Tuesday, May 3, 2011


1. Biography
(link to primer (spiritual autobiography) chapter One)
18th and 19th century British churches consisted of the Anglican (or Established) Church and a number of dissenters generally referred to as sects. Among them were
Quakers, Moravians, Swedenborgians. Blake's parents were in turn Swedenborgians and Moravians. Blake had very little use for the Established Church and not much use for the others. Of course there have always been Atheists, but the generality of the elite population leaned toward Deism (like Thomas Paine). Blake was definitely opposed to Deism. Can anybody give a definition of Deism.

God created the world, wound it up like a clock and had not further interest in the world or in you or me.

Blake's parents sent him to school when he was six. Seeing the Schoolmaster flogging a wayward student, he rose and made an immediate exit. He had no further organized school (not uncommon in his day), but he became perhaps the most learned man in England, especially regarding what later became known as the Perennial Philosophy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy).

But he especially leaned toward literature, philosophy, and religion. In a letter to a friend named Flaxman he wrote:

"my lot in the Heavens is this: Milton lov'd me in childhood and
show'd me his face;
Ezra came with Isaiah the Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years gave
me his hand;
Paracelsus and Behmen appear'd to me; terrors appear'd in the
Heavens above;"

Milton, Ezra, Isaiah, and Shakespeare were all poets;
Paracelsus was an alchemist (uniformed despised in Blake's day)
Behmen (more often called Boehme wrote sublime religion poetry.

Blake students might do well to acquaint themselves with those people, whom he called his primary sources. By the way poets and thinkers in general express thought that have been expressed otherwise going back to earliest times. Blake's primary source was the Bible; he dealt with the Bible in an original way; reading Blake led me to believe that the Bible (all of it!) is poetry.

Blake lived in a materalistic culture (much like our own). For example they married almost entirely for economic reasons. Blake definitely swam against the stream in that particular.

Look at Blake, the young man:
Songs of Innocence and Exerpience
Marriage of Heaven and Hell

In regard to sex Blake was the darling of the flower children of the sixties.
However his marriage gives every evidence of being solidly monogamous for the forty years that he and his wife were together. We are told that early in their marriage he proposed bringing in a concubine; Catherine cried and he gave up the idea.

Blake had very prophetic ideas about Marriage as it occurred in English culture:
It was purely materialistic (and still is in parts of Europe and Latin America, where people get a wife for economic reasons). Blake responded to this contempt for marriage vows with Visions of the Daughters of Albion.
Pic by all means.

The main chance and 20 years in the wilderness.
Visited the Truchssessian Museum. He doesn't specify

g. He produced this two masterpieces and Illustrations to the Book of Job.