Author Archives: mclaughtj

Mutual Annihilation or Patriarchal Possessiveness?

In answering the question of what precisely happens to Ololon, how such fits in, relates, to the rest of Milton: A Poem, I feel, firstly, a few prefatory remarks—a naming of parts or clarifying of terms—is required. I take “self-annihilation,” as it manifests, in the scope of Blake’s poem at face value, that is, meaning […] Continue reading

Posted in Blake, Milton, nothing, Ololon, Self-annihilation, William Blake's reception | Comments Off on Mutual Annihilation or Patriarchal Possessiveness?

La Petite Mort: Why the Orgasmic Grave?

Blake’s Song of Los ends which a curious, antithetical image of the grave, cursorily glossed by Johnson and Grant as “a regenerative orgasm” which transforms it into a “fruitful womb” (107): The Grave shrieks with delight, & shakes Her hollow womb, & clasps the solid stem; Her bosom swells with wild desire: And milk & […] Continue reading

Posted in Mikhail Bakhtin, Poetry and Designs (Norton critical editions), Rabelais and His World, Song of Los, Urizen's Tears (10/23), William Blake | Comments Off on La Petite Mort: Why the Orgasmic Grave?

Blake & Paine

For Edmund Burke, the French Revolution represented an inversion and usurpation of natural order (at the very least a dismantling of the benign illusions thereof), a loss of the restraints and checks on mankind’s more bestial drives. However, for Blake, it was genuinely apocalyptic—in the sense it offered revelation, the casting off of fetters and […] Continue reading

Posted in Edmund Burke, Empire vs. Revolution (10/2), French Revolution, Thomas Paine, William Blake | Comments Off on Blake & Paine

Crooked Paths; or, the Longest Way Round Being the Shortest Home

The aphorisms of “Proverbs of Hell” operate on an antimonian rhetoric—indeed, their ideas often diametrical oppose to traditional conception. Such is there purpose: they are defibrillators for the soul, some shock, to stab into the stubborn, sluggish self and usurp pat formulations. Their infernal wisdom is one couched in dialectics. The proverb: “Improvement makes strait […] Continue reading

Posted in aphorism, Genius, Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Proverbs of Hell, Proverbs of Hell (9/18) | Comments Off on Crooked Paths; or, the Longest Way Round Being the Shortest Home

The Clod & the Pebble

“The Clod & the Pebble” lacks an obvious contrary in the Songs of Innocence, itself containing its own internal dissonance and not requiring a counterpoint. The tension is that between the malleable and the rigid, self-abnegation and assertion of the will, acquiescence and defiance.  The clod is flexible and yielding and thereby subsumed into a greater […] Continue reading

Posted in dialectic, Love, Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Clod and the Pebble, William Blake's reception | Comments Off on The Clod & the Pebble

The Child is the father of the Man

“the a posteriori becomes the a priori concretely and not merely in the general”  –Theodor Adorno, from “The Essay as Form” This tale, like any good Bildungsroman, begins with a tutelary image—halcyon and filled with heavy promise. Adulthood sacrifices security for its affinity with open intellectual experience, but childhood need not make such trade-offs. In childhood, […] Continue reading

Posted in de- & re-mystification, Innocence, Eden, and Childhood (1/27), Memory, Self-consciousness, Songs of Innocence | Comments Off on The Child is the father of the Man