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This profile was last updated on 1/1/96  and contains information from public web pages.

Catherine Blake

Wrong Catherine Blake?
 
Background

Employment History

6 Total References
Web References
From: blake-d-request@albion.com Sent: ...
www.albion.com, 1 Jan 1996 [cached]
From: blake-d-request@albion.com Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 1996 4:15 AM To: blake-d@albion.com Subject: blake-d Digest V1996 #120 ------------------------------ Content-Type: text/plain blake-d Digest Volume 1996 : Issue 120 Today's Topics: Re: purported Blakean hostility toward women Re: Blake on record? unusual?
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Re: biographical support Re: ELP CD Re: Leigh to Avery:purported Blakean hostility toward women On behalf of Kate Blake Re: Lunar Island##2 We need more emoticons...:) Re: ELP CD Re: Lunar Island##2 Hello everyone Re: We need more emoticons...:) Re: Hello everyone Re: We need more emoticons...:) Re: Hello everyone Re: Blake's apparent misogyny. -Reply Re: Blake's apparent misogyny -Reply Blake's alledged chauvinism Re: purported Blakean hostility toward women -Reply "Blake Ball" and CHESS Re: purported Blakean hostility toward women -Reply Re: purported Blakean hostility toward women -Reply Re: purported Blakean hostility toward women -Reply Lunar Island -Reply Introduction (mine) -Reply Re: Blake on record? unusual? -Reply Poetry and painting the world purple and red Re: ELP CD -Reply Blake's alledged chauvinism -Reply ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 07:54:26 -0500 (EST) From: Leigh A Vrabel
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To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: Blake on record? unusual?
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Avery Gaskins ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 06:02:45 -0800 From: reillys@ix.netcom.com (susan p. reilly) To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: ELP CD Message-Id: Hi Joshua, Even with the miracles of telecommunications, it amazes me to see a global community linking up in cyberspace--you in Okinawa, John at Oxford, and Yanks from all over North America (I'm new to the Blake list--there have perhaps been other countries represented...?).
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Kate could indeed read. She was "told by a spirit" to look for her fortune in a particular book. She found erotic doggerel. I don't know the literacy rate for the women in England in the late 1700's, or how many knew the classics like William. But how many men or women nowadays are "lettered"? (Actually, I'm more disturbed by Time Magazine's report that the first five graduates in line at Harvard couldn't tell the interviewer what causes the seasons. I bet Blake would have been able to explain this clearly and scientifically -- then added a mystical explanation.) Blake and Kate reportedly were found dressed like Adam and Eve in somebody's garden, reading Paradise Lost.
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Kate said, "Mr.
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Subject: Re: Lunar Island##2 Message-Id: I'm afraid I have no idea where Island In The Moon would be available in the US.
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In all seriousness, however, I do think that Kate (and granted, I know very little about her) must have had some cerebral capacity, or else Blake would not have been able to stand her.
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To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: ELP CD Message-Id: Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit susan p. reilly wrote: > > Hi Joshua, > > Even with the miracles of telecommunications, it amazes me to see a > global community linking up in cyberspace--you in Okinawa, John at > Oxford, and Yanks from all over North America (I'm new to the Blake > list--there have perhaps been other countries represented...?). > Welcome. What brings you to Okinawa? (You seem somehow to be > transplanted) > > S. Reilly My wife brings me to Okinawa, although we call Seattle home. As a means of supporting us, and supporting me in my poetry, she is a Neo Natal Intensive Care Nurse in the U.S. Air Force.
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Peace joshua -- ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 15:19:47 -0800 From: reillys@ix.netcom.com (susan p. reilly) To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: Lunar Island##2 Message-Id: Thanks, John, for the answer re: *Island in the Moon* I've been to both Grasmere and to London several times, and know about the bookshops there, and have a chapbbok edn of Lyrical Ballads, a first edition of *The Prelude* (purchased at auction at Worsworth Summer Conference 1994) The Todd and the Symmond editions (complete) of Milton, and numerous other treasures acquired in your country.
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To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: We need more emoticons...:) Message-Id: Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Leigh A Vrabel wrote: > > Susan was correct...I was, to a large extent, teasing Avery, but > then again, I am a hairsplitter...I want to debate the > definitions of "lettered" and "lovable" until the cows come home (perhaps > I should change tracks and become a linguist).
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In all seriousness, > however, I do think that Kate (and granted, I know very little about her) > must have had some cerebral capacity, or else Blake would not have been able > to stand her. Wit and intellect do not always manifest themselves in > scholarly endeavors. > > Leigh Can we admit that sometimes wit & intellect do not manifest themselves at all in scholarly endeavors? :) ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Oct 96 20:59:15 -0500 From: church@utb1.utb.edu (Karen Church) To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: Hello everyone Message-Id: Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" Para empezar: De aqui o de alla? >Hello, i'm new here, my name is Jose... ask about me!!! > > >Read ya' soon! > >>From a Salvadorean poet... Jose Interiano > > > ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 23:40:54 -0500 (EST) From: "Avery F. Gaskins"
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Subject: Re: We need more emoticons...:) Message-Id:
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To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: Hello everyone Message-Id: Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable At 08:59 PM 10/29/96 -0500, you wrote: >Para empezar: De aqui o de alla? =20 > >>Hello, i'm new here, my name is Jose... ask about me!!! >>Read ya' soon! >> >>>From a Salvadorean poet... Jose Interiano Y despu=E9s, =BFlee Ud. el poeta Blake?
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To: blake@albion.com, TomD3456@aol.com Subject: Re: purported Blakean hostility toward women -Reply Message-Id:
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII ...
www.albion.com, 1 Jan 1996 [cached]
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII There have been some postings along the lines of bluestockings and Blake that tried to "point out" that there were educated women in the eighteenth century, and that Blake passed such people over for an unlettered woman. Considering that he once congratulated himself on not getting an education in rational materialistic views, which is the education that the Bluestockings had and urged for others, and considering that he believed his vision to be intact because he was an autodidact, I think that Blake was seeking out an equal, whom he tried to educate (with some success) in vision. This is not to say that the rationalists do not have their great contribution, sometimes underrated by Blake, but Blake is Blake. I can't imagine him marrying such an "educated" woman, nor can I imagine a Hannah More, for instance, taking any interest in Blake except of the sort that his patron and "spiritual enemy" Hayley took in him, or that sort of interest that Harriet Mathews may have had in him as an interesting addition to a tea.
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Since I'm doing some work on More at this moment, unfinished and without strong conclusions, I'd like to suggest what these kinds of women meant to Blake.
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I (Goodrich: Boston: 1827; originally written in 1799, five years before Blake dated _Milton_ and _Jerusalem_ title pages, two years after Blake titled _Vala, or, The Four Zoas_. Probably no influence there, but More often sounds like Vala, or like Enitharmon at her worst.
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At the end of _Jerusalem,_ Blake seems to me to unite Vala and Jerusalem in Britannia. This is another approach to my argument that the later Blake treats women more symbolically than he does Thel or Oothoon--I believe that, if anything, Blake is being more realistic, more willing to reflect the realities of women's contributions as popularizers to rationalist agendas--that is, willing to acknowledge that the complicity of women in antivisionary agendas required more than just using them as foils for the male perpetrators of evil.
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I think of Blake as a part of a web of women's concerns, a tangled golden string that may lead to Jerusalem's wall. Suzanne Araas Vesely ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 01 Nov 1996 13:30:05 -0500 (EST) From: WC449298@HOPE.CIT.HOPE.EDU To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: Forbidden Knowledge and Innocence -Reply Message-Id: Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7BIT I do remember the post someone wrote in comparing Blake to Nietzsche, and I replied, saying that I also saw striking parallels, but striking differences too.
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The fact is, Blake did not want anybody to be oppressed by deities that are abstracted from the self and thus continually demanding actions from us that may be counterintuitive--Urizen tyrannizing the other Zoas.
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Sometimes Los and Enitharmon seem to represent parts of Blake's own psyche, or Everyman's; sometimes they seem very close to representing William and Catherine Blake ("a vegetated mortal Wife of Los, his Emanation, yet his Wife till the sleep of Death is past," J 14:13)); sometimes they seem to be forces operating in history, shaping it for their own ends, as in "Europe".
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Blake seems to confound any distinction between "inner" and "outer" worlds, spiritual and corporeal, psychology and history. Before we go off on another wild chase down the rat hole of Blake's purported madness, let me say No, I don't think this indicates insanity--I think this confusion or melding of inner and outer is inherent in Blake's essential view of existence, which is alchemical in nature (that's as close a term as I can find, anyway). In alchemical work, as I understand it, the alchemist's outer, "chemical," work is invested with psychological/spiritual meaning, and the inner and outer work become a single "masa confusa," where transformations begin to take place. I think an attempt to describe something like that process is at the core of Blake's project. I think that sort of process takes place all the time -- working on the inner by working on the outer. For example: I believe that for many of us who study literature, our initial choice of an author to study is largely (and often unconsciously) guided by the problems we experience in our inner lives, and our sense that THIS author understands the problem we are experiencing and has some insights into its solution. I know that is true of my own work with Blake.
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And perhaps that's why Blake doesn't seem clear about it: he's portraying a situation that is inherently confusing, constantly transgressing the conceptual boundaries that words create.
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I don't believe Blake is/was any pied piper to the young as many of the icons of the 60's were. Blake was a hard working artist craftsman and poet and certainly not a self-destructive man. He was an immensly disciplined man also.
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That is what I find similar between Shattuck and Blake. Shattuck is also raging against the "spirit of the times" we live in. The misapplication of writers like Blake to justify reprehensible, destructive, heartless,loveless behavior.
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Joe Murray ftsm ---------- > From: WC449298@HOPE.CIT.HOPE.EDU > To: blake@albion.com > Subject: Re: Forbidden Knowledge and Innocence -Reply > Date: Friday, November 01, 1996 10:30 AM > > I do remember the post someone wrote in comparing Blake to > Nietzsche, and I replied, saying that I also saw striking > parallels, but striking differences too. I could be totally > misreading Blake's proverbs of Hell, but I always took them as > an excessive rebellion against the moralism of both the Puritans > and the Deists, the two groups who "crucified Christ upside > down", however he put it. The fact is, Blake did not want > anybody to be oppressed by deities that are abstracted from the > self and thus continually demanding actions from us that may be > counterintuitive--Urizen tyrannizing the other Zoas.
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> To: blake@albion.com; aeolian@everett.com > Subject: Forbidden Knowledge and Innocence -Reply > Date: Friday, November 01, 1996 1:26 AM > > Joseph, Being present at the point of focus of the most vital energies and > so perpetually in flux that habit does not form, sounds very like Blake's > vision of Innocence in Eternity - which is, I suppose, why instinctively > you go on to quote `The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom'. > For Blake, the continual flux and mingling of one's spiritual essences with > that of others sustained spirits in Innocence because it prevented a > permanent Selfhood from developing - the equivalent of the restraints > imposed by habit. > > On earth, intensity , as you point out, can lead to good or bad.
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Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" >Jennifer's remarks about Blake's characters and their shifting attributes, >encompassing of each other, leads me to ask a basic question about Blake's >characters (Los and Enitharmon, the Zoas and their emanations, the spectres, >etc.): What ARE they?
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Sometimes Los and > Enitharmon seem to represent parts of Blake's own psyche, or Everyman's; > sometimes they seem very close to representing William and Catherine Blake > ("a vegetated mortal Wife of Los, his Emanation, yet his Wife till the sleep > of Death is past," J 14:13)); sometimes they seem to be forces operating in > history, shaping it for their own ends, as in "Europe".
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So what are they? > Blake seems to confound any distinction between "inner" and "outer" worlds, > spiritual and corporeal, psychology and history. > > Before we go off on another wild chase down the rat hole of Blake's purported > madness, let me say No, I don't think this indicates insanity--I think this > confusion or melding of inner and outer is inherent in Blake's essential view > of existence, which is alchemical in nature (that's as close a term as I can > find, anyway). > > In alchemical work, as I understand it, the alchemist's outer, "chemical," > work is invested with psychological/spiritual meaning, and the inner and > outer work become a single "masa confusa," where transformations begin to > take place. I think an attempt to describe something like that process is at > the core of Blake's project. > > I think that sort of process takes place all the time -- working on the inner > by working on the outer. For example: I believe that for many of us who > study literature, our initial choice of an author to study is largely (and > often unconsciously) guided by the problems we experience in our inner lives, > and our sense that THIS author understands the problem we are experiencing > and has some insights into its solution. I know that is true of my own work > with Blake.
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And perhaps that's why Blake > doesn't seem clear about it: he's portraying a situation that is inherently > confusing, constantly transgressing the conceptual boundaries that words > create. > > What do others think? How would you describe these figures -- the Zoas and > their emanations, etc? What ARE they? > > --Tom Devine ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 14:08:44 -0800 From: reillys@ix.netcom.com (susan p. reilly) To: blake@albion.com Subject: Re: Bluestockings behind Blake's antifeminist passages Message-Id: You wrote: > > >There have been some postings along the lines of bluestockings and Blake >that tried to "point out" that there were educated women in the eighteenth >century, and that Blake passed
An Introduction to William Blake by Alfred Kazin
ftp.multimedialibrary.com, 21 Mar 2006 [cached]
Catherine Blake became the perfect amanuensis, to the man even more than to the artist. She even learned to write and draw so much in his style that her known contributions to his work would otherwise be indistinguishable from his own. She was the ideal wife of his artistic and intellectual alienation; she was the perfect helpmeet in his social and economic desperation. She starved with him, believed in him, and even saw visions for company. If visitors were shocked by the lack of soap in the Blake household, she explained that "Mr. Blake's skin don't dirt! If Blake became completely indifferent to the lack of funds, she would gently remind him of the state of things by putting an empty plate before him for dinner.
Catherine Blake was an ideal wife; her only fault, apparently, was that she was not a person in her own right. The fault was most assuredly not in her but in Blake's annihilating need of her. He made an adoring servant out of her, and then evidently found that he longed for a woman. All the stories we have of them add up to very little, and those who drew upon her and Blake's friends for reminiscences after his death felt such veneration and excitement before their recovery of a neglected genius that they prettied up his domestic life as much as possible. But we do know that he proposed to her at their first meeting when, complaining that a girl had spurned him, she said: "Then I pity you. "Do you truly pity me? he asked, in pleasure. Whereupon he found that he loved her. Yeats, who helped to doctor up the truth about Blake's life as much as anyone, thought this a lovely story and that they lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, Blake's own writing shows that he was tormented by her jealousy and that he thought marriage was the devil.
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A liaison between John Wesley and Isadora Duncan would not have been more strange— indeed, Wesley was a worldly and aristocratic figure; Blake was a lower middle-class drudge, more of a Wesleyan than Wesley himself.
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In this, as in so much else of his thought, Blake painted not only the immediate consequences of a reactionary morality based on outward conformity—the anxieties, the subtle hostilities, the habit of lying. He also foresaw the danger that is exactly present in our modern eroticism, which has the same relation to the failure of love that totalitarian solutions have to the failure of society. When we compare Blake with an artist like D. H. Lawrence, or an oratorical rebel like Henry Miller, we can see how much the obsessiveness, the cringing over-emphasis on sex in the most advanced modern writing is due to the inability of these writers to treat sex naturally in the whole frame of the human organization.
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Blake is not free of the characteristic modern obsessiveness; he was no more free than we are. But he always knows exactly what he is. His theme is always the defense of the integral human personality. His principal virtue is that he does not make a virtue of "frankness"; he is concerned with basic human desire, fear, longing, resentment; with the innermost movements of a human being in the world. He describes, in his great song cycle, the gulf between Innocence and Experience; he feels an inexpressible solidarity with those who are forever in it. For he knows that innocence and experience are not the faces of youth and age, but "the two contrary states of the human soul. He writes as a man, not as an "immoralist. One of the reasons why he is so supreme among those who have written of childhood is that he sees it as the nucleus of the whole human story, rather than as a state that precedes adult "wisdom. If he is afraid for the child, he pities the adult. In experience there is always the longing for "unorganized innocence: an impossibility"; in innocence there is the poignant foretelling of experience, which is death without the return to confidence and vision. Blake is utterly without cynicism. He never makes the characteristic modern mistake of devaluating a prime experience; he never throws out love with the love-affair. We may not agree with him that desire is infinite; we can never be sufficiently grateful to him for insisting that it is never cheap.
Blake is serious about sex, as he is serious about the child; and for the same reason. For he knows that as sex is the buried part of our civilization, so the child is the buried part of the man. His faith in the creative richness of love has the same source as his feeling for the secret richness of childhood: his ability to see through the dead skin of adulthood. He would have understood very well that our "child-psychology" shows the same guardedness toward the child that modern love and marriage reveal between men and women. The same guardedness and the same fear: for we "handle" children from the same negative fears and out of the same lack of positive participation and sympathy. Blake would have seen in our pedagogic carefulness the effort of caution to do the work of the imagination. In his own time, when children were regarded as miniature adults, or as slaves or pets to those who ruled by their maturity, he showed that a child is not an abbreviated version of the adult, but a different being. In our time he would have seen that the distance between a parent and a child is usually the distance between the parents as lovers.
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Blake never deals with history, with the process and its reality; his search is only for the central and forgotten sources of human feeling, imagination, solidarity. To be certain of them, he conceived the world over again in the image of his desire. But it is like our desire, even if it is nothing like our real world. And our desire is always a portion of the reality we have, as it is always a shadow on the reality we have not. That is why Blake at his best is enchanting even in the smallest proportions—in fact, it is difficult to read him with the usual continuity, so much does he fill our minds at each step.
The central subject of Songs of Innocence and of Experience is that of the child who is lost and found. In its symbolism, it is the great theme of all Blake's work—the "real man, the imagination," that has been lost and will be found again through human vision. In Innocence, the little boy loses his father in the night, and God this Father leads him back to his weeping mother. The child is lost to its guardians, for in Blake's mind the child's nature is beyond the parents' comprehension, and is alone in a world the parents cannot enter. The grief of the child is also the loneliness of the soul in its sudden prison of earth; he is protected by God the Father. In Experience, however, the little boy who demands of the priest the right to assert his own thoughts and desires is "burn'd in a holy place. The little girl who enjoys love, without shame or fear, is suddenly confronted with the earthly father whose "loving look, like the holy book," drives her into terror. One little girl is lost and yet found in Experience, however; for she enters lovingly into the world of the passions, where she lives in freedom from the "wolvish howl" and the "lions' growl."
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When Blake cries, in the most moving single expression in his work,
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Blake does not believe in a war between good and evil; he sees only the creative tension presented by the struggle of man to resolve the contraries. What has been created, by some unknown hand, is a fiery furnace into which our hands must go to seize the fire. "The Tyger" is a poem of triumphant human awareness; it is a hymn to pure being. And what gives it its power is Blake's ability to fuse two aspects of the same human drama: the movement with which a great thing is created, and the joy and wonderment with which we join ourselves to it. The opening and closing stanzas are the same, for as we begin with our wonder before the creation, so we can only end on it. It is the living eternal existence; the fire is, so long as we are. That is why Blake begins on the four great beats of "Tyger!
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Blake goes straight to the poles; we are in the presence of a creation that can be traced from distant deeps to skies. What sustains the verse in our ear is the long single tone in which are blended the related sounds of burnt, fire, thine, eyes. By natural association—from the burning fire to the topmost eyes of the Tyger—and through the swell of the line, these words also form a natural little scale of four notes—a scale that ends in the crash of the question-mark. Blake's mind is darting between the mysterious unseen he, the maker of the Tyger, and the fire in its eyes. The fire is central to his thought, so much so that it eclipses the maker as a person and turns him into the force and daring with which he creates. Blake does not write "He"; he is far more interested in the creation than in the creator. But so great is this creation that the creator grows mysterious and powerful in its light. What is so beautiful in the se
On behalf of Kate Blake ...
www.albion.com [cached]
On behalf of Kate Blake
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Blake's alledged chauvinism
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Blake's alledged chauvinism -Reply
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> I don't think Blake is so much a misogynist as he is a chauvinist. Witness his
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presumptuous to assume that Mrs. Blake had no redeeming qualities and was
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A more recent musical evocation of Blake is the song "The Echoing Green" by Cause and Effect. I'll transcribe below their "version" of Blake. Great versification it is not but I like the connection made with Wordworth's "We Are Seven." For all of the unique power of Blake's idiosyncratic vision and verse, I continue to be impressed with the parallels (the echoes?) between Blake and other Romantic writers--this even though only rarely may there be any direct influence. Perhaps at times we don't emphasize enough this evocative quality of Blake's writing. I find that my undergraduate students respond quite positively and insightfully to my use of Blake as a touchstone to which we periodically return in exploring other Romantic writers. In particular, I find "The Book of Thel" and "America" to be extremely useful archetypal texts through which to explore and amplify other Romantic texts. Does anyone else have strategies to share about using Blake to
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Well, Tom, as I read the record, Blake married Catherine Boucher on the re-
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It smoothed out only after Blake taught her to read and she became a true partner in his work.
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As I recall it, Blake found her very lovable ...
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Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 09:29:09 CST From: "Ed Friedlander, M.D." To: blake@albion.com, "PEACH/DIANE"@vortex.more.net Subject: On behalf of Kate Blake Message-Id: <31130D15221@ALUM.UHS.EDU>
> > I don't think Blake is so much a misogynist as he is a chauvinist. Witness his
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Kate could indeed read. She was "told by a spirit" to look for her fortune in a particular book. She found erotic doggerel.
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I bet Blake would have been able to explain this clearly and scientifically -- then added a mystical explanation.)
Blake and Kate reportedly were found dressed like Adam and Eve in somebody's garden, reading Paradise Lost.
Blake is reported to have asked his wife to let a mistress move in with them, but she cried and so he said no.
Blake's interviewers usually reported that his wife was present, and that he talked with her during the interviews.
Kate said, "Mr. Blake's skin don't dirt."
In the letter to Butts ("Such a vision to me / Appeared by the sea"), Blake saw his wife and his "sister and friend" (his wife's sister?) in spiritual form.
When Ololon descended to Blake at Felpham, his first request (he thought she was a Daughter of Beulah) was that the kindly spirit come inside to comfort his wife, who was suffering badly with arthritis.
When Scofield and Blake got into their famous fight, Mrs. Blake apparently told Scofield something to the effect that she hoped that
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however, I do think that Kate (and granted, I know very little about her)
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An added note: by far the best rendition of Blake to modern music, is that of Van Morrison on the CD entitled *Sense of Wonder*.
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> however, I do think that Kate (and granted, I know very little about her)
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I never said Blake did not love her.
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in Blake, and Oohtoon's lament , as well as the ending of Jerusalem ( as well as most of Blake) can only be properly understood, too, in relation to
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Eternity as central to BLake is NOT to claim that he was not fully aware of the `mental chains' which bound his contemporaries and which , perpetuated in new forms in every age, will continue to keep man in `bondage' if not recognised for what they are. How can Blake write about the Fall of man without having any idea of what he fell from? As his themes revolve around the Fall and the way to recover Innocence it is essential to have a clear idea of what Albion's Children lose when Jerusalem is cast out as a `harlot'. To grasp that this upsets the unity of all `contraries' which are inherent in the godhead is essential. To interpret Blake in this way is NOT equivalent to siding with table-rapping, channeling and all the other emotive things you bolster your argument with. I see Blake as having his feet firmly in BOTH this world and the one preceding this in Etrnity, and succeeding this in Eternity.
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mythology, BLake had no problem resisting the evils of this world while firmly fixing his gaze on `eternal ' realities.
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Subject: Blake's alledged chauvinism
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I have always considered Blake to be one of the MOST humanistic of all poets and artist to ever appear. His portrayal of the human condition, its woes and potentials are incredibly incisive and inclusive. One needs to go little further then Visions of the Daughters of Albion or the Book of Thel to understand that Blake was centuries beyond his contemporaries in regard to "equality" among the sexes.
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I doubt Blake would have much time for Ms. Gaskin's onanistic endeavor,
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mostly the emanations Blake dramatises are `female'.
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relevant to my own field of interest in relating Blake to Kabbalah and Behmen etc.
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Did Blake choose Catherine only because she was unlettered? No ... he found her compassion irresistible, if I remember correctly from the old biographies of Wilson, etc. How did he try to `dominate' her?
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around with tattered copies of Blake - or brand new ones, lovingly
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Tom, re strategies for relating Blake to other Romantics....
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following entry in which Blake himself says, re poetry and painting:
not a line is drawn without intention.
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Subject: Blake's alledged chauvinism -Reply
William Blake : The Poetry Foundation
www.poetryfoundation.org, 4 May 2006 [cached]
In all, seven children were born to James and Catherine Harmitage Blake, but only five survived infancy.
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Blake seems to have been closest to his youngest brother, Robert, who died while yet young.
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By all accounts Blake had a pleasant and peaceful childhood, made even more pleasant by his skipping any formal schooling.As a young boy he wandered the streets of London and could easily escape to the surrounding countryside.Even at an early age, however, his unique mental powers would prove disquieting.
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His parents did, however, encourage his artistic talents, and the young Blake was enrolled at the age of ten in Pars' drawing school.
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Basire seems to have been a good master, and Blake was a good student of the craft.
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Blake was later to be especially grateful to Basire for sending the young student to Westminster Abbey to make drawings of monuments Basire was commissioned to engrave.
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It was as a journeyman engraver, however, that Blake earned his living.Booksellers employed him to engrave illustrations for publications ranging from novels such as Don Quixote to serials such as Ladies' Magazine.
One incident at this time affected Blake deeply.In June of 1780 riots broke out in London incited by the anti-Catholic preaching of Lord George Gordon but also by resistance to continued war against the American colonists.Houses, churches, and prisons were burned by uncontrollable mobs bent on destruction.On one evening, whether by design or by accident, Blake found himself at the front of the mob that burned Newgate prison.These images of violent destruction and unbridled revolution gave Blake powerful material for works such as Europe (1794) and America (1793).
Not all of the young man's interests were confined to art and politics.After one ill-fated romance, Blake met Catherine Boucher, an attractive and compassionate woman who took pity on Blake's tales of being spurned.
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Blake soon taught her to read and to write, and under Blake's tutoring she also became an accomplished draftsman, helping him in the execution of his designs.
By all accounts the marriage was a successful one, but no children were born to the Blakes.Catherine also managed the household affairs and was undoubtedly of great help in making ends meet on Blake's always limited income.
Blake's friend John Flaxman introduced Blake to the bluestocking Harriet Mathew, wife of the Rev. Henry Mathew and a celebrated lady of fashion whose drawing room was often a meeting place for artists and musicians.
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There Blake gained favor by reciting and even singing his early poems.
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David Erdman argues that the ballad "Gwin, King of Norway" is a protest against King George's treatment of the American colonies, a subject Blake treated more extensively in America (1793).Only about fifty copies of Poetical Sketches are known to have been printed.Blake's financial enterprises also did not fare well.In 1784, after his father's death, Blake used part of the money he inherited to set up shop as a printseller with his friend James Parker.The Blakes moved to 27 Broad Street, next door to the family home and close to Blake's brothers.The business did not do well, however, and the Blakes soon moved out.
Of more concern to Blake was the deteriorating health of his favorite brother, Robert.
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Blake tended to his brother in his illness and according to Gilchrist watched the spirit of his brother escape his body in his death: "At the last solemn moment, the visionary eyes beheld the released spirit ascend heaven ward through the matter-of-fact ceiling, 'clapping its hands for joy.'"
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Blake always felt the spirit of Robert lived with him.
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After experimenting with this method in a series of aphorisms entitled There is No Natural Religion and All Religions are One (1788?), Blake designed the series of plates for the poems entitled Songs of Innocence and dated the title page 1789.Blake continued to experiment with the process of illuminated writing and in 1794 combined the early poems with companion poems entitled Songs of Experience.
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In the "Introduction" to Songs of Innocence, Blake presents the poet in the form of a simple shepherd: "Piping down the valleys wild / Piping songs of pleasant glee."The frontispiece displays a young shepherd simply dressed and holding a pipe, and it is clear Blake is establishing a pastoral world.
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More important, for Blake the poet is a man who speaks both from the personal experience of his own vision and from the "inherited" tradition of ancient Bards and prophets who carried the Holy Word to the nations.
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Blake satirizes those who are unable to see the necessary connection between innocence and experience, the spiritual world and the physical world.Thel's world of soft watercolors is not enough.She cannot understand that even the lowly worm is loved by God and serves his part in creating life.
The storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789 and the agonies of the French Revolution sent shock waves through England.Some hoped for a corresponding outbreak of liberty in England while others feared a breakdown of the social order.In much of his writing Blake argues against the monarchy.In his early Tiriel (written circa 1789) Blake traces the fall of a tyrannical king.
Politics was surely often the topic of conversation at the publisher Joseph Johnson's house, where Blake was often invited.
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There Blake met important literary and political figures such as William Godwin, Joseph Priestly, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Paine.
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According to one legend Blake is even said to have saved Paine's life by warning him of his impending arrest.Whether or not that is true, it is clear that Blake was familiar with some of the leading radical thinkers of his day.
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Johnson never published the poem, perhaps because of fear of prosecution, or perhaps because Blake himself withdrew it from publication.
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In America (1793) Blake also addresses the idea of revolution, but the poem is less a commentary on the actual revolution in America as it is a commentary on universal principles that are at work in any revolution.
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The revolution in America suggests to Blake a similar revolution in England.In the poem the king, like the ancient pharaohs of Egypt, sends pestilence to America to punish the rebels, but the colonists are able to redirect the forces of destruction to England.Erdman suggests that Blake is thinking of the riots in England during the war and the chaotic condition of the English troops, many of whom deserted.
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Writing this poem in the 1790s, Blake also surely imagined the possible effect of the French Revolution on England.
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Hence to counteract this repression, Blake announces that he is of the "Devil's Party" that will advocate freedom and energy and gratified desire.
The "Proverbs of Hell" are clearly designed to shock the reader out of his commonplace notion of what is good and what is evil:
Prisons are built with stones of Law,
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Blake is, of course, not advocating moral and political anarchy, but a proper balance of energy and its opposing force, reason.Reason is defined as "the bound or outward circumference of Energy."Reason is a vital and necessary force to define Energy, and "Without Contraries is no progression."The problem now is that the forces of reason have predominated, and the forces of energy must be let loose.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell contains many of the basic religious ideas developed in the major prophecies.Blake analyzes the development of organized religion as a perversion of ancient visions: "The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & Numerous senses could perceive."Ancient man created those gods to express his vision of the spiritual properties that he perceived in the physical world.So far, so good, but the gods began to take on a life of their own separate from man: "Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of, & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood."The "system" or organized religion keeps man from perceiving the spiritual in the physical.The gods are seen as separate from man, and an elite race of priests is developed to approach the gods: "Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast."Instead of looking for God on remote altars, Blake warns, man should look within.
In August of 1790 Blake moved from his house on Poland Street across the Thames to the area known as Lambeth.The Blakes lived in the house for ten years, and the surrounding neighborhood often becomes mythologized in his poetry.Felpham was a "lovely vale," a place of trees and open meadows, but it also contained signs of human cruelty, such as the house for o
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