Ginsberg on Blake – 81 – (Bloom on the Blue Shadow)

 The Spectre of the Imagination – The Blue Shadow

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

AG:  And that blue shadow – (Harold) Bloom has a very nice note on that. That’s one of the best-written notes in Bloom, so I’d like to read it.

[Allen Ginsberg reads Bloom’s note from The Complete Poems and Prose of William Blake]
“The Spectre of Urthona is possibly Blake’s most original invention for he has only much more generalized forms in other poets and mythographers.  The best commentary on him is in (Northrop) Frye, pages 292-299.  Each man’s Spectre of Urthona is that part in him that begins by fearing old age, poverty, sickness, loneliness” (and death – The first Noble Truth of Buddha) –  “and then expands to an omnipresent anxiety, a nameless dread of death-in-life, of time as an oppressive burden daily increasing in weight.  The Spectre of Urthona haunts Romantic poetry – his struggles with Los are the staple of Blake’s Jerusalem, and his presence is strong in”(William) Wordsworth – the two books of “The Prelude” and “The Excursion”.  In (Percy Bysshe) Shelley he is the First Spirit of ““The Two Spirits” –  An Allegory”, the Ruin that shadows Love in “Prometheus Unbound”, the charioteer of “The Triumph of Life”.  Perhaps his most vivid manifestations, ousde of Blake, are in John Clare’s “Secret Love”, (and) (Samuel T) Coleridge’s “Dejection- An Ode” – (That’s a kind of nice little cross-referencing for mood, for the mood of that Spectre of imagination) – “and Wordsworth’s “Resolution and Independence”.  The Spectre is irresolute and dependent, colored dismally blue in a parody of the color of Imagination, shod and armored in iron as befits a self-crippled and time-obsessed will.  He is cripple (like Thor and Vulcan” – (similar residues of Urthona) – ” but his strength within any artist is a subtle and persistent reality.” –   (Because, actually, it’s a realization of the futility of mortal nature, or the transitoriness, (and) emptiness.  And, from another point of view, it’s a realization of the painfulness, emptiness, and transitoriness of meat.  Meat eyeballs).
So.  And then (in The Four ZoasTharmas says, Okay, go on and inhabit the universe – “So shall the spungy marrow issuing from thy splinterd bones/Bonify…”- (“Bonify” is great.  So he’s going to take the imagination and bonify it) – “… & thou shalt have rest when this thy labour is done” – (Well, Tharmas is here asking the Imagination to bonify –  or to bonify the world, or to make it really material, to really preciptitate it into some visible, definite form.  Tharmas wants a body – a bonified body.  A bonified-ey body.  Tharmas wants a bonified bone.  Okay..

Audio for the above can be heard here , beginning at approximately sixty-two minutes in and concluding at approximately seventy minutes in

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