Blake – (More General Comments and Preliminaries)

Our transcriptions of Allen’s 1979 William Blake classes continue. Today, at the opening of his January 15th class? (February 1st class), more general comments and preliminaries. Allen sketches a brief plan of some of the ground he hopes to cover and returns (once again) to the availability of books. The class proper will begin tomorrow.

AG: :  Yeah.  So what today we’ll do is talk about some of (William) Blake‘s annotations to his reading.  So we (can) get an idea of how Blake’s mind works, I’ll read a couple of the annotations to Lavater and Swedenborg.  Not very much, ten minutes worth. Then (we’ll) check out the last line(s) of There is No Natural Religion and then go to his most obscure and first and crudish prophetic book, Tiriel, which hardly anybody’s ever read, to check that out and see what he had to say about his first prophecy, and then go on to Songs of Innocence.  So what I’ve decided to do, actually, was pretty much follow the chronological scheme that I set out and I think I’ll just do that as the term goes on till we get to The Four Zoas. So by the time we get there we’ll be prepared.  Though we may never get there at this rate.  But actually I think it’ll only take a week or so to get to The Four Zoas, then we’ll stay there.  Is this alright, as far as sound?

Student: Yeah.  That’s fine.  It should … could somebody say something?
AG: Phil (sic) … oh, could you tell the class about the books?
Student (Phil): Yes.  I checked at Brillig Works (bookstore in Boulder) and apparently the distributor does not have any Blake at all, so there are no books at Brillig Works, except for the ones that they have there regularly.  They don’t carry textbooks anyway..
AG: Um-hmm.
Student (Phil): ..as a general rule, but they made special effort to get those books available.
AG: Does anybody have any idea how long it would take to get any?
Student: Not really.  What do you mean?
AG:  I mean to ship from the publisher.
Student: Well, a month or so.
AG:  Oh, no.  By the phone we can get them in a week.
Student: If you can do that.
AG: Huh?
Student: That’s not what I understand from the booksellers.
AG: Does anybody know anything else?
Student (2): (Possibly) Back Country Books (another bookstore in Boulder) (might have it), too?
Student (3): Yeah.  They were going to order more copies.
AG: It’ll take a month?
Student (3): They said it would take probably a month, or maybe more.
Student (2): They said they weren’t….
Student:  (.. able to be timely in sending out copies to)  Naropa Institute?

AG: Well, how many still need the main book?  Well, that’s enough for a good-sized order.  What I would suggest is check the bookstore to find out if anyone will actually do it, and if not (we can) just order it ourselves from the publisher –  get on the phone and get the books. It’s not a big problem, I don’t think.  There must be some (way).  Do you want to try doing it that way?
Student: Calling the publisher?
AG: Well, call the distributor and find out where he gets them. And call the publisher, sure.  I mean, they exist in the United States in a warehouse.  It’s just business. It’s like you want to order ketchup or something.  They don’t have it around, you call up and find out.  I think.. In other words, we can’t wait a month, I guess, so we’ll have to take heroic measures. So we can get on the phone at Naropa and find out if we can get them air-mailed, or shipped by Greyhound, something like that.  It’ll take a day.  If they’ll do it.  I think so.

So, page five-seventy-four, for those who have the book..

Peter Orlovsky:  I would like to make a suggestion.

AG: Yes.

Peter Orlovsky:  For those who don’t have a book, you might ask them to double up so they can work together.

AG: Yeah, I guess, just pull together. If somebody has the Erdman edition, just move over and lean together.  That’d be a good idea.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at the beginning of the tape and concluding approximately four-and-a-half minutes in]

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