I can only gaze at the images of Blake’s work in a book, or on the internet … (maybe at times in a museum) and that will have to do.
I have been pulled into William Blake again. This means trouble because he takes me to strange places of my imagination… like no one else can. The game is light and shadow play, and it is real life. I am reading The Marriage of Heaven and Hell edited with introduction and commentary by Michael Phillips. It is good to have his writing placed in the context of history. Analyzing the why, how and who is important in understanding Blake’s work, but for me the real place is always the inward place of the imagination. We all have this place and all we must do is to use it.
This, for me, is the best place to start with understanding Blake’s work. He does get unbelievably detailed though and sometimes it does take a lot of study time to reveal his meaning.
I like this book of Blake’s because there are only a few editions of this work in the world. He did all the work himself. He is an originator of free speech with a fanzine of his own. Including his opinions of current events, his spirituality and esoteric perspective. He mixes it all up in a wild whirlwind of images and does not exclude nature. Heartfelt satire, humor and word play also splash the pages with words that are even misspelled. Re-created words run through his work.
Maybe this was since his hand wrote out each letter of this book. Who knows?
I find it refreshing and I think back on my days as an editor and publisher of an underground fanzine. To print it and get it out was a fast movement in documenting a growing scene. To me the message was more important than the grammar or spelling and the parallelism I draw from Blake’s work; as he is my mentor and teacher, and what we achieved on each issue is similar. He helps me, in a sense; feel relieved from criticism that I have received. That either consciously or unconsciously he is making a statement; He shows cleverly his intentions as in the statement from the Book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
Improvent makes straight roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius.
Proverbs of Hell Pg. 69
Yes, the words “Improvent” and “Improvement” are the same words with the same meaning. Smart, what do you think? Something to ponder. This is what Blake does best he gets us to ponder, think and imagine.
I can only gaze at the images of Blake’s work in a book, or on the internet now… and that will have to do.
This next quote I have chosen is very current and insightful for our times. He also uses something I call “Nature Politics” in his work.
As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.
Proverbs of Hell Pg. 68
A layperson’s notes on the study of William Blake ends here but will continue in the future…
NEW … this October 2016…. and I am so happy!
Post about our visit to the John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller Blake Gallery