Ginsberg on Blake continues – 97

William Blake – Daughters of Los and Enitharmon in the Looms of Golgonooza  – excerpted from his illustration to Jerusalem – The Emanation of the Giant Albion. (composed 1804-c.1820 – this copy printed 1821) – in the collection of the Yale Center For British Art)

Allen Ginsberg’s 1979 Naropa lectures on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

AG:  (“He builded Golgonooza on the Lake of Udan Adan..“) –  Now, Golgonooza.  What’s Golgonooza?  The pillars of iron above (“Los around her builded pillars of iron”) would be pillars of jealousy and war – prisons.  A forest of error now.

Golgonooza is interpreted, later on, by various other commentators of Blake as the City of Art – the City of Imaginative Art, a new Jerusalem, Jerusalem in human form or art trying to reconstitute Jerusalem in the human world. The Emanation of Albion, the fall of man.  Los  Loss trying to make up for vanished Eden and trying to imagine a possible Utopia through aesthetic imagination, through prophecy.  (A) City of Art or Prophecy, named after the eternal death-hill Golgotha –  The place of the skull where Christ was crucified –  Golgonooza – Golgotha.

Student:  But also combined with the idea of Good News – or the Gospel.
AG:  Um-hmm.  Ah, Golgo-news-a.  Okay.
Student:  Golgotha and Good News.
AG:  I didn’t think of that.  News-a?
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Is that your idea or did you….
Student:  I don’t remember where I got it.
AG:  Golgotha-newsa.
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Newsa-golgotha.
Student:  Good News Golgotha.
AG:  Yeah.  That’s great.  I like that one.

But imagine how funny Blake’s mind is.  In the midst of this fantastic philosophical accuracy, saying now we will build the city of Golgonooza.  And he must have known it was funny.  He must have known the humor of that, because there is some cartoonlike imagination that suddenly pops out of the whole text.

Student:  He played around totally with caricatures of notions …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  … of all traditions that he’s trying to supplant in his own.
AG:  Well, there’s some kind of wisdom in it, because it’s almost like he’s making fun of himself and art with such a infernal naughty weirdo name –  Golgonooza.  But it’s really impressive.

“He builded Golgonooza on the Lake of Udan Adan..” – ( And “Udan Adan”, even if you’ve never heard of it, you know it’s somewhere interesting – “Udan Adan”).

Well, Udan Adan is in the East – it is a lake, so it’s related to Tharmas –   meat, flesh, (the) watery substance of our bodies.  It is also related to formlessness and indefiniteness, according to Damon.  The watery illusion of our world – I think that’s Bloom‘s view – or the formlessness and indefiniteness of what you might say is the material universe.  It has to do with Luvah (or the) emotions.  Yeah.  Watery would have to do more with Tharmas and meat and body.  The Lake of Udan Adan also is the place of the unborn.  So let us say the Bardo. You can say Udan Adan, in Buddhist terms, might be the Bardo –  the place of the unborn, or the place of formlessness where passion, aggression and ignorance are flying around the winds and may soon emerge through the gates.

Let’s see.  Anything else about that?  You could look it up in the (Damon’s) (A) Blake Dictionary  – Udan Adan.  And it’s related to Ulro, I think … Ulro the material world.

Student:  And of course to Benithon

AG:  Yeah. Of course.  We’ve had Entuthon Benithon before. Someone had an idea about that?  Entuthon Benithon.
Student (2):  I thought it was Urizen
AG:  Yeah.
Student (2):  Because it’s often about….
AG:  Intuition – beneath.
Student (2):  Yeah.

AG:  Someone said it  Was that you?  Or.  I don’t know.  Someone …  (Stacey) d’Angelo the other day at the party, about 2 a.m., said, “Entuthon Benithon” is intuition – beneath.  That’s a nice one.

So Udan Adan, Ulro, (and) Entuthon Benithon are all related to the interior of the body – the cosmic man – the interior of the body, the world of the body.

“He builded Golgonooza on the Lake of Udan Adan”

This is on the limits (or) setting the limits of opacity.  This is what Los does when finally you get to the bottom.  And then there’s an emotional reaction that might break up the scene and then he makes a desperate effort then to reconstitute some workable universe as Golgonooza, rising from the imagination.  In the human body where translucence is totally limited and has become opaque.

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-nine-and-three-quarter  minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-four-and-three-quarter minutes in

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