Ginsberg on Blake continues – 70

excerpt from ms of William Blake’s The Four Zoas from the copy in the British Library

Allen Ginsberg  1979 Naropa class on William Blake’s the Four Zoas continues from here

AG (quoting Blake):   “…(From) his wrathful throne burst forth the black hail storm/Am I not a God said Urizen. Who is Equal to me/Do I not stretch the heavens abroad or fold them up like a  garment/He spoke mustering his heavy clouds around him black opake..” – (He’s getting more and more stupid.  He’s really getting… The pride is speaking, the pride of reason.  He gets mad)

“Then thunders rolld around & lightnings darted to & fro/ His visage changd to darkness & his strong right hand came forth/ To cast Ahania to the Earth he siezd her by the hair/And threw her from the steps of ice that froze around his throne..” – (Satanic again, just like in Dante)
Student:  Dante
AG:  The icy center of hell.    Well, now, why did he get so mad at this?  What was the threat?  First, she accused him of being undermined by emotion, or being made stupid by emotion, or being made weak by emotion.
Student:  I …
AG:  Then….
Student:  Wait, wait.  How did she do that?
AG:  Way back when she said the trouble was that Luvah
Student:  Oh, right.
AG:  … took over.  You let Luvah drive your horses.
Student:  Right, right…

AG:  And that began the problem of “It’s all your fault,” and you became a watry shadow.  Your splendor faded, and because your strength and splendor faded, this Urizenic vision — the shadow of some Elohim-like, or God-like, or superior being  came, and then Albion abased himself to that, because you weren’t doing your job right, or he wasn’t cynical enough, or he wasn’t analytic, or critical, enough of the hallucination he was having. and, yeah, from that.. I guess the hallucinations started when emotion took over reason. The hallucination of an absolute divinity was an emotional hallucination, containing the power of fear and self-abasement (and S&M,  sadomasochism, slavery).  From that high shadow, from the shadow of the divine being that Albion had to abase himself before, came down.  Luvah descended from the cloud.  Because of that, Albion got really scared and freaked out and banishing passion for good,  banished Luvah, told Luvah to go away (and) said that all that love was was a power trip, that love can seek for dominion.  “Luvah strove to gain dominion over mighty Albion.”  Albion, “the Fallen Man & put forth Luvah from his presence.”  (saying) – “Alright, you want to take over, then take over. I’m going to go sleep and you can get born in mortal form, or you can have your way and I’m going to give you eyes and ears and nose and make you a cock and put you into a narrow human illusion.  You absorb the Eternal Man into pity and into love-love-love-love-love, so now you’re going to be stuck with it. With eyes and ears and nose of the senses”.  The “human Blood foamd high” (lots of people were born and they’re going to die. Luvah went down into the heart of Albion, which used to be peaceful and introduced jealous….)

tape ends here – and continues

AG:  … Nature was formed replacing eternity.  Material nature replaced eternity….

Student:  Isn’t it more that nature had the appearance of a monsterous serpent at that point?
AG:  Okay.  Yes.
Student:  Because of that whole process.
AG:  Yes.
Student:  Not so much that this was…
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  (It has that natural form)  but it took on that awful aspect..
AG:  Um-hmm.
Student:  That scary L.S.D. aspect.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  And that’s what I think Urizen (represented)
AG:  Well, yeah, I know, but Albion … except that it’s sort of a punishment, the form of that is punishment …
Student:  Uh-huh.
AG:  … Albion making a limited human form for Luvah.
Student:  Right.  Because … so that Luvah….
AG:  And Luvah being subjected to a vision of the human illusion.
Student:  Right.
AG:  The opposite of the God.  The opposite of that divine form, sort of.  Luvah, who wanted to be that big power instead become a worm.
Student:  That’s why I thought in that line on page forty-two – (that’s (page) three-twenty-one… Just beginning there, where it says … where, in her story, Albion says “Go & die the Death of Man.”

AG:  “Go & die the Death of Man.”
Student:  I would put a comma there in my head.
AG:  “for Vala the sweet wanderer.”
Student:  “for Vala the sweet wanderer/I will turn the volutions of your Ears outward.”
AG:  Oh.
Student:  It’s for her sake.  It’s because of her.  It’s of nature.  I’ve got to make a truncated form of yourself, and then you’ll perceive nature as an awful serpent.
AG:  But either way it would be more or less the same.  “(D)ie the Death of Man for Vala the sweet wanderer.”
Student:  Yeah.  You’re right.
AG:  Or, “(D)ie the Death of Man, for Vala the sweet wanderer/I will turn the volutions of your Ears outward.”
Student:  Uh-huh.
AG:  More or less the same.
Student:  I guess it is the same.  It’s just one of those….
AG:  It makes it clearer, though, if you put a comma.  It makes it clearer.  Yeah.  Yeah, it’s for Vala‘s sake he’s doing it.

AG:  That’s a great line –  “And the vast form of Nature like a Serpent play’d before them.”  Has everybody had that experience? At one time or another.
Student:  What experience?
AG:  Of seeing all of nature as a serpent.
Student:  No.
AG:  Or some kind of a … well, if you haven’t had it, actually it’s just showing you more of just what isn’t there.  Something that’s not necessary.  Except that it’s experience so you know what to stay away from.
Student:  But here it’s playing, instead of….
AG:  Um-hmm.  So Ahania‘s thrown down.  Spiritual beauty is overthrown there, certainly.  Intellectual pleasure’s overthrown if a vast form of nature rolls between, like a serpent, then intellectual pleasure is certainly thrown down on the icy steps.

Okay.  I guess it’s ten of.  We’ll finish the Third Night and maybe do the Fourth.  I guess what I’d better do is… I don’t know if should try to read on ahead and get all the way to the end and try to sum it up, but I think that would take a superhuman Urizenic effort.

Student:  Right.

AG:  So I think let’s just go on as far as we can get, and by that time perhaps we’ll have gotten some idea of how to get into the book, if we ever want to complete the reading.

Student:  We’ll get as far as the fourth starry book.

AG:  Is this worth doing?

Student:  Yes.

Peter OrlovskyRoger Easson may come next week.
AG:  Oh, goody!.
Peter Orlovsky:  Do you want to make an announcement?
AG:  Yeah, Roger Easson … Roger Easson who’s a great Blake expert may come next weekend and show slides…..

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighty-nine minutes in and concluding at approximately ninety-seven minutes inThe remaining three minutes of the tape is ambient sound, post-class conversation – a student reports on a worrying night out with Gregory Corso…..I didn’t know him, you know, I just didn’t know what to expect”…”On the way home I was really afraid he was going to O.D”…”he was really ill” – “AG:  Well, he was off his beam last night because he’d run out (of drugs). Generally he’s alright when he’s got a supply, and it’s a legal supply….’  –  These Ginsberg on Blake (The Four Zoas) 1979 Naropa lectures to be continued 

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