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A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake Revised Edition
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Yet S. Foster Damon's A BLAKE DICTIONARY offers compelling testament that there was methodology in Blake's madness. In addition to providing a detailed enunciation of virtually every character in Blake's poetry, Damon further offers an exposition of the major themes and symbols which Blake repeatedly returned to in his longer prophetic works. Along with both Northrop Frye's FEARFUL SYMMETRY and David Erdman's PROPHET AGAINST EMPIRE, Damon's meticulously cross-referenced dictionary is an essential reference work for anyone who dares delve into Blake's complex mythology.
Here is a book that is not only Not an abomination but is actually worth buying. It was first published back in the happy sapphire days of 1965, when even an academic could still read a poet to find out what he or she had to say; and could write about a poet without quoting from a single unreadable French intellectual.
I have learnt more from William Blake than from anyone else writing English; but his longer poems are notoriously difficult, and at first they can appear overwhelmingly confusing. One of the major obstacles is the quantity of strange and uncouth names, of imaginary people and places, of home-made concepts, that speckle every page.
Eventually you'll find out that they mattered less than you thought, all those names. But having this book at hand to allay name-anxiety during the early stages will help you relax and just read. Blake never presents theories, or things that may or may not be true: only what he himself has Seen. What he saw was so uncommon he had to create his own way of expressing it. When you can swim in the ocean of Blake's thought - when you can make out what he's talking about - this Dictionary will have served its purpose.
I don't always agree with S. Foster Damon's interpretations. Freud and Jung should not be used to interpret Blake. He was well aware of what we call the Subconscious; but what he calls Eternity is Not, repeat Not, Jung's Collective Unconscious. Still, no two people will read Blake in exactly the same way. If you plan to explore Blake (and you should) this is the one essential guide.
It provides a list of terms, names, places, etc., their symbolism and logical background for their derivation, and so forth. Dictionary structure makes it ideal for students plumbing the depths of Blake's world.
MATTER is a delusion,
a thin coating of unreality,
which is mistaken for reality
by those whose vision is single only,
like Newton's. It is the veil of Vala.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ordered A Blake Dictionary...Came right on time in good condition....very happy with it. Everything you would need to know is in this book at least as far as William Blake goes,... Read morePublished on October 22, 2013 by TJ
This is a thoroughly researched volume that's sure to please anyone looking for an accessible way to better understand Blake's genius.Published on October 7, 2013 by Jeffrey