Category Archives: Proverbs of Hell (9/18)

Proverbs of Energy and Imagination

The “Proverbs from Hell” are an odd mixture are proverbs that seem incredibly similar to Proverbs found in the Hebrew Bible it is meant to counter and proverbs that obviously occupy the position of counter to the Proverbs of the Hebrew Bible. One of my personal favorites of Blake’s proverbs is “What is now proved […] Continue reading

Posted in Aristotle, Creation, Future, Imagination, perfection, Plato, Proverbs of Hell, Proverbs of Hell (9/18), The Ideal Republic | Comments Off on Proverbs of Energy and Imagination

“Truth can never be told so as to be understood”

I think the most fascinating line in Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” is the very last one. He writes, “Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not to be believ’d” (73). If we read the rest of “Proverbs of Hell” with this line in mind, we can begin unpacking Blake’s complicated rhetoric. […] Continue reading

Posted in Book of Proverbs, doubt, Poetic Genius, Proverbs of Hell, Proverbs of Hell (9/18), Swedenborg, truth | Comments Off on “Truth can never be told so as to be understood”

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 most sublime act is to set another before you.”

I chose this proverb because it is very incongruous with the Proverbs of Hell. If, as a footnote in our Norton Critical Edition explicates, the proverbs are “nuggets of infernal wisdom [that] counter the prudent ‘heavenly’ Proverbs of the Hebrew Bible,” then why would Blake include a proverb that sounds so like a biblical one? […] Continue reading

Posted in christianity, Energy, Proverbs of Hell (9/18), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the sublime | Comments Off on “The most sublime act is to set another before you.”

Questioning Absolutes

We read much of Blake’s work as an attack on empiricism.  Beginning with his critique of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ representation of genius as following a certain form, Blake continually critiques acceptance of absolutes.  Through this Blake uncovers the contraries constructing the idea of absolute fact, implying that empirical “proven” data is not more valuable than […] Continue reading

Posted in absolutes, church dominance, individual interpretation, Poetic Genius, Proverbs of Hell, Proverbs of Hell (9/18), religious skepticism, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell | Comments Off on Questioning Absolutes

Infernal Wisdom & Marilyn Manson

For next Wednesday (2/14), write a post that explicates ONE of the “Proverbs of Hell.”  Please take the time to unpack the meanings of the images, symbols, themes, and paradoxes contained in these explosive proverbs or aphorisms.  What do the infernal wisdom of these proverbs imply about the genre of “The Marriage of Heaven and […] Continue reading

Posted in aphorism, Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Proverbs of Hell, Proverbs of Hell (9/18) | Comments Off on Infernal Wisdom & Marilyn Manson