Allen Ginsberg on Blake’s Visions of the Daughters of Albion continued
AG: And then, in the opening page, on page one hundred and twenty-five of the illuminated book, looking out through the skull, you have Bromion, the rapist, with his victims tied back-to-back with each other, or stuck back-to-back, and you have Theotormon crouching above them, ashamed, not knowing what to do, not knowing how to deal with the situation, hiding his eyes, not willing to accept her, not willing to rescue her, not willing to marry her if she’s lost her cherry (she’s no longer a virgin, he can’t work with it). So, in a way, it’s that old moral, sexual situation.
But you could also interpret it in political terms, that Theotormon there is the liberal who was sympathetic to the energy of revolution, but then when he sees all the violence, he gets scared. When he sees all the violence of experience he gets scared and he gets deadlocked in himself, and stumped and inert, and withdraws into a shell, not knowing how to react. So, in political terms, this is the fury and rape of revolution, (that is, the desire has risen, it’s answered by rape, and the observer and helper-out, or political lover of the revolution, the liberal, the sympathetic one, the one who desires, actually – Theotormon – is tormented in that situation, he can’t move).
So you can take it on both levels. But in this case, naked Bromion, Oothoon and Theotormon seem locked or paralyzed in the postures, revealed by their speeches in the poems.
And, in the title page itself, you’ll find in Visions of the Daughters of Albion, there’s a girl running along a trough in the waves. Do you see that? Do you have that? Maybe we’ll start with the text and then go back to the picture.
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here beginning at approximately sixty-seven-and-a -half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-nine-and-three-quarter minutes in