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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


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Plate 4

W. P. Witcutt in 1946 wrote a book titled Blake: A Psychological Study. Whatever Witcutt may have lacked in objectivity, he made up for in devotion to his personal insights. As a Jungean psychologist he attempted to fit Blake's thought into the framework of Jung's system with varying degrees of success

In trying to explain how Blake arrived at the images which peopled his poetry, Witcutt identified Blake as an intuitive introvert: intuitive as the dominant function in Blake's psyche, and introvert as the orientation to which he turned for meaning. On Page 23 we read:

"The introvert, on the contrary, is turned inward towards the inner world of his own soul. His thoughts are rationalizations of the symbols of the unconscious, not spun from the common experiences of others or from the outside world; his feelings and sensations (if either of these is his dominant function) spring from the same source; and if he is intuitive, he sees the archetypes of the unconscious clearly and vividly in his mind's eye. To the intuitive introvert the world of the imagination is far more vivid than the world of outer reality.
In an illuminating example, Blake tells how introverted intuition works:

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"I assert for My self that I do
not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance &
not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it
will be Questiond When the Sun rises  do  you  not  see  a  round 
Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable
company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord
God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any
more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look
thro it & not with it."  

Contrasting Blake's approach of presenting his work to that of one with dominate thinking function, Witcutt on Page 82 wrote:

"The man of dominant thought would write out these psychological events in his own abstract terminology; but to the intuitive introvert such as Blake or Shelly they appear as the conflicts of awesome figures. The commentators on Blake have usually been men of dominant thought; and from them one gains the impression that Blake first thought out these matters as they would have done, in abstract terminology of 'law' or 'desire' and so forth; and then (because he was writing in poetry) turned the abstractions into symbolic poetic figures. That is not in the least how one of Blake's temperament works. The figures first of all appeared in his imaginative vision just like a vivid dream, and enacted their dreamlike conflicts, made their speeches. It was afterwards that he puzzled, wondering, over what could be the meaning of their symbolic actions; and gave them names. His first instinct was to draw what he had seen; thus it is that Blake's poetry is really a commentary on his engravings."

The focus of Witcutt's book was on the internal dynamics of the psyche and on what the images Blake created told him, and tell us about integrating one's divided factions. On Page 124 Witcutt identified Blake's characters with dream-symbols:

"The intuitive introvert is the symbolist par excellence. He lives in a dream-world where symbols have in waking life as much vitality and meaning as to ordinary men in dreams. Like the madman he lives in a continual waking dream, but unlike the madman he knows the dream-symbols for the product of the imagination and can use them for the delight of others. To him the symbols appear as unrelated to anything else; they live their own lives as unearthly semi-divine figures seen in the minds eye...It is something never seen on earth."

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560)
"If the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his
Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his
Contemplative Thought if he could Enter into Noahs Rainbow or
into his bosom or could make a Friend & Companion of one of these
Images of wonder which always intreats him to leave mortal things
as he must know then would he arise from his Grave then would he
meet the Lord in the Air & then he would be happy   General
Knowledge is Remote Knowledge it is in Particulars that Wisdom
consists & Happiness too.

Milton, Plate 2, (E 96)  
"Three Classes are Created by the Hammer of Los, & Woven 
PLATE 3,                                                 
By Enitharmons Looms when Albion was slain upon his Mountains
And in his Tent, thro envy of Living Form, even of the Divine Vision
And of the sports of Wisdom in the Human Imagination
Which is the Divine Body of the Lord Jesus, blessed for ever.
Mark well my words. they are of your eternal salvation:      

Urizen lay in darkness & solitude, in chains of the mind lock'd up
Los siezd his Hammer & Tongs; he labourd at his resolute Anvil
Among indefinite Druid rocks & snows of doubt & reasoning.
Refusing all Definite Form, the Abstract Horror roofd. stony hard.
And a first Age passed over & a State of dismal woe:" 

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