[Milton-L] Passing this along... -Carl

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Dec 28 13:00:16 EST 2013

Thanks for sharing, Carl. It's a decent enough article with a thoroughly
annoying headline. As the article observes, Blake's illustrations are, if
anything, tame compared to Milton's descriptions. Blake's biggest change is
not to the character of Sin, but to the character of Death, who in Milton
is a formless mass but who in Blake is -- quite deliberately -- given
definite form.

. . . The other shape,
If shape it might be call'd that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joynt, or limb,
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either; black it stood as Night, [ 670 ]
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful Dart; what seem'd his head
The likeness of a Kingly Crown had on.

Blake gives his version of Death a crown and a Dart, but also form. I think
that he means to define the embodiment of Death for his readers, which in
the Thomas set (second image on the webpage) is definitely Urizenic, so
associated with Britain's church/state complex, while in the Butts set
(first image on the webpage) is beardless. The beardless version of Death
reminds me of Orc, so may be associated with the forces of revolution.
Death appears three or four times in Blake's illustrations but is only
beardless in this one relatively early image.

Jim R

On Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM, JCarl Bellinger <dionhalic at gmail.com>wrote:

> http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/william-blakes-many-hallucinatory-illustrations-of-john-miltons-paradise-lost.html
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Dr. James Rovira
Associate Professor of English
Tiffin University
Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
Continuum 2010
Text, Identity, Subjectivity
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