern archaeology proves 'England' did not collapse into a dark ages in which the celts were driven into cornwall and wales, for example kent was not conquered by a pagan saxon invasion. genes show kent to be as anglo-celtic as cornwall or wales or scotland, and strontium/oxygen levels in teeth of 24 skeletons from 5th - 7th cent a.c.e...confirm the genetic studies... (Sykes, Goldstein, Oxford 2002, 2005; Budd, Durham, Antiquity 2008; BBC Seven Ages of Britain TV series). it seems small-scale immigration that adopted and adapted. It does seem there were movements within england but that 'less than half of paternal input' was diue to 'anglo-saxon migration' concludes Goldstein. The pagan dark ages is now seen as replacement history and as such fails the criteria of truth necessary for revelation theology, which must always reform itself in the light of historical facticity to avoid heresy.
we need begin the literary journey of Blake's 'golden thread' knowing we read of Blake's religious understandings of the new Jerusalem....that Blake draws immediately from Swedenborg's 'New Jerusalem' as is well known and researched (see viscomi, Marriage of Heaven and Hell). He also drew from the earliest discourses of spirituality, symbolism, vision and prophetic inspiration (frye bloom percival bentley bloom percival lincoln rowland et al)... the meta summary of these scholars conclusions begins with Blake's tradition as a necessary critical departure point.
I discuss Blake's poetic story and his spiritual realities of a new Jerusalem in Chapter 4, especially Plate 86, of Jerusalem Explained. I have found is not possible to expand our critical perception of Blake's new Jerusalem without the philosophical pre-condition of knowing it in as exact a mythic context as is possible. I analyse Blake's religious moral and economic symbolism in Jerusalem.... and conclude we clearly see a fully developed and articulated myth in Blake's 'jeweled' setting for the new Jerusalem.
I have put these search line below for elements of my research...... and for those those who want to understand Blake's story as an aesthetic whole, 'simply' explained in terms of Blake's fundamentally symbolic meaning of Jerusalem and the new Jerusalem.....and for those who want Blake's plots, myth, story and characters re-presented as developed and set in exquisitely precise narrative context...........and those who want to see in ways similar to Blake when writing...that means in terms of Blake's one-fold, two-fold, three-fold and four-fold states of perception.
There is a need to be very specific here...looking outward..one-fold cannot see two-fold...which cannot see three-fold'... which cannot see four-fold...looked at again but going inwards...four-fold can see three-fold... which can see two-fold... which can see one-fold which cannot see anything but it self. Seeing with Blake is the journey of his descent into himself and the transformation in time to a renewal into unity...a unity purged of that which thought it self divine. it is not strictly a return, not a cycle that is back to where it began...
I trace Blake's four organising vortices of being... enter Blake's clearly defined narrative levels or points of view... engage the reader in his dramatic tension and use of irony... and present as a critical whole Blake's literary perception of humanity's tragic fall, cleansing and and redemption...
.... again none of Blake's states of vision are properly grasped without a grasp of the work as a whole, and in turn that needs a proper textual analysis according to the science of textual criticism. that is make much more possible by my two books.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Flash page: William Blake's Jerusalem Explained: The William Blake Press: Cambridge 2007 --611 pages
When i lectured in an institute of education/teachers college (as head of school: liberal arts and sciences) we ensured we taught future educatrs that children must physically turn their heads one side right, and, the other side left when they cross a road, because the child has not developed peripheral, perceptual, vision and literally cannot perceive the cars coming from either side. So they walk out, suddenly, for if there is no car immediately in front of them they cross. This is an example of ‘restricted field articulation’....the child’s ability to scan is perceptually restricted, and their behaviour thereby modified, sometimes fatally. Moral scanning is concomitant.
Universally we experience restricted scanning. Without it we could not be an evolving identity, grow or age. Simply put, in love we transform our perceptions to scan in beauty and hope and joy within and without around us. By contrast, in fear, poverty, pain, confinement and depression, fear and anxiety are perceived, threat is universal and the spin or ‘vortex’ of such scanning leads to inwardness, paranoia and self-harm or harm to others. We say we can ‘turn things around’ by scanning more and more positive events and realities in our individual ‘vortex’. Blake calls the ‘spin’ about us a vortex. The vortex expands and contracts within and without us. His epics symbolise how his continuum of improved practical scanning of all he perceive is possible. His work helps show how his understandings led to his self-realisations in art and life.
Now we turn to Blake’s Jerusalem. He seeks to enhance our perceptual field articulations, and as with all great art, he succeeds. In Blake’s aesthetics art enhances individual perceptions. He is perfectly clear; to him the purpose of being is unity with God. We survive and improve our lives through love and hate, food and shelter, justice, art, science, feeling and thought, and above all through others, living in the image of God, which Blake called the human form Divine, best expressed in Plates 94-100
Blake’s genius in Jerusalem and The Four Zoas engages us in the movements of mind and perceptual scanning of consciousness within and without to a degree of comprehensiveness and insight not found in others. while he is profoundly christian his work explores human consciousness in ways comprehensive and universal.... for brief examples, we learn from Blake of the intricate mechanisms and articulations of the mind in process of birth, love, death, time and being ...we see his depiction of the multi-levelled action and reaction of act... and we perceive his unequaled symbolising of the fragmentation of consciousness, its levels of psychosis and healing ,and its integrations into reconciled unities
William Blake’s Jerusalem is a long and brilliant epic. Here is my conclusion: it will probably take a year or so to read Jerusalem; a reading target of one plate a day is racing through the work. How many books offer that kind of self-enhancement…in order that we might perceive more deeply and further? That is Blake’s gift to us all and his art expands our personal perceptual scanning. IIt's taken me a decade or so to decipher and then write Blake’s Jerusalem Explained and likewise, earlier, Blake's The Four Zoas Explained. It has taken that kind of determined effort to outline his story clearly. He is not impenetrable. These two epic books on Blake's christian myth will transform your perceptions of Blake's mastery of his mediums; Blake’s art and his poetry. It should help clarify Blake's explicit trinitarian christianity and his implicit and explicit visionary grasp of spiritual truths of human existence, nature, time and eternity
Once a reader has been through Blake’s myth from beginning to end then Blake reads swiftly and brilliantly, and we share great poetry, philosophy, drama and participate in a spiritual vision that spans, scans and re-engages us with the internal landscapes of our consciousness. As I write elsewhere, the reader is liberated into the practical act of reading an excellent story. Blake is well worth the effort needed to come to terms with his remarkably contemporary picture of humanity.
Saturday, 16 February 2008
deconstructionism has been my focus....namely the connection between word and word, i've recalled the word logia...........avoiding imposition of preconceived system on Blake's system. the emergent meanings structured on architectures of possible meanings......kabbala.....classical....paracelsus... ossian and the gothic.... longinius and the sublime...moor and his hindu pantheon....bacon hobbes newton locke hume....the french enlightenment and the humanists....dante....swedenborg....boehme ..... the great chain of being as in 'the bard'......deism.....astrology......the industrial revolution and Blake's london, the french and american revolution ....the influences of paine, godwin and early feminism wollstonecraft....slavery, child labour and abuse, mercantalism, mendel and the prisons and (c.f.1797-1834, essay on population and the workfare/workhouse discourse ending in the poor act, 1834)...marxism...jung/freud/lacan...barthes ...derrida...linguistic analysis...foucauld... gramsci... structuralism, modernism and post-modernism....semiotics and the philosophy of the sign and grammatical studies.... even, i read, Blake's autodidacticism (an unconvincing theory holding that Blake was basically self-taught, which Bentley shows incorrect, that seems to suggest that Blake's poetry was 'automatic writing') and discourse and meta-analysis..... and every approach is full of insight. I replace none....I add Blake's plot or logia, the structure he consciously created and the myth he wrote, worked out in all its symmetrical beauty.
instead of conventional mediteranean mythic sources (as in homer, virgil, dante and more immediately, milton's Paradise Lost, Regained or Comus and the cambridge platonists) the weight of meaning Blake shaped into inter-related concepts and sounds was 'key-stoned' or set in a unique semiotic/semantic units like Alla....Ulro....Adan-Udan....the gate of the heart....the cup of Rahab....Entuthon Benethon....Bowlahoola.....Golgonooza.........and personality after personality....Tharmas......Enitharmon.....Palamabron....Bromion....the daughters of Beulah... all empty of pre-determined meaning save for the diachronic and sychronic meanings that are strictly contextual in Blake's myth and confined in its meaning to his linguistic seriality.....concepts like shadow.....shade....spectre....are a third micro family of sign....Blake's geography is yet another...Bath... London... Jerusalem... Babylon... Shiloh... England. These form vortices of resemblances and energy identities. In Blake's poetic method each 'minute particular' is always self-transcending in the ongoing expansion of Blake's articulated perceptions of existential-being-unto death.....and the logically unexpressed interplay of feeling for meaning.....Plates 94-100 symbolises this best........Blake's extraordinary expansion of language units to render meaningful his experiences of four-fold perceptual realities is possibly unequaled in English....concepts like sytagmatic, paradigmatic and pragmatic discourse....all help....but none are sufficient unto themselves.
Indeed, central to Blake's mythic unity is that all aspects of creation.... rocks, hills, rivers, mountains, oceans, cities, counties and countries, zoas, emanations, sons and daughters are conscious entities in Blake's vision of life. .....this means, for example, that the traditional literary distinction between humanity as 'soul-invested' or as locke holds, 'intelligence' invested conscious and moral being, and environment as existentially alienated though aesthetically recaptured being, is dissolved by Blake.....how, in un-deconstructed critical methodologies does one distinguish between the 'character' of Urizen, Los, Jerusalem or Vala and the 'character' of Bath? or the 'character' of the Atlantic?......typically, critical methodologies are corralled by 'plotlessness' and impenetrability pre-suppositions as to be unable to interpret the developed characters of Blake...
.....the commonplace current critical position position is denial (see blog april 07)....Blake's figures and their characters are thought NOT to be dramatically 'fully developed' is based, I find, on a paradigmatic failure in the field to perceive the plot and therefore the detailed and intricate relations between the each figure's being and actions, and, the continuum of such acts after such acts to become and form a linear whole.....what i show is that there is the gamut of emotion feeling act, blindness and moral and spiritual epiphanic and insight in each figure in Blake's plot as a whole......
I read of Blake's figures as NOT being 'fully developed' characters.....and i think, 'compared to whom'?...... Homer's 'Ajax'.......Chaucer's 'wife of Bath'....Lear and the 'fool'?
the modernist and post-modern methodologies exhaust sensibility, and empties language and perception of all but sound and grammatical relations......the semiotics of marks of sound, the repetitions lifted into phonetics and into alphanumonic language of discourse........... all are replayed in Blake's deconstructed poetics.... for language is re-expressed....even re-invented...by Blake to shape the momentums of meanings that culminate in the almost impossible simplicities of his prophetic clarities.....
.....there is something wonderful in Blake's ideas of English 'the rough structure'...........he re-expresses the nature of sound 3000 odd years after its first mesopotanian cuniform sounds-before-consonants were lifted out from the hieroglyph into a written form......
so.....go to april 2007 in the blog and walk backwards into blog-time. when you want to read about the movement from thought into print in William Blake's The Four Zoas and Jerusalem Explained......
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
so here we go ...out for the 10....... a few weeks and it should be out in Amazon's list of books on Blake and Jerusalem.
David Whitmarsh. William Blake's Jerusalem Explained. William Blake Press: Cambridge; 2007, (611 pages).