Ginsberg on Blake (The Four Zoas -12)

Allen Ginsberg’s lecture on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

AG:  In this picture here, I don’t know if you can see it, it’s Los and Enitharmon putting down and wandering away from their momma Enion.  Drawing away her Spectrous Power.  Can you see?  Is it too faint?

Student:  Those pictures are (perhaps not completely original) in the sense that they were very sexy, apparently…originally.

AG:  Um-hmm.  Somebody’s erased some of the images.

Student:  Yeah, the guy who inherited the manuscript erased all the dirty pictures.  Isn’t that awful?  He was supposed to have burned a lot of Blake’s sketches.

AG:  Now, what’s the story on that?  Someone told me….

Peter Orlovsky:  What’s his name?

Student:  Tatham.  I don’t remember the first name.  Frank, I think.

AG:  Frederick?

Student:  Frederick, yeah.  And he was a very sort of prissy religious guy.

AG:  Now it is said that Blake’s later prophetic books beyond Jerusalem were burned.  Is that true?

Student:  Yeah, that’s what….

AG:  Who’s been able to verify that?

Student:  Well, they can’t verify it, no, but..

AG:  There is a rumor that Blake went beyond himself and (he) got burned, finally!  And when he died his later work was burned.

AG; So.  Now, what were you saying?

Student:  No.

AG:  Urizen.  I’ve never known whether it’s “Yur-is-un” or “Yur-reason”…

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  … but I say “Yur-reason” here to keep the plot going so the people will follow the symbolism.  There must be a British pronunciation.  I wonder what a Cockney pronunciation would be?

Student:  (I remember being) told about how one of the philosophers, I think (Joseph) Priestly, used to interject all his conversations with Blake and others …

AG:  Uh-huh.

Student:  … with “Y’ur reason?”  – you know, he made people give him a reason for whatever it was they said.

AG:  Ah.

Student:  And that originally he picked up on that.

AG:  Well, does that come up in  the “Island in The Moon” at all?

Student:  No, Urizen isn’t in there … well, yes, the word “Urizen”.  “Urizen” does.  The spelling.  Your reason.

AG:  Yeah.

Student:  One of the characters asked that.  And then….

AG:  One of the characters asks it?

Student:  Yeah.  Keeps on saying, Your reason?  Your reason?  Give me your reason?

AG:  Now, let’s see.  Where are we?  –  Well, we’re at ten of six practically, and we’re on to page twelve of Book One and I’d like to continue with Book One till we finish it pretty much line-by-line and then we’ll begin winging our way through the rest.   Is this satisfactory?

Student:  Yes.

AG:  See,  we started in a great deal of confusion and it was difficult to understand anything, and now, slowly, I think it’s beginning to come together somewhat, or is it?

Student:  Yeah.  It is.

AG:  Yeah, okay.  So from now on it might be more coherent.  But it requires that chaos to begin with to get into it.

Student:  Allen?  Can I announce something?

AG:  Yes.

Class concludes with  the announcement of a “poetry party”  to support the publication of the Naropa poetry magazine, Bombay Gin.     Tape then ends here.

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighty-nine-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at the end of the tape

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