Ginsberg on Blake continues – 96

William Blake –  excerpted from the ms of Vala, or The Four Zoas (composed c.1796-1807) from the copy in the British Library

Allen Ginsberg’s 1989 Naropa lecture on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

AG:  (continuing with The Fifth Night) – Okay. Then what happens?  Then there’s a very strange passage that goes on which repeats something that (has already) happened.  It’s suggested here and will be carried on on the next page, but the basic idea is given (or) hinted here – “ … he siezd the wonder in his hands & went/ Shuddring & weeping thro the Gloom & down into the…”

Well, he stole the kid actually.  Gave birth (or) midwifed it but then he’s doing something funny to this revolution.

Student:  Yeah, like he took it out in his hands.  That’s what I thought it meant.  Like he’s….

AG:  But now – ” Enitharmon nursd her fiery child in the dark deeps/ Sitting in darkness. over her Los mournd in anguish fierce/ Coverd with gloom..” – (Why?) -“… the fiery boy grew fed by the milk/ Of Enitharmon..” – (What does Los do?)

” … Los around her builded pillars of iron..”  – (Well, prisons – “pillars of iron”.  The prisons for the revolutionaries.  Putting, let us say, (the) Marquis de Sade in jail would be one way of doing it, or putting Stokely Carmichael or Eldridge Cleaver in jail) – ” …Los around her builded pillars of iron” – (And iron would be Urthona pillars – pillars of Urthona material.  Iron, relating to Urthona.  Pillars of brass – that would be the body – Tharmas -pillars of silver – relating to Luvah, pillars of emotion, perhaps, pillars of gold – that would be Urizen‘s pillars, so pillars of rationality.  The imagination around spiritual beauty giving birth to revolution built pillars of imaginative fear, meat, rage and science, let us say.  (It) could be interpreted it that way). “.. Los around her builded pillars of iron/. And brass & silver & gold    fourfold in dark prophetic fear..” – (Why?)

And now another great complicated line comes up.  A set of lines comes up introducing a new set of images in Blake that he’ll be carrying on for the rest of his life.  So this is as important as the previous things we had about the limits of contraction and opacity.

The next lines, on (Blake’s) page sixty or (page) three-three-three – “He builded…”  “For…””.. in dark prophetic fear/For now he feard Eternal Death & uttermost Extinction..”  – (Yeah.  In the midst of this solidification, opacity, and limitation, the demons of the deep are howling for an emotional rebellion.  A rebellion is born in flames which is just enraged – (it) might kill its parents, even.  Los fears “Eternal Death & uttermost Extinction.”  He fears something worse than this limit – that this inchoate fiery rebellion will even destroy the limits, maybe.  (Perhaps it) will destroy the order of limits, and so the imagination makes a leap and starts rebuilding the universe according to its own lights.

So the next line –   ‘He builded Golgonooza..” – (Who’s Golgonooza?  What’s Golgonooza?  –  Where?)   “… on the Lake of Udan Adan” – (And where is that? –  at or upon “the Limit of Translucence” -or the limit of Satan.  In other words, where translucent is to become totally opaque, has turned into total meat.  Translucence is turned into a dark, horrific, meat cunt) -“Upon the Limit of Translucence then he builded (Luban)..” – (the labia.  “he builded Luban”)

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here  beginning at approximately forty-five-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-nine-and-three-quarter minutes in

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