Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Blake often writes of the splitting off of the emanation from the unified man as an occasion of destruction and sorrow; a portent of a downward spiral of disintegration. This image from the illustrations to Paradise Lost portrays the creation of Eve from the contrary perspective: the Eternal perspective. Eve is seen not as being made of clay as was the description of Adam's creation in the Bible. She is not taken from the flesh of Adam by the removal of one of his ribs. She is created by Christ as a spiritual being, not of the earth or man but as individual with the potential to develop spiritually.

The book William Blake at the Huntington, by Robert N. Essick comments on this picture:

"In Adam's recounting of this scene [in Paradise Lost], he does not specifically refer to Christ's presence. Yet Milton consistently attributes the creation of the world to Christ as the Father's 'effectual might' (3:170) and the performative incarnation of His creative 'Word' (7:163). Thus, Blake's presentation of Christ as Eve's creator does not violate the text even though it stands outside the tradition established by Renaissance paintings such as Michelangelo's Sistine fresco, that God is the divine creator of Eve. Here and elsewhere throughout the Paradise Lost watercolors, Blake takes every opportunity to emphasize Christ's energetic presence.
...In his later writings, however, Blake presents this primal scene as a fortunate fall. As he writes on plate 42 of his conclusive epic, Jerusalem, 'when Man sleeps in Beulah [a version of Eden], the Savior in mercy takes / Contraction's Limit [Adam], and of the Limit he forms Woman: That / Himself may in process of time be born Man to Redeem.' By creating Eve, Christ prepares for His own incarnation in her descendant, the man Jesus." (Page 120)

Paradise Lost , Book 3
John Milton

"To whom the great Creatour thus reply'd.
O Son, in whom my Soul hath chief delight,
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
All hast thou spok'n as my thoughts are, all
As my Eternal purpose hath decreed:

Man shall not quite be lost, but
sav'd who will,
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
voutsaft; once more I will renew
His lapsed powers,"

Click on picture to enlarge.

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