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The torn book

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Title:
The torn book fixity, fluidity, disorder and energy in William Blake's marginalia
Creator:
Snart, Jason Allen, 1973-
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
xvi, 227 leaves : ; 29 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Aphorisms ( jstor )
Inks ( jstor )
Inspiration ( jstor )
Narratives ( jstor )
Newtonianism ( jstor )
Pencils ( jstor )
Poetics ( jstor )
Poetry ( jstor )
Textuality ( jstor )
Writing ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- English -- UF ( lcsh )
English thesis, Ph. D ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2002.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 217-226).
General Note:
Printout.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jason Allen Snart.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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028837035 ( ALEPH )
50444640 ( OCLC )

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THE TORN BOOK:
FIXITY, FLUIDITY, DISORDER AND ENERGY
IN WILLIAM BLAKE'S MARGINALIA


By

JASON ALLEN SNART


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2002














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Marriage of Heaven and Hell Plate 10 Copy F
(Bindman 116)














PREFACE

When composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline,
and the most glorious poetry that has ever been communicated to the world
is probably a feeble shadow of the original conception of the poet.
Shelley, Defence of Poetry (798)

If Shelley is being entirely serious, what status do we afford the printed page? Is

it, and the marks upon it, some feeble shadow which is all we have left to represent what

was once some monument of inspiration? Is it possible that, to quote Shelley's example,

"Milton conceived the Paradise Lost as a whole before he executed it in portions" (799)?

In The Torn Book, I want to consider how we navigate an alternate possibility: that the

page (or by extension the book, the engraved plate, the painted canvas) is not secondary

to an original conception, it does not receive parts of an already completed whole, but is

itself integral to imaginative invention as a process. Is the act of writing merely fixing

into permanence, as best one can, what inspiration has already provided, or does the act of

writing in fact condition what one can imagine next? And by extension, does the

materiality of language then not influence meaning as we read towards it, or indeed does

materiality not guide the very reading strategies we bring to bear on any given work?

Perhaps meaning is not translated to materiality, but is a result of materiality. And might

art's materiality mean?








To Begin: A Digression

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield complains that he could never do

very well in Oral Expression, one of his prep school classes, in which students were

required to deliver speeches in class while other students prepared to shout "Digression!"

at any moment when the speaker did not "stick to the point." "'That digression business

got on my nerves'," he tells Mr. Antolini, his old English teacher. "The trouble with me

is, I like it when somebody digresses. It's more interesting and all" (183).

Since I like digressions too, and as such have engaged in one early on, it is

probably appropriate to at least digress about digressions. I have often felt that my

academic work has been a series of digressions: a process of continually explaining what

I have just said, which itself was an explanation of what I had said before that, and so on.

The work of reading and writing has never for me produced a finality, but on the contrary,

has simply presented me with more that is unfinished. One begins to wonder, "at what

point was I actually saying something central and not digressing?" Not to mention the

nagging question: "when will I be finished?" If I had been a student in Holden's Oral

Expression class, I would have be stumped to "stick to the point," in that the point-some

originary, imaginary profundity-has long since disappeared. I can hardly deny that much

of my thinking in critical and scholarly terms (and, more than likely, all other terms) has

been in the form of digression. So I am not going to try and explain away digression, but

rather assert it as a valid form of doing work and generating ideas. Ross Chambers, in

Loiterature (his title suggests a kind of "literature" that "loiters"), writes of a

"deliberately digressive criticism" (15) as one that seeks to create "conditions under









which if is possible to step out of line" (Foreword). Roland Barthes, in S/Z, writes that

"the work of commentary ... consists precisely in manhandling the text, interrupting it"

(15). To extend Barthes' idea of an interruptive commentary, mine has been a

methodology which remains open not just to interrupting texts, but to interrupting itself,

moving towards alternate possibilities instead of trying to exhaust one in order to move

on to another.

As Chambers does, for example, what I would like to challenge is the notion of

digression as some veering from the "correct" path: getting away from "the point." As

Chambers asserts is the case for literature which digresses, I believe critical work can also

carry "an implied social criticism" (9; my italics). Too often, writes Chambers, "criticism

depends, like social order itself, on ... discriminating and hierarchizing, determining

what is central and what is peripheral" (9). My project looks in part to Blake's marginalia

for insight into "central" issues his work forces generally. My approach to the subject

matter at hand embraces digression as a mode of moving between centres and peripheries.

To digress is to challenge dogma, closure, received wisdom, with some new way

of looking at or thinking about something. This new "thing"-this process for

arriving-challenges the usual, and it must often take the form of new expression. It must

put words together in new ways. It must define words, redefine them, and redefine those

definitions, often by interrupting itself. Digression is an open process for it seeks to make

a new link; sticking to the point is to close argument at some end. Digression allows for

what Chambers calls the "permeability of contexts" (12). Sticking to the point too

myopically denies the possibility for self-reflexivity, for reconsideration, for interruption,









for multiple and perhaps interfering (though perhaps not mutually destructive)

perspectives.

For me, writing on Blake, it is almost impossible to avoid digression. Since

Blake's work itself rarely follows a strictly linear process which moves through and to a

single point, any discussion of Blake must open itself up to moments of reconsideration

and self-reflection. Often I find that in writing towards a particular argument, I am forced

to re-evaluate not just the argument itself, but my argumentative methodology altogether.

It is difficult to "prove" things about Blake's work in a traditional, rhetorical claim-and-

support fashion. As many times as one can find support for a given claim, one can likely

find as many instances which confound that claim. It is partly my purpose here to show

the ways in which Blake's art so often functions to force these kinds of tensions, aporias,

or reconsiderations: it simply demands a different kind of reading and argumentative

strategy. Thus I have organized much of the present work into sections that often arrive

at "conclusions" they had not entirely introduced, or digress into areas I had not foreseen

from the outset. Rather than going back and always deleting my "progress" through any

particular section, in order that just the conclusions remain, I have tried to retain that

sense of progress and process. Again, the point is to provide a sense of how often Blake's

art works to confound traditional modes of formulating argument based on observing

details and developing models and rules into which those details fit: an "ultimate

structure" or "great final ensemble," as Barthes might call it (S/Z 12). Nonetheless, I have

structured things fairly rigorously at points and have made some general observations,

and outright claims, regarding trends I see in some of Blake's work.









Ultimately however, any criticism which works towards completely systematizing

an argument about Blake will serve only its own categorical, limited ends. When

digression is not possible, criticism will cease to be of value. Foucault writes that

"commentary... can never be completed" (The Order of Things 41). Thus I offer the

warning in advance that much of the work here explores Blake in ways that sometimes

need explaining and digressing, and that do not pretend to exhaust any one "topic." Nor

do they always pretend to be entirely commensurate with some of the methodologies

more often at work in Blake scholarship. Chambers writes, "Digression is a discursive

'slide' ... along a line of continuity that links one context and its other [or others]" (12).

So digression works in an important way: it forces my own project to remain open to new

contexts, and in so doing helps me to resist making overly systematized arguments

(which seems appropriate as I explore Blake's own anti-system project), even where

strong currents of much Blake scholarship would suggest I do so.

If there is some originary point from which the rest of this digresses, it could be

something like: Blake's poetry is anti-system and anti-systemic. However, as Blake's

work itself has taught me, without exploring the particularities of that statement, and then

the particularities of further statements, and then the particularities of those statements,

any point remains an abstract, universalizing system itself which cannot manage critical

and creative thinking and so denies the possibility for their existence. As Barthes admits,

"I name, I unname, I rename" (S/Z 11).

Having digressed this far, however, and before I lay out the general argument at

stake, I must stress that there is a linearity to my overall project, despite the often non-









linear nature of the subject matter. Donald Ault asks that readers experience his

Visionary Physics "sequentially, from beginning to end" (xiii). The reason is that

excerpted moments in his otherwise sequential argument will not make sense (or will

make misleading sense) if those moments are removed from the larger context, which

develops Blake's response to Newton in terms of the abstract models of their conflicting

cosmologies.

The present project is undeniably linear in the sense that the focus in earlier

chapters helps to explain and justify the critical gestures that I choose to make (and that I

choose not to make) in later chapters. That is, the lacunae of later chapters may seem less

significant (or at least less like mistakes) in light of earlier chapters.

But I digress.

Invention and Discovery

The usual argument goes that something like fire, for example, is not invented so

much as it is discovered. But if there is invention in the discovery of fire, it surely comes

as somebody, somewhere (or perhaps many people in many places) invents a new

relationship between himself or herself and something in his or her world. So even if fire

is discovered, more than we would say it is invented, certainly there exists some element

of invention in the process: the invention of a relationship.

In the scientific revolution of the 17" century, we get some sense of a community

of thinkers trying to come to grips with the otherwise disorderly universe in which they

lived. Robert Markley, echoing Frank Manuel, writes of Newton's "compulsion to

establish order in his undertakings" (Fallen Languages 131). Newtonian mechanics









looked to find order, some predictable relation between cause and effect, which could

explain the micro- and macrocosmic phenomenal worlds. This was to be a system which

described the order believed to inhere in observed phenomena, and which could thus

predict those same phenomena into futurity since it revealed some fundamental level of

relationships. Concomitantly, language needed to be trusted as a medium to express

discovery, but one that did not alter or condition it in any way. (Foucault traces this myth

of language to language's "original form, when it was given to men by God himself...

language was an absolutely certain and transparent sign for things" (The Order of Things

36).)

Mine is not an archaeological project to discover something hidden, something

which exists in entirety a priori of my finding it. For this project is as much invention as

discovery. In fact, "the point" of certain kinds of critical work is, I think, to undermine

the notion of a complete argument that can be expressed entirely independently of the act

of its being made; independent, that is, from the process of its being put it into words.

(This is perhaps also commentary's implied social critique, and its alternate

possibility-that textuality makes meaning, it does not just provide access to it-is in fact

what I have learned from Blake's work itself.) Richard Howard, introducing Barthes,

writes that "all telling modifies what is being said" such that "the message is a parameter

of its performance" (S/Z xi).

For me, the additional important thing that the distinction between discovery and

invention does is to foreground what Tilotamma Rajan called the "supplement of

reading": the necessary addition that is our reading of any text, space, event, or history,









and thus by extension the role of materiality, of the graphicality of words on the page, for

example, in making meaning (Rajan Supplement of Reading).

If we assume that things in texts are there, a priori complete, to be discovered,

then the supplement of reading is not that important, for there is nothing to differentiate

one reader from another; reading does not really add anything to the text, since the text

does not need to be supplemented. Reading to "discover" presumes to reveal that which

already exists, whole and unified. Italo Calvino, glossing Roland Barthes, reminds that

for literature in particular, "language is never transparent, and is never merely an

instrument to convey a 'meaning' or a 'fact' or a 'thought' or a 'truth'" (The Uses of

Literature 29). Barthes himself writes that "objectivity ... [is] an imaginary system like

the rest" (S/Z 10). I return to the issue of transparency in Chapter 2; Blake seems

particularly insightful in his criticism of Newtonian science by identifying in it the

impulse to deny the role of language in conditioning discovery, not just expressing it.

It is important here to admit the present work to that category of writing, be it

"literature" or not, that treats reading as a process partly of invention; thus its language is

implicated in what it purports to find. Otherwise, the category of "writer" or "reader"

becomes more nominal than any consideration of the diversity of each and every reader,

or of the process of reading. No less, if reading only discovers, one must assume as a

correlate that what is to be discovered, what is hidden in texts, is a static "thing," like a

treasure chest, to which all persistent readers will eventually arrive, finding, presumably,

the same treasure. To assume, however, that readers invent, that they supplement the

text, is, I hope, to reinvigorate the possibility that not all readers are the same, and that









what they find is not always, or maybe never, the same thing that other readers find. Or,

should I say, what one reader invents is not necessarily going to agree with what any other

reader invents. Relationships to texts remain fluid, opening up the potential for inventing

relationships between texts, between texts and things or texts and ideas or texts as ideas,

that are always various and variable. Part of the crises of representation and epistemology

that Blake confronted involved how to manage being in a world that did not allow for

such openness and potential difference.

The Argument in Brief

I make the argument that Blake's marginalia are part of his composite art (just as

they are part of his anti-Newtonian poetics) in that annotation represents the un-fixing of

the fixed, authorial perspective by another hand, voice, or eye (all of which go to form a

particular perspective independent of the one, or ones, already represented on the page);

the energy of the marginalia can function to open up play, disorder and difference just as

Blake's text and illustration often work to direct the reader away from reading simple one-

to-one relationships between text and illustration. The act of annotation represents a

serious challenge to the implied authority of the finished page, and specifically reminds of

the role that materiality plays as we build meaning. To mark by remarking the page is to

reassert textuality.

Tearing the book, the metaphor of my title, is to destabilize claims towards

unequivocality, or un-equi-vocality, or not equal voices, which certain kinds of argument

make upon the page (especially argument that takes its own textuality as transparent).









The "torn book" is the page revealed as a site for contestation, a site from which the

voices silenced by singular authorship (and thereby, authority) can reemerge.

The purpose in suggesting connections between otherwise disparate thinkers, as I

do in my final chapter, is to develop a kind of energy within the current project in order

that it never be entirely closed; by suggesting how "disorder" operates in various

contexts, I hope to set the conditions under which my own work can remain itself always

potentially energizing and less prone to the closure of any final, comprehensive

statements.

Blake's work did, in fact, create a new kind of space, a new experience of reading

(at least for me as a reader), in which textual instabilities and interventions could function

positively to inform and energize critical practice. While I have not risked textual

disruption here, I have tried to at least highlight my own self-consciousness about issues

of language, discovery, invention and meaning, and the possible consequences of

developing a systematic argument, or arguments.














TABLE OF CONTENTS



P R E F A C E .............................................................................. .................... ................

Invention and Discovery................................. .... ..............iii
The Argument in Brief ............................. ........................... ............. ... ...........

ABSTRACT xv

CHAPTERS

1 BLAKE'S ANTI-SYSTEM COMPOSITE ART ....................................1

Introduction ................................................................. ...........................
W illiam Blake ............................ ................. ..... .......
Blake's Anti-System Project ........................................................4
Blake and N ewton .............................. .... ... .... .... ..................... .....6
Blake's "Newton"............... ................ ........................ ........13
Anti-System Summary .....................................................21
Blake's Composite Art ................................................................ 22
Composite Art Summary ............................................. .......... .......37
Notes................................. .................... ....... .................. 38

2 FIXITY AND FLUIDITY .............................................44

H ere and N ow ........................................................... .................. ........48
Books: Real and Ideal ....................... ................... ..............49
Fixity, Fluidity, Inspiration ....................... .. .. .... .......... ....54
W working Blake ........................ ............ .. ....... ................. 58
Fixity : Fluidity : Song : Book ......................................... ...............61
Frontispieces to Songs of Innocence and of Experience................. .......... 63
"Introduction" to Songs of Innocence ..........................................................66
Orality and Books (Reading Allowed)...................... .. ..... .. ...............70
Fixity and Fluidity in The Book of Urizen ........................ ......................75
Tension in The Book of Urizen .................................. ........................85
C conclusions ............................................. ................................................... 92
N otes..................... ....... ......................... .................94










3 CRITICAL USES OF BLAKE'S MARGINALIA ...................................................... 101

Introduction ................................................................................... 10 1
Why Marginalia?........................ ...........................104
Marginalia in Blake Scholarship .................. ............ .... 106
Synecdochic Structure in Blake's Marginalia:
The W (H)ole of Blake................................................... ... 113
Fitting the Whole of Blake In ........... .............................. .......117
M parking .......................... .. .............. ... ... .............. .. ....122
C conclusion .............................................. .................. .... 123
Note .............................. ..... ........................... 125

4 BLAKE'S MARGINALIA ....... ...... .......................................................128

Introduction ....................................................................128
"The Imagination which Liveth Forever"......................... .......................134
Wall of Words: The Untouchable Page ........................ ....................141
Annotating : The Four Zoas : Tracing ..................... ......... .. ........... 145
Marginalia as Path : Further Into The Four Zoas ...............................................149
The Opinion of Will Blake ....................... .................154
Conclusion .................. ..... .............. ........ ........... ..............161

5 MARGINALIA: FURTHER POSSIBILITIES ......................... .............. ...........166

Introduction..................... ... ..................166
T im e................................... ....................... ........... .........167
Areas for Further Research ...................... .................................182

6 AN END, AN APPROXIMATION ........................................ .................... 192

Introduction ..................... .......... ........ .......... ....................... 192
Disorder ................................. ............................. ................197
Entropy: Some Definitions................ ....... ...........................200
Postmodem ....... ............................ ........................... ...........207
Openings and Conclusions .................................. .......................... 212

W ORKS CITED .......................... ..................... ......... ........... ..............217

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ............................227














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy


THE TORN BOOK:
FIXITY, FLUIDITY, DISORDER AND ENERGY
IN WILLIAM BLAKE'S MARGINALIA

By

Jason Allen Snart

May 2002

Chair: Donald Ault
Major Department: English

William Blake's marginalia receive little critical attention. Yet they are deeply

embedded in contemporary currents in Blake scholarship, including those which attend to

the material and textual dimensions of Blake's work, to his anti-Newtonianism, and to his

anti-systematicity. The marginalia are part of Blake's composite art, in which elements

that share the same page are made to illuminate one another, though often in seemingly

contradictory ways. While Blake's marginal notes may comment directly on particular

sections of the text at hand, they also function as textually disruptive on the page, forcing

the reader's awareness of the degree to which formal layout and features like pagination

guide our reading. The marginalia often work counter to the control imposed by the

finished, printed page. Thus the marginal notations are textually and materially














meaningful. Study of the original volumes reveals a number of textual and material

problems that seriously complicate the ways in which the marginalia have been treated to

date, since they remind that the page does not necessarily give transparent,

uncomplicated, or unproblematic access to "ideas" behind the words. The marginalia

participate deeply in writing, reading, authority, and the production of meaning, as those

issues circulate throughout Blake's work. Ultimately, the degree to which disorder

functions as part of the annotated page resonates with other critical projects which look to

interrogate, and suggest alternatives to, that which is overly systematic and repressive.














CHAPTER 1
BLAKE'S ANTI-SYSTEM COMPOSITE ART

I have sought for a joy without pain,
For a solid without fluctuation
Why will you die 0 Eternals?
Why live in unquenchable burnings?
The Book of Urizen, Copy C II:4

Introduction

In Chapter 1 I situate my work in two major areas of Blake scholarship: Blake's

anti-system project, and the nature of his composite art. I discuss how critics like Donald

Ault and Stuart Peterfreund have suggested ways in which Blake was using his poetry and

illuminations to construct an anti-Newtonian poetics. Also, I confront Blake's composite

art as it is explored by critics like W. J. T. Mitchell, in which text and illustration often

work in self-conflicting and disruptive ways.

Blake is deeply concerned with the tension between the fixity of the metal plate

yet the fluidity of his poetic vision. Thus the themes of writing and reading, and the

attendant symbols of books, pens, hands, readers and writers, form one of the most

elaborate and important contexts in Blake's work. I consider in detail the "Introduction"

to the Songs of Innocence and The Book of Urizen, in terms of how they develop a

specific conception of the artistic process (one in which there is considerable tension

between creative energy and the necessity of having to fix that energy into material form








2

on the page), and how they suggest Blake's deep concern for the materiality of making art.

The metal plate, the book and writing, figure centrally in Blake's poetry as part of

his anti-Newtonian, anti-system project to create a different space, or experience for the

reader reading his work. The tor-book, an image which provides my title, represents the

deconstructing, or tearing, not just of "the book," but of all that the book is made to

represent in Blake's work, in terms of abstract systematizing, and suppressing individual,

creative vision by fixing abstract systems in writing.

Part of the anti-Newtonian project, and the creation of a new space of poetry, is

what has been called Blake's "composite art": the combination of text and illustration

functioning in complex and fluid ways upon the page. Below, I develop the relation

between Blake's anti-Newtonianism and his composite art. The way in which Blake

forces the dialectical interaction of abstraction and representation, as W. J. T. Mitchell

has called them (38), challenges the otherwise empirical weight of the page as ground for

argument, for the relationship between the particularity of each "page" (or of any one

perspective) is often made to grate against whatever pretensions towards universality the

page (the book, the author, the perspective) might make.

William Blake

A little biographical information might be useful for setting up what I would like

to highlight regarding the historical Blake: his status as a literary figure and his relatively

late entrance into the Western canon (and the misconceptions which surrounded] Blake

as a canonical figure-thus my use of more popular sources like anthologies and

dictionaries); and the material conditions of his life as both artist and engraver which so











deeply impacted the form and content of much of his poetic work. Most English

literature anthologies introduce William Blake by way of reference to the view held by

most of his contemporaries that he was an eccentric or a curiosity. "Earned a meagre

living working for publishers as an engraver," begins the Penguin Dictionary ofArt and

Artists entry on Blake. These more popular renderings are, in fact, in line with many

scholarly conceptions: W. J. T. Mitchell writes that "of all the major artists and poets of

the English Romantic movement (in which [Blake] was a marginal, isolated figure), he

was the slowest to achieve critical acceptance as formally and intellectually coherent"

("Chaosthetics" 443). Northrop Frye, writing as recently as 1947, felt compelled to

"complete the destruction of the myth that Blake is a literary freak" (Fearful Symmetry

148). Even Coleridge as a relative contemporary of Blake, writing in 1818, seems

surprised to read, for the first time, Blake's Songs (first published 29 years earlier, in

1789), suggesting the limited degree to which Blake was in cultural circulation: "I have

this morning been reading a strange publication ... Poems with wild and interesting

pictures ... printed and painted by the Author, W. Blake" (quoted in Bentley, Records

251). And William Rowland, in Literature and the Marketplace, writes of Blake's

"struggle for economic survival" and his "situation as a man caught between two worlds,

an inspired prophet who must make a living in the world as he finds it" (81-82). So how

did this poet and engraver manage to produce such vivid, imaginative works throughout

his life: (1) knowing that even the small audience he had likely would not understand his

vision, and (2) caught between his work as an engraver and his work as a poet? To many,

Blake was no more than an eccentric man, practicing a style of copper plate engraving








4

that cost a great deal in terms of time, energy and money, but that yielded little in the way

of a mass producible result-and this in an age when Josiah Wedgwood was beginning to

mass produce art on pottery and china (Ackroyd 65). While Blake never rejected artistic

exploration or invention, even in the form of new ways to execute artistic ideas, he never

condoned the idea of mass produced art or what it did to artists: it turned them from

inventive creators into mechanical producers. It was just one type of system against

which Blake's art often seems to work.

Blake's Anti-System Project

Blake characterized the empirical ethos as a "Single vision & Newton's sleep,"

against which he juxtaposed a "twofold," and even "fourfold," vision tied both to the

rational and the imaginative worlds (Letter to Thomas Butts in Erdman 722; Blake

quotations are from David Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake unless

otherwise noted). Donald Ault has characterized this single vision as having its primary

drive "toward realizing the coherence and completeness of a narrative world or text...

and toward realizing a preordained 'end' or closure that resolves conflicts into a unified

whole" (Narrative Unbound 4). Blake's idea of poetic inspiration remained

"incomprehensible / To the Vegetated Mortal Eye's perverted & single vision" since it

retained complexity and contradiction which would not submit to resolution (Jerusalem

202). It is Blake's conception of the Newtonian impulse and its limited and suppressive

vision against which he would construct his own system of visionary myth and prophecy.

To suggest that impulse in the Newtonian narrative toward closure and resolution,

take, for example, the letter Sir Isaac Newton wrote to the Royal Society in 1672: "this











analogy twixtt colors and refrangibility is very precise and strict; the rays always either

exactly agreeing in both or proportionally disagreeing in both" (Newton). Newton was

writing about his experiments with light and the conclusions he reached about the rules

that governed refraction. Among those conclusions, he noted that light of a certain

wavelength (what he knew as colour) would always be refracted by a prism (light's

refrangibility) to the same degree, while light of a differing wavelength would be

refracted in a proportional distance that never changed. Red light, for example, would

always fall in the same place in the prism's rainbow, a constant proportional distance from

all the other refracted colours. Alexandre Koyr6 has described Newton's findings here as

"the indestructible linkage between degree of refrangibility and color" (45). What is

clearly important for Newton is that he has discovered, he claims, a system, a method, for

describing observed phenomena, and for predicting the details of those phenomena as

they might occur at any future point in any given place. Thus the "indestructibility" that

Koyr6 emphasizes, which is itself one of the central tenets of the systematic project that

Blake found to be operating in what he called "Newtonian." Those tenets include

language taken to function as mere description, prediction into the future by abstracting

from certain details (while repressing others), and the claim to universality. Notably, the

central "Newtonian" figure in Blake's work, Urizen, writes in his book of "eternal brass"

(Urizen, 72; my italics), and elsewhere broods "in horrible fear of the future" (Foar Zoas:

Night the Seventh, 354).











Blake and Newton

A word on "Newton," "Newtonian," and "Blake" is probably in order, since it is

important to reflect on what those terms mean for the present comparison and contrast.

Thackray writes, in Atoms and Powers, "Newtonianism [meant] many things to many

men" (5). And Perry Miller, in "Bentley and Newton," notes that Newton himself was not

quite a "Newtonian" (277). Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers observe that "ethics and

politics" drew on Newtonianism (27), and Alexandre Koyr6 writes that "all the new

sciences that emerged in the eighteenth century... tried to conform to the Newtonian

pattern of empirico-deductive knowledge" (19). We need to be careful and not take

mention of "Newton" on Blake's part to necessarily coincide with some bio-historical

figure from the 17' century. Nor should "Newtonian" be taken necessarily to describe

anything about Newton's method per se, since it became, after Newton, a cultural

development all of its own. Newton and "Blake's Newton" are very different things, and

Blake's critique of "Newtonianism" operates on a much wider social level than just

commentary on a particular scientific method or cluster of ideas.

In fact, the historical Newton, at least what we might construct based on his own

writings, and the historical Blake, again, what we might construct from the art he left us,

may have been more similar than the usual binary opposition assigned to them would

suggest. Of course, Blake himself seemed to align his art directly against Newton

(explicitly at any rate); however, there are perhaps some similarities worth noting

(without, hopefully, overstating the case).








7

Blake and Newton were greatly imaginative systematizers, forced to confront and

deal with gaps in systems of explaining human experience and natural phenomena.

Admittedly, Newton and Blake reacted very differently to the gaps any system seemed to

have. Newton looked for a suture: a predictive method which could describe and unite

the variability of the micro- and macrocosms he explored. Blake, however, forced

disruption, discontinuity and incommensurability, producing an art he hoped would

reflect and embody the feelings he had of experience, and which would communicate the

primacy of the individual imagination. As such, Blake's is often called an anti-system

project (or poetics), and that it certainly is. However, Blake's work itself is certainly not

without systematic, or at least systemic, elements of its own.

Certainly Newton was aware of his work as systematic, though he may have tried,

overtly, to deny its breadth. In a letter accompanying his "Hypothesis on Light" in 1675,

Newton claims that the letter itself, as with the introduction to the "Hypothesis," is to

illustrate his optical papers only: "that no man may confound this with my other

discourses, or measure the certainty of one by the other." But, as Richard Westfall notes,

"it is quite impossible to reconcile the actual 'Hypothesis' with Newton's deprecations of it

... The 'Hypothesis' contained much more than an explanation of optical phenomena"

(270). Proposing the idea of a universal aether with implications well beyond the nature

of light, Newton spends half the "Hypothesis" offering what Westfall describes as "a

general system of nature" (270). And as Newton must have foreseen, the ideas he

expressed began a new round of disputes and controversies with Robert Hooke and the

Royal Society. Newton's fear that his ideas on light, no less than his ideas on a general








8

system of nature, would surely "ingage [him] in vain disputes" and "controversy" suggests

the degree to which he was aware that even his most experimentally sound system would

not satisfy all those in the scientific community given the potential gaps and

inconsistencies it was sure to have (Newton quoted in Westfall, 269).

In the case of Blake, recall that he may not necessarily be as anti-system as he is

often claimed to be, or, perhaps, as he often claims himself to be. Even arguments

against Blake as a kind of systematizer fall back into the language of systems. Donald

Ault attempts to reassert the context of Los's statement (in Jerusalem 10:20), "I must

Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans" to remind that it is not Blake's

statement necessarily. Ault writes that "Blake's treatment of Los's system ... is not

without irony... Blake's reaction was against all systems." Yet further he writes,

"Blake's 'system' is poetic or visionary" (Visionary Physics 29). Ault might place 'system'

in hesitant quotation marks, but there still seems to be poetic construction going on for

Blake on the level of perceptual framework, which is systemic if not systematic. It is

likely best to speak of a Blakean system of poetry advisedly (as Ault does). But I

maintain that there is a project going on in Blake's work which is not so fluid or

deconstructive as to elude the "systematic" entirely. Some contend that it is Blake

scholarship which renders Blake's work systematic, not the work itself. Steven Shaviro

considers this possibility: "Blake is interpreted systematically because it has been

assumed... that Blake's works do in fact constitute a system" ("Striving With Systems"

272). However, I think there is too much explicit evidence in Blake's art that suggests

dependence on systemic ways of reading (and which therefore required systemic ways of











writing) to claim that systematicity is laid over Blake by scholarship, and not in part

drawn out by it.'

For example, Robert Gleckner writes that "each of Blake's two song series ...

comprises a number of smaller units ... so that the relationship of each unit to the series

as a whole might be stated as a kind of progression" (10). I contend that Gleckner is not

making a system where one did not previously exist, but pointing to systematic

relationships that are inherent in the work, even when we take into account that Blake

shifted the plate order of the songs in various editions. One might argue that nothing is

inherent in a text until it is created by the reader. But by this logic, if you can argue that

Blake's system only appears so because readers make it so, thereby derailing my

contention that Blake is, in some ways, systematic, then we can as easily say that there is

no systematic project in Newton either, since it is only the reader of Newton who creates

a system, not Newton himself. For the purposes of the comparison it makes possible, I

will contend that there can be things in texts which are not merely the product of reading.

Or, if all things in texts are the product of reading, then certain consistent patterns must

emerge from all competent reading, that is, reading sensitive to the resonances and self-

reflections the text invites.

So I think Gleckner, for example, has noted something in Blake which, unless one

were to practice bad scholarship, cannot go unnoticed: a relationship of units which form

a progression. While I do not subscribe to the linearity of Gleckner's "progression" model

-if by that he means each poem necessarily follows one from the other-I think the

relationship of units he suggests is both productive for reading Blake's work, and








10

evidence of a kind of Blakean system. And certainly there is nothing to say that the units

themselves cannot shift and change, especially as plate orders change. Indeed, the artistic

techniques Blake used throughout his career to create the same "units," as Gleckner calls

them, varied enough that figures which appear to invoke a particular type often grew out

of very different material processes. Consider the "old man" in plate 2 of All Religions

Are One, relief etched and printed in monotone, to the "old man" (and child) in plate 84

of Jerusalem, relief etched but with added watercolour and pen and touches of gold.

Compare either of these techniques, themselves different enough, with pencil sketches,

for example, like the "Head of Job" (Keynes, Drawings of William Blake 74). They are

all the old man, and thus invoke a particular symbolism, but each seems different enough

to potentially disrupt the very symbolism it imports.

W. J. T. Mitchell, whose Blake studies capture more of the poems' fluidity than

do Gleckner's, cites instances of "illustrations which do not illustrate" to show how Blake

forces us to read pictures "in the context of other, similar compositions" (Blake's

Composite Art, 4-5). Again, this suggests a sort of archetypal system or network in which

illustrations import symbolism from other contexts in which they've appeared. Mitchell

later writes that "Abstract linear forms such as the vortex or the circle provide the

structural skeletons" for much of Blake's art; and they are "repeated so systematically that

they suggest a kind of... repertoire of leitmotifs that can be repeated in widely differing

contexts" (37; my italics).

In order not to overstate my case though, it is clear that where Newtonianism

required that gaps and inconsistencies in the system be either filled or erased (or avoided








11

with covering letters), Blake's system highlights incommensurabilities as fundamental to

the human condition. Lest we charge Newton with believing too unquestioningly in the

comprehensiveness of his system, though, we might recall what he was reported to have

said to his nephew, Benjamin Smith:

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the
sea shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a
smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the
great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
(quoted in White, 343)

Ultimately, I am much more concerned with "Blake's Newton" as a poetic figure,

than with Newton as an historic figure; certainly the two are not identical, nor, perhaps,

do they even share as much in common as we might assume. And I am concerned with

Newtonianism as Blake engaged it: not necessarily just a set of procedures practised by a

man in Cambridge, but the cultural movement that had become Newtonianism by Blake's

time. (Koyrd writes that even by the end of the 18* century, "Newtonian science seemed

to reach its final and definitive perfection" (17).) Blake engaging "Newton" or

"Newtonianism" is complex, for as Donald Ault, following Thomas Kuhn, writes, "in the

years following the emergence of Newton's paradigm ... Newton's system insinuated

itself into a vast range of intellectual disciplines" (Visionary Physics 46). And Alvin

Toffler, introducing Prigogine and Stengers' Order Out of Chaos, writes that the

"Newtonian model gave rise to analogies in politics, diplomacy and other spheres

seemingly remote from science" (xxiii). In fact, it is most likely that Blake encountered

Newtonianism through the textbooks he was engraving, or perhaps in reading through the











libraries of friends like the publisher Joseph Johnson. I would say issues of whether

Blake actually read anything by Newton are much less central here than the pervasiveness

of systematized ways of thinking and organizing culture that Blake chooses to embody in

his poetic "Newton" (and in other figures, like Urizen). Whether Blake is "right" about

Newton per se, is less important, for me, than what develops from Blake's critique, and

what new things and ways of thinking he makes possible.

Donald Ault writes that "to most Newtonians there was no question whether a

logical system could explain the whole of the world; the only question was, which system

could best characterize nature's inherent logical structure" (Visionary Physics 28). And

Peterfreund reminds that "up to Blake's time, the response of eighteenth-century literature

to Newtonian science is unanimous in its belief that Newton's mathematics and physics

are fully disinterested, inductive, impartial and authoritative" (21). Newtonianism

became the set of keys-even the key-which would reveal the logic of action at a distance,

light, alchemy, and the Bible. Toffler writes that in the Newtonian system, "every event

was determined by initial conditions that were, at least in principle, determinable with

precision. It was a world in which chance played no part, in which all the pieces came

together like cogs in a cosmic machine" (xiii). Newton sought an all-embracing model of

the universe on both microcosmic and macrocosmic levels. Biographer Richard Westfall

notes that Newton presented himself often as a "natural philosopher confronting the entire

sweep of Nature" (270), and Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs writes that "to Newton himself all his

diverse studies constituted a unified plan for obtaining Truth" (17). Anachronistically

speaking, it is surely this Newton-the totalizer-and his belief in some discoverable











system to unify, and to explain the connections between, quite simply, everything, that

Blake picks up in his creation of Newton as a poetic figure.

Certainly Blake's relationship to the Newton he creates is complex, however

much Blake aligns Newton with other poetic figures like Urizen, and however much

Newton and Urizen represent the most reprehensible (for Blake) impulses in culture to

abstract, universalize and control. We need go no further to discover some of this

complexity than Blake's 1795 painting entitled Newton. Here we find, I think, both a

clear critical stance by Blake against systematic projects like Newtonianism; yet there is

also the added dimension of Blake's own implication and participation in that system. It

is this duality that I would like to keep foregrounded throughout my discussion.

Blake's "Newton"

In Blake's portrait (if I can call it that) of Newton, Newton is more Greek god than

Cambridge loner (Figure 1-1). His is a body of material potential. He traces or measures

a figure which seems to cause and to mirror his own. In one sense, the figure's muscular

body bends to produce the Euclidean triangle on the page, yet the placement of the scroll

at the figure's feet also causes the body to take the shape it does; he must bend to the

ground to reach it. The "Newton" of the picture is both producing but also produced by

his measurement; perhaps we can see depicted here Blake's "same dull round" wherein

"If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character. The Philosophic & Experimental

would soon be at the ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the

same dull round over again ... He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only" ("There is

no Natural Religion," 3).









14

This circularity-Newton both creating yet being shaped by his creation-is crucial

to Blake's Newtonian critique in the painting, since it implies his larger critique of a kind

of language, or a use of language, which assumes itself to be entirely passive and not in

any way involved in inventing that which it purports to discover. That is, it is a language

which presents itself as both transparent and uni-directional. It is assumed to flow as

description towards objects which exist a priori of that description. However, Blake is

clearly aware that language is a much more powerful tool, and that it creates the stuff of

science and art and life as much as it describes it. Thus, without seeming to be aware of

it, the figure in Newton is as much controlled, and bent nearly double, by the written

triangle, as he is in control of it.

Note how the figure's right hand forms a triangle of its own with the knuckle of

the middle finger and the pointer finger forming two sides while the scroll itself forms the

base. Note again how the left hand forms a triangle with the bent pointer finger as two

sides and the compass as a base. In the pencil sketch for Newton (see Keynes Drawings

of William Blake 18) there is, in fact, an additional triangle which does not appear in the

colour print; it is formed by the figure's index finger, the extended middle finger and the

compass. (In the sketch, Newton's fingers seem decidedly disproportionate. The middle

finger which extends down the compass, and which goes to form a triangle that does not

appear in the colour print must measure at least the length of the left forearm.) It is

revealing, I think, that many of the figural triangles which emerge are formed by some

combination of the human figure and the apparatus of his science. It is also noteworthy

that Blake would use the triangle as his basic, repeated shape here, and that triangles form











one of the most basic mathematical shapes in the figures which accompany Newton's

own works, like the Principia. (For readings of Newton see Donald Ault's Visionary

Physics, 2-4; and W. J. T. Mitchell's "Chaosthetics: Blake's Sense of Form," and Blake's

Composite Art, 49.)

In terms of language then, for Blake it is clearly at least bi-directional, that is, it

describes, but also creates in that description. Thus it can create away difference while

posing as description; further, it can mask a subjective voice by presuming objectivity.

Thomas Kuhn, in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions describes the effect: "normal

science ... often suppresses fundamental novelties [differences] because they are

necessarily subversive of its basic commitments [its abstract models]" (5). And further,

certain experiments are often ignored if they "[yield] neither consistent nor simple results

... they [remain] mere facts, unrelated and unrelatable" (35). Umberto Eco offers

another version: "we travel knowing in advance what we are on the verge of discovering.

.. Someone discovers something different and tries to see it as absolutely analogous to

what he already knows" (54, 74). Peterfreund describes Blake's reaction to this (mis-)use

of language (denying its power to create what is assumed to exist) in terms of an

understanding

that all texts, as the artifacts of specific individuals writing
in specific contexts of time and place, are rhetorical, or
argumentative, and that the situation could not be
otherwise, since all language is produced by individuals
speaking from positions ... accordingly, there is no such
thing as disinterestedness ... no authority, only usurped
freedom. (22)








16

For the Newtonian text to claim authority is, in Peterfreund's reading of Blake's

critique, only for the text to usurp the power of readerly interpretation under the aegis of

textual control, itself girded, in Newton's case, by claims to the empirically verified

"rightness" of the argument. Blake imagines the power and variability of language in

Jerusalem in a conversation among the Four Zoas, the "Visionary forms dramatic":

creating exemplars of Memory and Intellect
Creating Space, Creating Time according to the wonder Divine
Of Human Imagination, throughout all the Three Regions immense
Of Childhood, Manhood & Old Age[;] & the all tremendous
unfathomable Non Ens
Of death was seen in regenerations terrific or complacent varying
According to the subject of discourse & every Word & Every Character
Was Human according to the Expansion or Contraction, the
Translucence or
Opakeness of Nervous fibres such was the variation of Time & Space
Which vary according as the Organs of Perception
(Jerusalem, Plate 98: 28-39)

Here language is recognized as a subject-dependent instrument of creation. No claims

to authority are made, beyond the assertion that every word and character vary

according to the individuality of their speaker.

Blake's critique of the Newtonian system focuses on that system's denial of the

power of language, thus its power of abstraction, thus the tendency for systems to

prescribe a futurity which suppresses the detail of difference in order that the system

maintain itself. Blake will present this closed circularity often, though most notably in

the inescapable circularity of Urizen measuring the world that he has produced, yet

producing the world by measurement. For Urizen forms his weights and measures

before exploring his surroundings; "He formd golden compasses / And [then] he began











to explore the Abyss" (The Book of Urizen, VII:39-40). There seems no escape from

the process of creation-as-measurement that figures like Urizen and Newton are caught

in. (I look specifically at The Book of Urizen, written during the same time period that

Blake worked on Newton, in greater detail in Chapter 2.)

To return to Blake's Newton, though, it is important to remember that while the

figure certainly dominates the work, the background is equally revealing. Against the

definite outline of the figure, Blake offers an ambiguous background which seems at

once ocean, land, rock, vegetation and an accident of watercolour. Newton is one of

twelve large colour prints Blake produced in 1795. There is debate surrounding the

exact technique he used, but it likely employed either millboard or metal plate. While

Frederick Tatham reports that Blake used millboard, Raymond Lister, in Infernal

Methods, suggests that "the effect could have been obtained from a sheet of zinc or

copper" (59). (Tatham's account is provided in Gilchrist's Life of William Blake on

page 366, but it could not have been from firsthand knowledge; Tatham was not even

born when Blake was developing the technique in the early 1790s.) Blake etched or

painted his design (in the reverse direction of what would appear in the final product)

either on the millboard or metal plate, and then pressed the design to paper. He could

then add different paint to the millboard or plate and press the design again. This

produced a "mottled" background, or, as Michael Phillips writes in the Tate Gallery's

William Blake exhibition catalogue, "highly reticulated surfaces often of great richness

and individuality" (106-107). It is certainly this individuality-the accident of colour-

which informs the critique at work in the colour print.











In "Chaosthetics: Blake's Sense of Form," W. J. T. Mitchell reminds us that

"when seen in the context of late-eighteenth century printmaking ... his [Blake's]

handling of color is notoriously indifferent" (444). Indifferent to what though?

Convention? Outcome? Mitchell writes further that "Blake clearly intended his art to

look the way it did," and that the sorts of questions Blake forces deal as much with

"moral, political, and metaphysical" issues as with aesthetics (445). What comes from

Mitchell's discussion, I would argue, is that Blake was really not indifferent to his

handling of colour, however much he might have invited chance into his creation. That

is to say, in creating the background to frame Newton, Blake did not seem to set out to

create a certain pattern which he could have predicted before it came to be; however,

Blake is clearly aware of (not indifferent at all to) the effect he wanted and the

technique which would produce that effect. Blake might have been indifferent to

colour, but certainly not to its handling. Mitchell describes the technique Blake used to

produce the background effect; he assumes that millboard, and not a metal plate was

used: "this sort of color printing involved the application of colors to a piece of

millboard that was then pressed against the paper and pulled away, leaving an

unpredictable and random pattern of mottled impressions" (455; my italics). In

addition to Blake's awareness of colouring and of the material used to register paint to

paper (either metal plate or millboard), it is also possible that Blake was highly aware of

the paper itself, and the way in which it would take up colour. Very close study (7x

magnification) of the original Newton on display at the Tate Gallery in London reveals

that the paper itself seems to have just enough texture to make exact copies impossible,









19

and even to produce what often appear to be figures, letters, even words that almost but

do not quite emerge. This is particularly true of the pencil sketch for Newton that Blake

executed. While there does not appear to be any actual writing under magnification,

with the naked eye, the light pencil shading Blake has used to indicate the background

tends to catch the minute wrinkles of the paper in such a way as to suggest writing that

has been lightly erased. Thus Blake seems to have been aware of the potential for near

emergence inherent in all aspects of the colour printing process, not just the pressed

millboard or metal plate.

Robert Essick, writing on the recently discovered copy E of The Book of Urizen,

notes Blake's "purposeful incorporation of the accidental with artistic production"

(102). Ironically, Essick confronts the issue of intentionality as it arises in relation to

another of Blake's backgrounds. (Though background, in this case, produces what

Essick calls "the most significant design variant" (101).) In Plate 9 of copy E, Essick

notes what "looks like a grazing horse, complete with an eye and slight indications of a

nose" (101). The eye and nose are created by denser spots of colour printing. Essick

writes, "there is no evidence of work with brush or pen ... Thus, the horse-like image

may be an accidental product of color printing rather than the result of an intentional

act" (102). As with the Newton background, we see here a certain kind of

intentionality: at the very least, an awareness of consequence. "Blake chose color

printing," as Essick notes (102; my italics). Did he choose it because it rendered

unpredictability and chance variation? Does meaning thus emerge differently from

different kinds of intentionality?











The question in regards to the Newton print remains though: How does the

background, so different from the strength of line in the figure, function in terms of the

critique at work in the print? Can we even call it a "background" given the negative

valence that term carries. Is Blake playing with our sense of background as somehow

secondary, even marginal? Do we assume the figure is therefore foreground and

central? What status do we accord these formal parts in their ability to critique one

another?

It is most easy to see "Blake" in the indefinite background whose fluidity is

meant to suggest the fluid multiplicity, an endless detail of difference, denied by the

Euclidean triangles in the foreground. There is certainly a degree to which the

individuality of each work, a result of the technique and materials Blake has chosen to

use, works against notions of systematic reproduction. Ironically, the effect of near

emerging writing or forms that is available in the original material disappears when the

work is reproduced by most methods in books today. Under 7x magnification, the

pencil sketch reproduction in Martin Butlin's The Paintings and Drawings of William

Blake is revealed as columns and rows of perfectly ordered tiny dots, an image of

identicality itself (this is particularly true for the background). William Blake has made

certain aspects of his work entirely unreproducable, as though to guarantee at least

those aspects against mass production as a kind of system deeply associated with the

Newtonian system against which Blake worked.

The material and technique themselves are used to critique the very image they

produce. But I think Blake is as much the Newton figure as he is the chaos of the











setting. Some critics have even suggested that the Newton face is that of a younger

Blake (Ackroyd, 201). Peter Ackroyd writes:

there is no reason to believe that Blake thought of
Newton as a very different kind of writer from
himself. Indeed there is an intensity about this
image that suggests he recognized the creative
importance of the scientist's vision ... Perhaps
also, in this contemplative figure, there is some
suggestion of the obsession and isolation that
were part of Blake's own experience. (201)


Ultimately, I think Blake was too aware of himself as an artist in a Newtonian

world to completely extricate himself from the material conditions of that world. Nor,

does it seem, did Blake want to remove himself from the tensions and contradictions

which accompanied his work as a poet and engraver. They were, in many ways, his

source material for thinking through the fluidity of poetic vision and the necessity of

activating that vision by fixing it on the printed page. Chapter 2 deals, in greater detail,

with the tension between fixity and fluidity in Blake's work, and the degree to which

Blake participated in both the fluidity of poetic imagination yet the fixity of setting

imaginative vision onto the material page.

Anti-System Summary

I have situated the crux of what has been identified by various commentators as

Blake's anti-system (or anti-Newtonian) project in the operation of language/design

itself, extending to the page, books and writing as key components in stabilizing and

perpetuating any system. I am casting the assumed stability of language/design on the

page as "fixity," thus giving me that part of my subtitle, "Fixity, Fluidity, Disorder and











Energy." Fixity implies singular perspective, univocality, and the suppression of

anything that might alter and upset the operation of the fixed system. Those elements

which operate to counter "fixity" I would like to group under the heading, "fluidity," the

second term in my subtitle. To suggest that those elements which operate to de-stabilize

the foundation upon which fixity depends are "fluid" helps to ground my thinking in the

very materiality of Blake's artistic production. For if the copper plate implies a kind of

fixity by its very hardness, then I think the acid mixture and watercolour washes imply a

fluidity which is no less related to physical, artistic production, yet which counters the

solidness of the metal plate. Blake presents this opposition in The Marriage of Heaven

and Hell as one between the "books [and] ... libraries" of received ideas ("the method

in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation") and printing in "the

infernal method" with "corrosives" which reveal error (Plates 14-15). I would like to

now suggest ways in which Blake encounters (and counters) fixity by means of what has

been called his Composite Art.

Blake's Composite Art

Poems with wild and interesting pictures.
Coleridge describes Blake

Stephen Kellert writes, in In the Wake of Chaos, that chaos theory is not "as

interesting as it sounds" (ix). Part of what I think he means is that chaos, the thing

itself, the set of behaviours that it is, might be pretty "interesting" (as in "exciting,"

"energized"), but the theory of it, the writing about it, is not. Sadly, there is not always

profundity by association in scholarship. Or, it is not always possible to make the








23

product of one's study as dynamic or challenging as the subject of one's study; and it is

rarely possible, when dealing with a subject involved in a far reaching cultural critique,

to avoid entirely some of the pitfalls that that critique points to. Having said this,

perhaps as a sort of pre-emptive self-defence, I want to now engage Blake's art from a

"different" angle, and divide my discussion between Blake's anti-system project and his

composite art, knowing full well that such a division is arbitrary and likely runs against

the grain of many of Blake's moves to unite contraries that had otherwise been

artificially divided. For despite calling this section "Blake's Composite Art," it is really

still deeply tied to his anti-Newtonian, anti-system project. The purpose of division here

is very much functional, since it allows me to situate my own project in terms of certain

scholars who have concentrated primarily on Blake's art or primarily on his anti-system

project. There is a tendency, it seems, to privilege one over the other. Or at least to

always address one just as a component of the other. I cannot claim to be doing

something entirely different here; however, if I ever do privilege one perspective on

Blake over another (the compositeness of his art over the anti-Newtonianism, for

example), I hope there are as many instances of that privileging reversed.

Ultimately, it is clear that the way a composite art can be made to function on

the page-that is, its form-to force disruption, non-linearity between text and design,

conflict, or change, is an outgrowth of content. Blake's composite art will not submit to

the kind of reading which requires the stability of traditional or simple relationships

between elements on a page (graphic to text or graphic to graphic). The instability

Blake forces between the parts of his composite art (if it can be divided into parts)








24

marks one of the most anti-Newtonian aspects of Blake's page. And it is important to

recall, again, as Donald Ault has written, "'Newtonian texts' are by no means restricted

to Newton: his is simply an extreme form of narrative stance which Blake's narrative

systematically opposes" ("Incommensurability" 159).

Imagine how "design" interacts with text in something like Newton's Principia:

a good example of a systematic book whether Blake actually had the opportunity to read

it or not. (Ault contends that "it would seem Blake did have some firsthand information

about Newton's ideas" (Visionary Physics 45).) There must be a direct and clear

relationship between what is being written and what is being drawn for the argument to

work, and thus for the language used to communicate the system to reveal the supposed

unambiguity of the system itself (which is supposed to exist prior to its description).

Indeed, the graphical is simply another way of saying what the text has already said.

Take, for example, Book I of the Principia, Section III, Proposition 11: "Let a body

revolve in an ellipse; it is required to find the law of the centripetal force tending toward

a focus of the ellipse." Newton continues, "Let S be a focus of the ellipse. Draw SP

cutting both the diameter DK of an ellipse in E and the ordinate Qv in x, and complete

the parallelogram QxPR" (462). It is likely second nature for us to accept the imperative

voice of the Newtonian narrator and to "let" the figure accompanying the text do exactly

as the narrator says. Or, to more accurately reflect our relationship to the text, we will

"draw" or "cut" or "complete" the figure as we are told to do by the narrator. Following

from this, we trust the narrator to be describing the process of creating the figure such

that it parallels the argument it accompanies. All told, we relinquish our power of











interpretation (and, indeed, action) in allowing the Newtonian narrator to dictate the

direct relationship between text and design and to thereby assume complete control over

meaning.

Part of what Blake's composite art questions though are the assumptions of

authority and control over interpretation made in demanding such direct text and design

relationships. One might simply argue that Blake is doing art and Newton is writing a

scientific treatise: of course things are going to be different. But that is exactly the

point. Blake chose to work in such a way as to reveal some of the things that the

Newtonian text takes for granted, and to question what sorts of implications would arise

from that, and he could only do so by creating a very different kind of reading

experience on his own page. Indeed, Blake's art requires that there be space for the

reader to grasp the text as sometimes self-reflexive, sometimes ironic, sometimes not

offering the most simple relations between its parts. Ault writes in

"Incommensurability" that mathematical notation and the graphic illustration which

accompanies it "cannot bear an ironic or parodic relationship" (164). In denying the

potential for irony, the Newtonian text denies the reader entry into the meaning making

process for there can be no multiple senses in which a text can exist.

For Newton, text and design together are assumed to reveal the ultimate

unambiguity of nature, and thus must themselves present, in their relationship to one

another, an equally stringent unambiguity. Newton even stressed the need for singular

clarity in his analysis of The Book of Revelation: "God who knew how to frame it [that

is, put the Apocalypse into language] without ambiguity intended it [clarity of











description] for a rule of faith" (quoted in Manuel, Appendix A). As Ault notes, "It is

quite clear that this Newtonian voice equates 'multiplicity' with 'confusion' and

therefore needs to ground his direction of the reader's responses in a similar need for

reduction of multiplicity to univocality" ("Incommensurability," 162).

In setting Blake's composite art as a reaction to text-design relationships in the

Newtonian text, it is most important to note that the Newtonian relationship between

text and design must be singular, permanent, and stable ("unambiguous" to use

Newton's terms) if the system is to function as universal and fully predictive, just as

Newtonian reading must arrive at a singular ("correct") interpretation, thus proving and

further guaranteeing the univocality of the text as final authority over its own meaning.

This connection between univocality, or single-voicedness, and textual authority will

become crucial in subsequent chapters which look at the act of annotation as a

multiplying of voices on the page, and thereby as a direct challenge to authorship

(ownership of meaning on the finished page) as guarantor of singular interpretive

authority.

Approaching the relationship between elements on the page from a different

perspective, one might say that the reversibility of time supposed to inhere in classical

science is made to inhere in the description and argument of that system whereby the

reader must be able to travel from text to design or from design to text without

interruption or complication at any moment in the process of reading. In this sense,

there can be no interference between elements which go to illustrate an argument. The

space of the text must be an absolute space like the one Newton posits in the Principia:











"Absolute space, of its own nature without reference to anything external, always

remains homogeneous and immovable" (408). We cannot read the relationship between

text and graphic on page 60, for example, only to find that the same graphic is doing

something entirely contrary on page 120, that is, interfering with what we have already

read. The potential for interference would act as an initial clue that ambiguity might

exist where the Newtonian text would prefer to remove it entirely. Certainly ambiguity

would suggest that the Newtonian text was losing control over itself, relinquishing

meaning, rather, to the reader and to the variability of readerly (or context specific)

interpretation.

Such is the space of Blake's art, wherein readers are forced to deal with

perspectives that change almost as often as we turn the page; thus, elements on the page

are set up so as to interfere with one another, and to always comment on their

appearance elsewhere. (Interestingly, a working model of glossing.) Time, the arrow of

our reading Blake, moves in one direction, since Blake is constantly inviting

interference: if you read about Los in The Book of Los and then find him different in The

Book of Urizen, there is no going back and undoing your first knowledge. If you

encounter the child perched directly atop the head of the Bard in the "Introduction" to

the Songs of Experience, you must consider that image as it intrudes upon its

counterpart: the child unattached to the piper in the "Introduction" to the Songs of

Innocence. I argue that Blake's insistence upon contraries throughout his work

demands that we navigate interference as an inescapable part of Blakean reading.











The insistence to cause interference we find in Blake's work cannot be said to

exist in something like the ideal system-of-the-world textbook. If you read page 200

first, in which "Figure III" (whatever it might be) illustrated some point made in the

text; then you read page 3 in which "Figure I," the same triangle, perhaps, as in Figure

II, illustrated some other point; the stability assumed to inhere in the one-to-one

relationships between text and design would make it possible for the two figures to exist

in absolute, non-relative (non-interfering) space. One would not interfere, disrupt, or

necessarily change the other. There is "one" way to read Figure I and "one" way to read

Figure III, and there is, ideally, no possibility for interference between the two.

The space and time in which text-design relationships in the Newtonian text

function is, in some ways, absolute and reversible. You could read Figure III before

Figure I as easily as you could read Figure I before Figure III, and because of the

assumed autonomy of their relation to the text, there is no "time" in your reading. There

is no way in which first readings necessarily change future readings. Perhaps it works

to say then that time in the Blakean text affects the reader and the text. Whereas time in

the Newtonian text might affect the reader (the argument develops, for us, linearly), but

does not (ideally) affect the text itself (moments in the text do not alter other moments).

I think this coincides with the insistence I (following critics like Donald Ault) find in the

Newtonian text to always control itself, to ground itself as ultimate authority over its

own meaning. Ault writes:

The Newtonian narrator asserts the semantic limits of the
possible meaning of the text, making the text usurp the
reader's role ... The reader is separated from the text as











the elements of the text are separated, isolated from one
another... Everything has been worked out by the text.
("Incommensurability," 162-164)

I must stress though, that my argument does not extend to the argument put forth

in the Newtonian text. For that is surely linear, and it develops in time. Certainly we

could not start at the end of the Principia, read backwards, and hope to understand.

Thus time, in this sense, is clearly not reversible, and it does need to move in one

direction if we are to comprehend the text. What I am arguing is that relationships

between text and design (or portions of argument and their attendant figures) operate

outside of the time of our reading them in the sense that the stability of those

relationships is not interconstitutive; text-design stability inheres regardless of what we

have or have not seen before in the book. In Narrative Unbound, Donald Ault deals

with the complicated text of the "unfinished" Four Zoas as it represents one of Blake's

anti-Newtonian texts. For Ault, "there are no context-free universal propositions in

Blake's poetry" (488, note 1). And the "experiential significance of an event is

determined by its location ... in the temporal series" (492, note 20). To me, the degree

to which Blake's poetry is context-sensitive speaks to its more general sensitivity to

time. Indeed, it depends on what Ault describes as "a reader whose perception is able to

alter the very being of the text's supposedly fixed facts" (6). The argument I have been

developing here is specific to the compositeness of Blake's art, in that any of Blake's

text-design relationships are equally sensitive to context (there are no universal

relationships?) as well as to readerly perception. This dependence on time, rendering

our sense of it as so immediately irreversible (and thus each new poetic thing we











encounter as constituted, in part, by all previous things), is, I maintain, a direct

outgrowth of Blake's stand against that characteristic of the Newtonian text which

conjures away the reader by asserting text-design relationships which can operate

outside of time, outside of context, outside of our process of reading. The imperative

voice of the Newtonian narrator tells us what is to be done to figures accompanying text

and tells us what figures and text mean by way of thoroughly disarming our power to

make text-design relationships do or be anything other than what the narrator demands.

For Blake, deeply concerned with the effects such a reading practice produces

(in terms of locking readers into one reading, one relationship with the text, and

removing the text from the possibility for self-reflexive change), it is not surprising that

his critique of systems would force an entirely different reading practice, and thus the

look of his page would differ greatly from any page involved in trying to assert a total

system (be it a Philosophiae Naturalis de Mundi Systemate or not). Take, for example,

Plate 4 from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The graphic "illustrates" a contest

between contraries, as the text on the same plate discusses. Roughly two years later,

Blake produced a very similar figural pattern and scene in "Good and Evil Angels

Struggling for Possession of a Child" (Figure 1-2). Aside from having the figures

reversed, Blake very nearly repeats himself. However similar the pictures are though,

they are deeply relative to their specific contexts. The space of Blake's art is by no

means an absolute space. More importantly, the time, or process of our reading, simply

cannot be reversible, for our seeing of one instance of the figures must inform (interfere

with) our next seeing of the same figures. The relativity of one to the other speaks to








31

the irreversibility of the practice of reading which Blake forces. Consider also some of

the more common figures which show up throughout Blake's art. For example, the Old

Testament patriarch, Urizenic figure who may, or may not always represent Urizen. The

old man who appears in the graphic which accompanies "London" (though there are no

old men in the poem) certainly interferes with other instances of the old man figure

appearing elsewhere-the "Ancient of Days" for example (himself interfering with

Newton as they both hold a compass). Most notably, the figural arrangement in

"London" appears in Jerusalem on Plate 84, where the text identifies the old man as

London, being led through the streets "by a child" (Erdman, Illuminated Blake, 363). At

least there is the potential for one appearance to interfere with any other (regardless of

the chronological order of their publication). And clearly Blake invites such

interference by depending on what critics like Mitchell have called the "lietmotifs" of

repeated types (37). In contrast, the ideal Newtonian text denies the possibility for

interference as a necessary condition for proving the stability of the system of the world.

And it does so by forcing only one relationship between figure and text-a relationship

that remains undamageable by past and future reading, thereby rendering the notions of

past, present and future irrelevant.

In terms of Blake's art itself though, there is much more to be said about the

relation between text and design aside from issues of time. Despite what often appears

to be a visual separateness of text and illustration on the Blakean page, there is evidence

that Blake may have thought of the two elements in very similar ways. If anything,

Blake's composite art brings the supposed sisters of painting and poetry together, not so











much for a family reunion, but rather to interrogate what might be a false division and

separation between the two. Or Blake seems to be challenging any "unification" of the

sister arts which attempts to make one do what the other normally does. Mitchell

describes this, in Blake's Composite Art, as trying to make "pictures 'speak'" or "poetry

visual" (34). Blake's critique seeks for some more fundamental way to unify, or seek

connection between, things which have been divided. Mitchell reads in Blake the

impetus "to discover a new basis for.., unification" (34). Thus, for Mitchell, the

compositeness of Blake's art involves as much the combining of two different kinds of

representation (text and picture), as it involves the search for "the parallel engagements

of imagination and body with their respective mediums, and in their convergence in the

more comprehensive idea of the 'Human Form Divine'." (34). Mitchell finds in Blake

that "the body and the imagination are separable principles only in a fallen world of

limited perception, and the business of art is to dramatize their unification" (35).

Important for this project is to note how complicated the interaction is between

what we can sometimes (but not always) identify as the graphic versus the textual on the

Blakean page; especially important are the kinds of disruptions and discontinuities

which can be forced when we must consider the textual alone, the pictorial alone, and,

more often, the combination of the two operating in conflicting ways. But it may only

be our reading strategy, and not Blake's, that wants to see text and illustration as

different elements working on the same page. We must recall that when Blake

engraved, he had to write backwards on the copper plate (a skill he often practised in his

notebooks). Words took on the form of pictures themselves, and often in the leaves and











twining vines that encircle Blake's text, we can almost see words that are struggling to

form themselves and break free of the bound plate. The intertextual windings lead our

eye from text to graphic as though we are to read picture just as we have been reading

text. Note Blake's Laocoin for an example of "text" and "illustration" which seem to

force the shape of one another (Figure 1-3).

There is some scholarship which ignores either text or illustration and

concentrates on one of the two elements. Heather Glen, for example, offers an

elucidating reading of "London" in her Vision and Disenchantment: Blake's "Songs"

and Wordsworth's "Lyrical Ballads." Yet her argument thoroughly ignores the

illustration (110ff.). The complex nature of the relationship between text and

illustration in much of Blake's work really does require at least a nod to both, however.

This is especially true for a poem like "London" in which the illustrations) (a young

child (?) leading (?) an old man; a figure warming (?) his/her (?) hands by a fire; bear no

immediate relationship to the text). Erdman's speculations on what the illustrations

illustrate are almost entirely derived by importing symbolism from other poems; for

example, "Another vagabond boy at a smokier street-fire than the family's fire in the

previous page ["The Little Vagabond"] ... His [the boy's] flame we have seen in

miniature under the title of 'Holy Thursday'" (88).

Note also, for example, the illustrations in Figure 1-4 from America; Erdman

identifies the figures as Urizen and Ore (Illuminated Blake, 146-148). The complicated

system of differences and similarities between the contrary characters, their strikingly

similar poses yet clear contextual differences, and further, the relation between the two











which develops as we read from Plates 8 to 10 and beyond suggest that such an easy

'naming' is potentially misleading. On Plate 8, it is as though Urizen, seated above a

textual block, looks "up" towards what we might imagine as Ore, when, on Plate 10, we

see Orc looking "down" from beneath a textual block (Erdman, 146, 148). But there is

no reason to assume, as Erdman does, that the figures are Urizen and Orc at all; if they

are, their near-identical poses suggest that a more complicated reading is necessary than

labelling them as binary Reason-Imagination, Bad-Good opposites. The text makes

reference to other characters who might be represented in the illustration. "Orc" on

Plate 10, for example, may just as easily be the fiery Angels alluded to in line 1 of Plate

11 (who are, themselves, aligned with Urizen's "clouds" on Plate 8, yet they "bum with

the fires of Ore," pictured on Plate 10). In fact, the line which suggests that the figure is

Orc-"buming with the fires of Ore" (Plate 11, line 2)-occurs after the figure itself

which is on Plate 10. All of this is to suggest the fluidity (or capacity for change) with

which Blake presents the characters of his myth, and with which we must read

relationships that develop between characters, and between illustration and text.

To set Blake in a general tradition regarding his use of text and illustration, he is

both following and reforming the Whitney emblem tradition (see Figure 1-5).

Whitney's text and illustration are kept clearly separated on the page-indeed the picture

is framed within the frame of the printed page. Yet the poem elucidates its attendant

illustration directly, "What hideous hagge with visage stere appears?" (192). Unlike

what we might expect from Blake, Whitney answers his own question, offering a textual

explanation of his illustrated "Envy." Whitney even glosses his own work, referring to









35

"Envy's" tradition in literature and offers a Latin motto and an accompanying aphorism.

In the Whitney tradition, correspondence between all elements of text and graphic are

clear and direct, creating what Blake might have recognized as a kind of system of

signification that was extremely limiting and highly didactic. However much Blake is

informed by the Whitney emblem tradition and by the Gothic art he so prized, Blake

introduces an element of fluidity to the otherwise fixed system of meaning and

correspondence.

The complexity of Blake's approach to uniting the visual and verbal is most

fully captured if we can consider the interplay of textual and graphic as dialectic;

however, it is a kind of dialectic which keeps thesis and anti-thesis from a final, ending

synthesis. Thus text and graphic inform each other, but do not necessarily progress into

some final, closed unity. However, W. J. T. Mitchell describes Blake's combined text

and illustration in his Blake's Composite Art:

neither the graphic nor the
poetic aspect of Blake's composite art assumes
consistent predominance: their relationship is
more like an energetic rivalry, a dialogue or
dialectic between vigorously independent
modes of expression. (4)

The use of "dialectic" here seems rather loose, given that Blake's "dialectic" is so clearly

different, even antithetical, to the dialectical process of thesis => antithesis => synthesis.

Indeed, Mitchell's point about text and illustration is that one never synthesizes the

other, though he does not interrogate his own use of the concept of dialectic. In

contrast, Stuart Peterfreund asserts that "William Blake rejects the proposition that











human understanding arises from dialectical logic" (38). That is, where binaries are

concerned, one need never occlude the other, in the process of it becoming known or

understandable. Thus Urizen is both Blake himself and Newton at the same time. Or,

as Blake writes in the "Grey Monk," a "Tear is an Intellectual Thing" (489, 1.29); it is

not emotional or rational, but both.

Mitchell's sense of the dialectic in Blake changed markedly from his 1978

Blake's Composite Art to his 1996 "Chaosthetics."2 In "Chaosthetics," Mitchell writes

that "terms like form and chaos, sanity and madness, are dialectical categories that are

mutually necessary to one another for their meaning." But further, "they cannot be

resolved in some higher synthesis (Hegelian or otherwise) but are continually

reinscribed as boundaries of the thinkable" (448). To grasp Blake's use of the dialectic

as an organizing principle, we likely need to reconsider the very grounds for an

argument that would assert any singular and consistent use of any one kind of dialectic

(or non-dialectic, for that matter). For indeed, there are likely many instances of Blake

putting various kinds of dialectical relationships into play. In terms of the

compositeness of Blake's art and whether there is one nameable dialectic relationship

which remains constant as far as text and design are concerned, it is likely safest to

conclude that there is no one type of relationship that inheres all the time; rather Blake's

composite art forces us to evaluate each text and design combination as we come to it,

in its context, and in context of what we have previously seen. As Fred Dortort writes,

"Not simply dialectical in the sense of one being in opposition to the other, the

interaction between text and graphics continuously fluctuates" (23).











However much the reader might vacillate regarding the nature of Blake's

dialectical procedure though, it is clear that the often-quoted "without contraries is no

progression" dictum is more complicated than just some master progress-narrative of

repression and obliteration, which Blake's England had likely taken to heart all too

readily, and which Blake scholarship sometimes takes at face value (Marriage of

Heaven and Hell, Plate3). Thus we must read Blake's composite art with the sense in

mind that text and illustration are likely to function in more complex ways than one-to-

one relationships, but that those complex ways are not always predictable or the same.

Certainly, when we encounter illustrations which, as Mitchell writes, "do not

illustrate" it is more likely an artistically competent move by Blake than a mistake (4).

As Ault writes in Narrative Unbound, "Conflicting statements [and illustrations?] may

function to open up a play of differences rather than to indicate Blake's confusion" (xvi).

It is these "differences," and the openness of Blake's poetic page, that suggest ways in

which he was able to retain a certain fluidity in his work despite the apparent fixity of

the printed page.

Composite Art Summary

The nature and function of Blake's composite art are deeply tied to the tension

between fixity and fluidity Blake felt in producing his imaginative vision in the material

world, for the appearance of the Blakean page, and what it forces us to confront as

readers, is intensely bound up with Blake's anti-Newtonian project. That is, in place of

the Newtonian text, which claims for itself objectivity and which treats language as a

tool for description, not creation, Blake presents us with words and characters, figures











and shapes, which always seem to assert their own contextuality, and thus their

openness to our supplement of reading. Most important for the discussion which

follows is the degree to which Blake's composite art, in making material Blake's

challenge to Newtonian "single vision," forces us to deal with text and design

relationships which often operate in disruptive and self-conflicting ways. And it is the

fundamental challenge to the authority assumed by the Newtonian narrator (as

interpretive guarantor of its own text) which operates in Blake's composite art that I will

argue to be operating with equal force through Blake's marginalia.

In Chapter 2 I will examine more closely the tension between fixity and fluidity

as Blake expresses it in his work in order to more fully explore that cluster of symbols

which includes the book, the metal plate, writing and reading.

Notes

1. To situate this discussion in terms of my earlier invention versus discovery
discussion, I need to clarify that what inheres in a text is, arguably, there to be
discovered. However, I think Blake's art in particular is of a type that invites this kind
of discovery, only to require a certain revisionary invention. That is, it is a process of
discovery which undermines itself as discovery at numerous key junctures. In this
sense, the reader seems always required to (re)invent his or her reading strategies in
order to manage non-conventional textual moments. Again, Calvino recalling Barthes:
"Barthes tends to think of literature as the awareness that language has of being
language, of having a density of its own, and its own independent existence" (28-29).

2. Mitchell's use of "dialectic" in terms of Blake's work had, in fact, changed by his
1994 Picture Theory in which he notes that "interactive opposition" in Blake is "not
necessarily resolution or Hegelian synthesis" (114, note 8).





































Figure 1-1 William Blake's "Newton" (Ault, Visionary Physics, frontispiece)














































Figure 1-2 "Good and Evil Angels Fighting for Possession of a Child,"
and detail, Plate 4, Marriage of Heaven and Hell
(Ackroyd Blake book cover; Bindman 110)









41













.. '- II-


ir A:- .d ,.
A,,








ri ,















Figure 1-3 William Blake's Laocoon
(www.betatesters.com/penn/)


J i -'
|! i
. -"(

'.


n
















































Figure 1-4 Urizen(?) in "America" and
Orc(?) in "America" (Blake's 'America: A Prophecy' and
'Europe: A Prophecy' facsimile Plates 10 and 12 Copy M)










43





















s1 EA iF













Figure 1-5 "Envy" from Whitney's Choice of Emblems (94)














CHAPTER 2
FIXITY AND FLUIDITY

There is no difference between what a book talks about and how it is made.
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (4)

What a book talks about. How it is made. What is the connection? Deleuze and

Guattari suggest that there is such a deep connection between what a book talks about and

how it is made that the divide between subject matter and the process of creation

disappears. Important for the context of such a claim, however, is their conception of

what an "author" is, and thus what goes into making a book. Deleuze and Guattari write

of themselves as authors: "each of us [is] several ... we have been aided, inspired,

multiplied" (1). And later, "There are no individual statements" (37). This is to suggest

the complex multiplicity of drives and desires that intersect at those moments we name

(invoke the name of) an author; an author is not a stable, unchanging unity, or a coherent,

repeating philosophy, however much that model might be idealized by reading practices

that seek stable and coherent meanings in and between texts (and thus stable and coherent

authors as guarantors of that meaning).

Much of the early critical work on Blake, even the projects that brought Blake into

the Western canon, tended to treat "Blake" as a smooth set of practices and beliefs that

did not contradict or interrogate each other. It seems as though systematizing Blake, or

finding Blake's system, was assumed to be the only way to save the poet from early











charges of eccentricity and madness. (Joseph Farington, a member of the Royal

Academy, writes in his diary: "Blakes eccentric designs [to Young's Night Thoughts]

were mentioned... Hoppner ridiculed the absurdity of his designs ... They were like the

conceits of a drunken fellow or a madman" (Bentley 58).) Northrop Frye, writing around

1947, tells us in his opening sentence that Fearful Symmetry "offers an explanation of

Blake's thought" (3; my italics). And anything admitted to the "canon" of Blake's work

"not only belongs in a unified scheme but is in accord with a permanent structure of

ideas" (14). The tense dualism that requires Blake consistently be either mad or sane

informs Frye's work, since it functions to gauge the success of the critical project itself; if

Blake can be proven sane, criticism has done something worthwhile. Curiously though,

the need to prove a structure in Blake, the requirement to untangle contradictions, speaks

as much in unison with those voices who would charge Blake with madness as against

them. For Frye persists in his deeply systematizing project (which itself is to

discover-never to invent-the systematic and coherent structure of Blake's canon) while

arguing that Blake "demonstrates ... the sanity of genius and the madness of the

commonplace mind" (13). Frye, in developing the importance of Berkeley's dictum esse

estpercipi (to be is to be perceived) in understanding Blake, forces the possibility that, if

Blake is perceived to be mad, then perhaps he is mad. But while Frye does not address

the tension his own work elicits, I would argue that it should fall to criticism now, not to

prove that Blake is sane, but rather to question "madness" itself as a politically and

culturally formulated category. Critical work may raise such questions implicitly by

disavowing the impulse to explain by systematizing, which often amounts to proving











"sanity" by ignoring "madness." W. J. T. Mitchell, in "Chaosthetics," allows for the

possibility that "Blake was a bit mad some of the time, in different ways on different

occasions, and that he was equally sane (also in different ways) on others" (448).

In addition to Fearful Symmetry, works like S. Foster Damon's A Blake

Dictionary show that need to explain Blake as a consistent and reliable author in order to

prove his sanity, again as though the requirement to explain did not just as easily confirm

Blake's "madness." The tension that inheres in Frye's Fearful Symmetry-between

declarations that Blake is not mad, which depend on proving a Blakean system, and our

ability to show that system only by flattening contradiction-informs Damon's book as

well. For example, Damon writes with confidence that "'gold' signifies 'intelligence'"

(xii). But 3 sentences later, "Blake's symbols are not mechanical or inflexible" (xii).

Damon asserts that "[Blake] introduced flat contradictions, which can be resolved only

when the meaning is understood" (x). But what if the contradiction is the meaning? Or

what if what Blake meant was to create a text, a space for the reader, which made

contradiction possible, even forced it as a condition of reading? What new kind of

reading does this require? Damon continues, "System there is, but it must be discovered"

(x). And further, "The purpose of this dictionary is to make things easier for readers"

(xi). Interesting to note is that critical programs like Damon's are often accompanied by

an equally rigorous and systematizing (that is, normalizing) editorial policy (more on

Blake anthologies below). As Damon notes, "like all Blake scholars, I have felt free to

repunctuate in the interest of clarity" ("Note" 1).











The impulse to explain as it manifests in editorial decisions is evident in what

seems the usual, and for that reason transparent, practice of grounding Blake's poetry in

reference to literary "tradition." For example, David Worrall, in his Urizen Books, offers

this textual note to accompany Plate 3, verse 1 of The Book ofAhania: "Fuzon's chariot

echoes Milton's 'Chariot of Paternal Deitie, / Flashing thick in flames' in Paradise Lost.

.. For other flaming horses and chariots see Butlin [nos. 385, 386, 390]" (184). What

does this note do? Milton's verse itself could be explicated with reference to further

sources; we are offered a curious kind of information in this textual note. It seems

haunted by the spectre of a critical desire to prove Blake's "sanity" by traditionalizing

him: showing what or who Blake is like, what he might have read, or what he might have

seen. The very concept of an echo is confusing in this sense-echo: "the repetition of a

sound caused be a sound wave coming against some opposing surface ... to imitate ...

to flatter slavishly" (Webster's 127). Does Fuzon's chariot do something outside the

text? Does the reader (only Worrall?) call into the caverns of his or her reading

experience in hopes of hearing something back? Does the text itself voice something?

Does it hear back? When does echo stop being echo? When the chariots no longer

flame? Certainly such a textual note is a valuable piece of information, and I am not

suggesting it be removed. But is it all we need to know, if we need to know anything?

What motivates the editor to provide such information and how does it affect the

possibilities of our reading?


Here and Now









48

If there is a fundamental difference between projects which explain Blake to make

things easier and the present one, it is that I am not trying to smooth contradictions or

tensions, so much as I want to draw attention to them and consider what develops from

leaving them in place. That is, what happens if we can learn to read with difficulty

instead of with ease? What happens when not everything fits, or when everything fits in

different ways?'

In this chapter, I pursue the tensions introduced by Blake as a deeply self-reflexive

author, and I examine the explicit way in which the subject of Blake's books, that is, what

they talk about, is deeply connected to how they are made. Nelson Hilton and Thomas A.

Vogler, in their "Introduction" to Unnam'd Forms, suggest that Blake's was a "print

consciousness" and that "material traces of Blake's writing practice ... [are] an integral

part of whatever artistic meaning can be read in Blake's texts" (6). What Deleuze and

Guattari highlight for me, as I try to extend my reading of Blake as an artist aware of

material processes, is the conception of the book as always a production of print

consciousness, but one stemming from an "author" as intersection of multiplicities

(perhaps multiple multiplicities, and perhaps self-contradictory). The page (the many

pages of any author) is thus a site for many, potentially contradictory, self-interfering

impulses and pressures, which find their way from writing practice to printed page.

In this chapter I look at Blake's "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence and The

Book of Urizen (mainly as they are printed in Erdman's Collected Poetry and Prose of

William Blake), in addition to other of Blake's work, in terms of the tension between

fixity and fluidity, although these terms are by no means themselves always mutually









49

exclusive, or fixed. Generally, I pursue the fixity of Blake having to attach what he called

Poetic Genius, or inspiration, to the material page (and thus to participate in limiting

imagination to the frame of the book), contrasted to the fluidity Blake seemed to have

believed to inhere in the poet's vision and in the "infinite" he alludes to in The Marriage

of Heaven and Hell. I set up the conceptual fixity-versus-fluidity framework in order to

further elaborate books, writing and reading as elements of one of the most persistent and

present constellation of symbols throughout Blake's work. (Erdman has called a portion

of this "Blake's workshop symbolism" (Illuminated Blake 13).) This context will

become extremely important for subsequent chapters in which I set Blake's marginalia as

a practice deeply informed by (and informing of) Blake's theories of reading and writing.

Important for chapter 2 is to examine how Blake is implicated in the fixity/fluidity

tension, since he must, due to the material conditions of book production, fix his fluid

vision to the page. Blake's willingness to implicate himself in processes otherwise

associated with such figures as Urizen (and Newton), such as binding vision into book

form, suggests to me the complexity with which Blake approached his work as an artist in

what Stuart Peterfreund called "a Newtonian World" (Blake in a Newtonian World).

Books: Real and Ideal

The process of much of Blake's art, his writing practice, was a physical and

material one, often more muscular than just pen and paper would require. The tools of

Blake's work included the graver, the burin, acid washes, metal plates, and a rolling press

with 4 foot spokes, used as handles, to turn the press. (The Tate Britain's Blake

exhibition had on display a press similar to the one Blake would have used; Abraham











Bosse's "Cette figure vous montre Comme on Imprime les planches de taille douce"

[Tate #99] shows an apprentice printer using both hands and a foot to turn the great

wheel.) Blake describes his method in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell as "printing in

the infernal method" (Plate 14). "If the doors of perception were cleansed," he writes,

"every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite" (Plate 14). It is important to note that

Blake posits his printing method, the infernal method, as a way to produce books, as a

way to teach a certain kind of reading and, ultimately, a certain kind of perception. His

process of relief etching was, in fact, directly contrary to the standard method of the day,

intaglio engraving (a technique Blake would have learned as an apprentice and at the

Royal Academy) (Ackroyd et al. 104). Thus what the book is about, ultimately, is how it

was made, for it is made to teach (by requiring) a different kind of reading strategy. The

book printed in the infernal method is to communicate a depth and clarity of vision.

Deleuze and Guattari pursue their own version of this book, suggesting that "the ideal for

a book would be to lay everything out on a plane of exteriority... on a single page, the

same sheet: lived events, historical determinations, concepts, individuals, groups, social

formations" (9). Nothing would be hidden.

But this is the ideal. In the real world of books, even A Thousand Plateaus is

bound by the conventions, the material necessities, of ink and paper and hands turning

pages. They have attempted to confound traditional reading, to counter "the State as the

model of the book" by writing in "plateaus." They write, "a book composed of chapters

has culmination and termination points." But plateaus "can be read starting anywhere and

can be related to any other plateau" (22). (Of course, we still cannot begin mid-sentence











somewhere in the book and hope for things to make sense, so really, we cannot start

"anywhere.") For Deleuze and Guattari, the form of the book is a political option: one

choice among many. "To attain the multiple," they write, "one must have a method that

effectively constructs it" (22; my italics).

Blake's method is clearly set up to oppose certain reading practices; for him,

creating form is also choosing a political option. I covered this, in part, in Chapter 1 in

my analysis of Blake's text as anti-Newtonian. But if the ideal is to print in the infernal

method, to reveal the infinite, to lay everything out on a plane of exteriority, to make all

interpretive options equally accessible, then what is the reality of the book? And how

does that reality intersect with the very reading practices Blake works against? Take, for

example, the reality of a Blake edition like David Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose

of William Blake. Northrop Frye described Blake as the "victim of anthologies" because

of the limited way in which they tended to represent the artist. Beyond the "dozen or so

of his lyrics," normally collected in the anthologies Frye was familiar with, "we are

threatened with a formidable bulk of complex symbolic poems known as 'Prophecies'"

(3). But even if anthologizers now feel less threatened by collecting more than just

Blake's lyrics, Frye's assertion continues to hold true.

Blake is still the victim of anthologies, even of anthologies like Erdman's: likely

the best available edition in terms of inclusivity, textual notation, and affordability. It

aims "to supply a sounder more uncluttered text for reading than has been heretofore

available" (xxiii). However, we know that it includes only a fraction of the artwork








52

which is to accompany Blake's texts. (And only some artwork which is to stand alone.)

As Donald Ault writes in "Unreading 'London"'2:

in its [Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William
Blake] attempts to approximate through conventional
printing methods the subversive materiality and visual
dimension of variant copies, this text acknowledges not
only the radical openness of Blake's poems to conflicting
readings but also ... the resistance of these poems to being
"read" at all, in the conventional sense of that verb. (132)

Erdman's edition typesets what should otherwise appear in handwriting. It chooses

among many possible textual variants. It regularizes lettering, capitalization, sizing,

spacing, even punctuation at points ("Most of the corrections of text have been small,

corrections of spelling and capitalization and of editorial bracketing or spacing" (xxv)).

My point is certainly not to disparage what is the most accessible Blake edition

available; I use it throughout the present work. In fact, many Blake editions do not even

consider that textual, let alone narrative, inconsistencies (so-called) might be intentional

and thus should be reproduced, or that interpretive possibilities (intentional or otherwise)

opened by a text, rather than being regularized and shut down, can be made to remain

open. Duncan Wu, in his commentary to The First Book of Urizen, asserts that the "I" of

stanza 2 is "Blake, the poet, receiving] the dictation of the Eternals" (100). And in The

Book of Urizen as anthologized by Johnson and Grant, the editors assert that "The Book of

Urizen is about Urizen but not by him" (140). However, one could just as easily assert

that the "T' is, like the only other "I" in certain copies of the poem, Urizen himself, and

that the book is the book of, as in created/owned/produced by, Urizen. Viscomi,

following many other commentators, notes that the title The [First] Book of Urizen









53

"underscores the idea that Urizen is a parody of Genesis, the first book of Moses" (280).

Clearly Genesis is not the first book about Moses but, traditionally, by him; to suggest

that a book of Urizen is as much by as about him is not such a stretch.

Perhaps it is even Urizen, not "the poet" (if even that is necessarily "Blake"

himself), who hears the Eterals "gladly" because he can take their version of the story

("of" Urizen) and put it into his own words, thus offering his perspective (line 5).

Consider how radically this alters our reading. If Urizen is writing for himself the words

of the Eternals as they are spoken to him, then lines like "He strove in battles dire / In

unseen conflictions with shapes / Bred from his forsaken wilderness" (Plate 3, 13-15)

become the cry of an oppressed hero who is struggling to survive despite having been

forsaken by those who might help him. If we believe Wu, and Johnson and Grant, that

Urizen is not speaking, but is being spoken of, then we must close the possibility that

Urizen himself has been forsaken, for line 15 would imply that the wilderness has been

corrupted by Urizen's presence, not that it and he have both been abandoned.

The fact remains that there is simply no justification for assertions like those of

Johnson and Grant or Wu which look to control by limiting interpretive possibility, other

than to make things easier for the reader. Indeed, denying one interpretive choice which

we might make based on the title alone, before even getting to the text, closes down

innumerable possible interpretive branchings that might result. My general point is to

highlight the reality of books, writing and reading, and the problems printing and

production introduce into our study of any text or version. In this I feel the tension

between fixity and fluidity-between stable meanings and changing possibilities-which is









54

to inform the readings I make of Blake's work in this chapter. There are, finally, certain

pragmatics we cannot idealize away.

Fixity, Fluidity, Inspiration

Much of the fixity-fluidity tension arises from the way in which Blake expresses

his conception of poetic inspiration and artistic execution. Take for instance, the implicit

tensions on the artist in the 1809 Descriptive Catalogue. Blake writes in defense of

"representing spirits with real bodies" in painting (541), suggesting that there is

something different in the real bodies than in the spirits which they represent.

Specifically, Blake is referring to the work on display at his 1809 exhibition, held at his

brother James' shop at the comer of Broad Street, Golden Square, in London. He

describes one work as "the spiritual form of Nelson guiding Leviathan" and another as

"the spiritual form of Pitt, guiding Behemoth" (528-530). Blake makes clear his

conception of the bodily form as something different though derived from inspiration.

That spirits are bodied forth by the artist suggests Blake's deep awareness of the

processes of mediation which occur between vision and material product.

In defending his style as one of strong outlines lineamentss) against the "blotting

and blurring" (529) of oil, Blake makes the case for poetic visions being "organized and

minutely articulated beyond all that the mortal and perishing nature can produce" (541).

The artist's vision comes to him "minutely organized," and thus he must create in a

medium which allows for such minute organization to be communicated. "Spirits,"

writes Blake, "are organized by men" (542). There is clearly no interrogation here of that

tension between the fluidity of inspiration and the artist having to fix that vision to the










page: it is simply what happens. To complicate matters, Blake seems to be arguing that

vision itself is already minutely organized despite it having to be organized by men, thus

perhaps mitigating the culpability of the artist in limiting vision to the page. In the

rhetorical move which posits a visionary world that arrives to the artist already organized,

already "fixed" in some ways, Blake is obfuscating his own complicity in organizing and

fixing vision, and thus in limiting imagination. Erdman notes that Blake, as printer,

illustrator and publisher of his own work, "guaranteed the direct communication of the

author's original and final 'invention' and 'illumination' to the... reader... of each

original copy" (Illuminated Blake 10). However, as we see in the Descriptive Catalogue,

Blake implies that there is a stage prior to invention-a stage of spirits-with which the

poet has to contend. So while the communication from invention to reader might be

perfect, since Blake executes his own invention, there is much to suggest that the stage

from inspiration to invention (from the "spirit" of Nelson to the "real [represented by the

artist] body" of Nelson, only named as Blake begins to draw it on the page) might be

more complicated.

If Blake does not pursue the tensions involved in such mediation in the

Descriptive Catalogue, we must make allowances for context and recall that Blake is in

the business of selling. He aligns himself with a tradition that, in large part, he himself

imagines ("Michael Angelo" [sic] and "Rafael" [sic]) and against another (Titian, Rubens

and "Correggio" [sic]). Yet he is writing as the voice of one, crying in the wilderness, for

his water colours "are regularly refused to be exhibited by the Royal Academy, and the

British Institution" (527-528). In setting himself up as the oppressed artist, Blake,











perhaps by necessity, underplays the sorts of tensions he otherwise elicits on the

composite page. In trying to sell his work, Blake is unlikely to present himself as

ambivalent about his practice as an artist, and thus he effaces much of the otherwise

conflicting tensions apparent elsewhere. Nowhere in the Descriptive Catalogue do we

find the same sort of ambivalence about such organization that is otherwise so persistent

in Blake's work.

One immediately obvious example of this ambivalence is in The Tyger, in which

the narrator asks himself directly, "What immortal hand or eye, / Could frame thy fearful

symmetry?" Indeed, even this question becomes "What immortal hand or eye, / Dare

frame thy fearful symmetry?" by the end of the poem (lines 4 and 24), suggesting that the

question is not just one of artistic ability, but is one which involves the choice to

transgress some kind of boundary. "Dare" certainly connotes a sense of threat and

consequence where "could" does not. The option to transgress also invites the question:

whose authority legitimates the boundary to begin with? Is it God's? Tradition's? The

Royal Academy's?

Further, as is clear from Blake's drafts of the poem, he chose to change the

original "Dare form thy fearful symmetry" to "Dare frame thy fearful symmetry" (795),

likely to evoke even more specifically the materiality of representation. In this poem,

composed entirely of questions, the narrator is deeply ambivalent about the artist's

capacity to frame the subject in the confines of a representing medium. Indeed, the kind

of minute organization called for in the Descriptive Catalogue is by no means an

uncompromised endeavour if we believe the narrator in The Tyger: "On what wings dare











he aspire? / What the hand dare seize the fire?" (7-8). Harold Bloom describes the

illustrated tiger as "a shabby pawn-shop sort of stuffed tiger" with "a confused and rather

worried smile on what the text would hold is the fearful symmetry of his countenance"

(35; Figure 2-1). Bloom seems to work from the assumption that Blake tried to, but could

not, draw tigers very well. Admittedly, it is not a particularly awe-inspiring tiger. (Nor is

the lion in Urizen, Plate 23; Illuminated Blake, 205.) The point remains, however, that

the illustration does, in fact illustrate what the poem is about, much more than it

illustrates the mere text of the poem. For while the text tells us of fearful symmetry, the

poem is about being afraid of symmetry. So even if Blake could not draw tigers very

well, it is significant that he clearly realized the fact, and from that realization came the

questions we read posed in "The Tyger." Perhaps the fearful symmetry, which the

narrator ascribes to the tiger, speaks more to some impossibility of the poet achieving

symmetry between visions (of tigers, of the cosmos) and what she or he must produce of

those visions in the material world. Is the narrator afraid of the impossibility of achieving

symmetry between vision and execution? Is Blake?

My general point is definitely not to make the charge that Blake "contradicts

himself": that is, at one point he questions the effects of organizing/framing vision, at

another he does not, and at still another, he suggests that vision is already minutely

organized and is thus not limited by the artist. On the contrary, the conception of the

author as a multiplicity, as Deleuze and Guattari suggest, would make it quite easy to see

a different Blake writing in each of these instances, and each of them equally "right."

What comes from this does not require that we synthesize the contradictions, but that the











contradictions as contradictions speak to a difficult tension between vision and

materiality, fluidity and fixity, that Blake himself struggled with constantly.

Working Blake

I discuss Blake's "method," although he employed many, in order to highlight

some of the material conditions of his work as an artist and engraver, and in order to

suggest how those material conditions influenced his artistic vision. As Jean Hagstrum

has written, "[Blake] was deeply involved even in what he rejected" (143). Hagstrum's

particular argument focuses on Blake's rejection of the Enlightenment, despite his deep

involvement with its styles and ideas. Blake, as any satirist, needed a certain familiarity,

needed even to admit a certain implication in and complicity with, that which he satirized.

Northrop Frye writes, "it is not so much that Blake is unfair to them [Newton, Bacon or

Locke] personally" (187), and later "not one of these thinkers are as opposed to Blake's

mode of thought as, for instance, Hobbes, whom [Blake] never mentions" (188). Frye,

like Hagstrum, identifies in Blake the impulse he had to involve himself in the systems

and ideas against which he worked, at the same time (and perhaps as a necessary

corollary) to the way in which he involved them in his poetry. Thus the importance of the

"Newtonian world" (as Stuart Peterfreund calls it), and the Newtonian currents against

which Blake chose to swim in his poetry. For Blake could not possibly have ignored the

Newtonian or imagined it out of his poetry. On the contrary, he imagined it deeply within

his composite art, by way of a challenge to what he perceived as its basic errors, that is,

its sense of an a priori order to the universe which could be found and described and yet

remain unaffected by the inescapable textuality of that discovery and "description."









59

Joseph Viscomi describes Blake's artistic practice as one in which "the language

of the medium frames and generates conception, and in which invention and execution

are inseparable" (Blake and the Idea of the Book 32). Not surprisingly, Blake often

signed his work, "The Author and Printer W Blake," as he did in Milton (Erdman,

Illuminated Blake 217), in order to highlight the fact that he had kept intact those two

elements of artistic production he thought so important: invention and execution. As a

working engraver, though, Blake often had to execute other artist's inventions, and, as

Bentley's Blake Records show, other artists often executed Blake's inventions. For

Robert Blair's The Grave, for example, Blake made 13 illustrations, though 12 of those

were eventually engraved by Schiavonetti, despite Blake having been commissioned by

Robert Hartley Cromek to design and engrave the illustrations (Bentley 166-172; 617).

Blake writes, in a letter to Flaxman, that "Mr. Cromek ... wished me to produce.

.. about twenty designs ... [he] has set me to engrave them" (Bentley 168). But in the

prospectus to Blair's work, Cromek describes 'Twelve very spirited engravings by Louis

Schiavonetti, from Designs Invented by William Blake" (169). Inasmuch as Bentley

describes Cromek as an engraver "who was just venturing forth as an entrepreneur and

promoter" (167), and that the business arrangements between Blake and Cromek for the

Blair illustrations were, at best, confused, recent Blake biographer Peter Ackroyd is quite

right to have concluded that Blake was "part of the first great period of commercialism

and mass manufacture in English history, and he was one of its first casualties" (75). In

fact, where Blake referred to "my friend Cromek" early in the Blair project, afterwards,

Blake was to write in his notebook, "A petty Sneaking Knave I knew / O Mr Cr------, how









60

do ye do" (Bentley 171). Likely because of instances like this one, Blake makes clear that

one of the many aspects of mass producing art, and of producing art for profit, with which

he disagreed most was the separation of invention and execution.

Blake's materials included, at various times, pencil, paper, ink, copper plates,

varnish and ground, graver, aqua fortis, water colours and pigment (Erdman, Illuminated

Blake 11). While Blake actually practiced a number of different styles of engraving,

printing and painting, I focus here on his copper-plate engraving, what he called relief-

etching. Blake began with a copper plate, cut to size from a larger metal sheet. He then

roughed out his designs (words, illustrations, or both) with white or red chalk. He painted

over the chalk outlines with a mixture of salad oil and candle grease. The grease-oil

mixture would resist the aqua fortis-made of vinegar, salt armoniack, baysalt and ver de

griz-which bit into the unprotected areas of the metal plate. The designs Blake had

painted with salad oil and candle grease would appear raised from the plate as the acid

mixture bit in. Once the designs had been "revealed," Blake applied ink using a common

printer's ball of cloth, and the plate was pressed onto paper. Blake made a preliminary

wash for the paper with glue and water, and then hand-painted the words and images with

a distemper of water, pigment and carpenter's glue. In some cases, it appears that Blake

painted directly on the copper plate; this produces a more mottled, blotchy page. Joseph

Viscomi's Blake and the Idea of the Book is a minutely detailed elucidation of Blake's

relief-etching technique. Viscomi himself prepared plates using what he presumed to be

Blake's methods to see what results they yielded.








61

The significance of Blake's technique are many. It was often a literally revelatory

process-as acids dissolved surface layers-and thus deeply tied to Blake's conception of

what art should do by way of teaching a different kind of reading, and, by extension, a

different kind of being in the world. Whether the material method led to the poetic theory

or vice versa is the stuff of chickens and eggs; the two were undoubtedly interconstitutive

and operated in a feedback loop. Important is that Blake could unite invention and

execution where the mass production of art would divorce those two. Each copy would

come out slightly different because of the hand-painting. Viscomi explains that "an

impression pulled from a painted plate necessarily depletes the colors ... if unreplenished

the colors produce a substantially less intense image" (280). Oddly, Viscomi refers to

this as part of the "exigencies of the technique," though I would argue that Blake chose

the technique because it rendered a product most in line with his artistic ideals (280). As

I asserted in Chapter 1 in relation to Mitchell's discussion of "Newton," that the

technique produced unpredictable results does not suggest that Blake was therefore

indifferent to those results. On the contrary, Blake seems to have intended

unpredictability, even chaos, in his work-the background in Newton for example.

Through this type of engraving and printing, and by virtue of the variations it produced,

Blake could work against the Newtonian single vision which sought uniformity and

intellectual, not imaginative, investigation.

Fixity: Fluidity : Song : Book

In the "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence, Blake figures the process of

inspiration being given material form on the page. The metaphor which underlies what











might otherwise appear to be the simple action of the poem suggests the impossible

dilemma of the artist whose vision comes from the non-rational world of imagination, yet

who must fix that vision in material form for it to be shared. The tension between the

fluidity Blake associates with poetic imagination and the fixity of the material page is also

evident in The Book ofUrizen. Urizen is situated between the fluid "Etemals" (which

represent, to him, unlivable disorder) and the fixity of the world he wants to create (a

"solid without fluctuation," he calls it), though both of these "states" are compromised

and ambiguous.

As I have suggested previously, in my discussion of Blake's "Newton," for

example, there is a marked degree to which Blake implicates himself in the tendencies

toward fixity, which, as an artist in the material world, he cannot escape. And so there is

a great degree of self-reflexivity, especially in The Book of Urizen. For example, Urizen

legitimates his authority as creator of a prescriptive world system-the very thing Blake

supposedly works against-in books of metal which are clearly analogous to Blake's own

engraved metal plates. While working through his own implication in and participation

with the Newtonian, Urizenic world of systems and metal plates, Blake does fight to

retain a degree of fluidity in his work. He produces and reproduces his work in such a

way as to ensure an individual uniqueness for each version, and Blake rarely settles on a

fixed order for plates within works or for works within collections. The challenge is

clearly to any sense of final closure a poetic project might have.











Frontispieces to Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Before looking at the "Introduction" specifically, it is productive to note some of

the key differences between the illustration on the Innocence frontispiece and that on the

Experience frontispiece; therein we find a graphic representation of the dubious

relationship between artist and inspiration Blake will explore directly in the

"Introduction" (Figures 2-2 and 2-3). In the Innocence frontispiece, a naked child flies

above the head of a bard or piper; Essick's commentary in William Blake at the

Huntington suggests that "the piper is a persona for Blake himself" (50). The child flies

on or with a cloud arrangement compressed within foliage and branches of twining trees

which bracket the left and right margins of the page. In this arrangement we are perhaps

getting a glimpse of the material world closing in upon the celestial world implied by the

cloud and child, just as our progression through the innocence collection will lead us

towards experience (we come closer and closer to experience closing over us). Erdman

suggests the contrary: "the cloud is ... inside the protection of the branching trees" (43;

my italics). Given the constant tension between the vegetative and divine worlds

throughout the songs, it seems unlikely that trees would represent "protection" of any

kind; at the very least, it may be protection whose positive aspects are haunted by

negative senses of enclosure, entrapment and containment.

The realm opened by the child for the piper is identified by Erdman as "that of the

imagination" (Illuminated Blake, 43). (Consider, however, that the Piper in the

"Introduction" to Innocence is already piping songs when the child appears, suggesting

that he does have access to imaginative energy without the child. What the child, in the









64

"Introduction," seems to provide is more like the impetus to put creative energy into some

form which can be shared with others: that "Every child may joy to hear" (line 20); I

would still call this inspiration, though of a specific type.) It is crucial to note that in the

frontispiece illustration the child and piper are not in material contact with each other;

rather, the piper watches attentively, with his pipe ready, looking at/to the flying child

whose arms are open in a gesture which suggests he is presenting the heavens above to

the piper. Harold Bloom, in Visionary Company, asserts that "the design in the

frontispiece is of a shepherd dropping his pipe ... So the Songs are not piped" (34);

however, it is clear from the picture that the piper holds his pipe, and it is clear from the

text that he does pipe a song. (The narrator tells us as much directly.) Bloom's rush to

get to the writing of the song misses the progression from pre-linguistic to textual

expression so important to the poem.

As the text of the "Introduction" tells us, the child in the poem is "on a cloud,"

defying the laws of the rational world. However, in the frontispiece to Experience, the

"piper" (though he no longer carries his pipe) holds the child (now figured with angelic

wings) against his head. The Experience frontispiece does not directly illustrate any

specific textual moment, as the Introduction frontispiece does. That such direct relations

are no longer present works as a good reminder that we are, in fact, entering into the

world of experience, in which nothing is as easy as it was in the world of innocence (if it

was even "easy" then). (For example, questions are posed and answered in "The Lamb";

they are only posed in "The Tyger," and then without question marks.) In the Experience

frontispiece, the two figures are in direct contact, unlike in the Innocence frontispiece.











Instead of looking to the child for inspiration, the piper seems to have captured

inspiration, physically restraining the child against him, and now both figures look out

from the page to the reader. Erdman seems to see none of the dark overtones of capture

and restraint (even domination and ownership) that I would suggest are operating in the

experience frontispiece. He writes simply that the piper's hands "are holding the hands of

a naked boy who is not now on a cloud but is winged for potential flight" (70). Essick

suggests a parallel to the image of St. Christopher carrying the Christ child across a river

(56). Given the context of the "Introduction" to the collection, however, I would argue

that the change in the relationship between the piper and child is more ominous than

merely "holding hands" would suggest. That the child might be prepared for "potential"

flight is less important than the fact that he is not flying, and indeed would have to escape

the piper's grasp to fly. In addition, the flight would be more "believable" in the sense

that the child has wings. Thus his ability to fly would be explained to some degree,

especially if we assume that the child is not now a child but a winged angel. In the

Innocence frontispiece, the child flies without explanation.

Curiously, the Experience piper steps towards us with his right foot leading,

whereas the Innocence piper steps forward with his left foot leading (Erdman, Illuminated

Blake 70). Erdman does not comment on the significance of this. Perhaps the piper has

implicitly moved, or "taken a step," towards reaching us as readers, in that from looking

to inspiration, he has now captured inspiration; the next "step" for the artist is towards the

reader. Perhaps, in experience, we are more aware of the artist as mediator between

vision and page, where in innocence, we assume no complications between visionary and











everyday worlds. In the Experience collection, we might see the artist having moved

towards us; that is, he has become more concerned with (or is now faced with) the world

of experience. Despite the tendency to see pictures as "spatial" and text as "linear," it

seems that Blake is inviting a pictorial linearity in having the Innocence and Experience

frontispieces so clearly connected, though with changes to reflect some progression or

movement in the larger thematic story. Mitchell describes this: "any words we find to

describe the frontispiece to Experience will have to involve transformations and reversals

of the language discovered in the poem and illustration which introduce Songs of

Innocence" (5). As I show below, the "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence works

through the pattern which implicitly links the innocence and experience frontispieces: the

increasing mediation between artist and inspiration. What complicates the "Introduction"

to Innocence is that sense of the necessity for the poet to fix inspiration to the page, just

as the piper is eventually illustrated as seizing and restraining inspiration.

"Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence

The "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence is an apparently simple poem, as are

many in the collection. The poem maintains its regular trochaic tetrameter from start to

finish with no irregularities, broken words, or enjambments. The A-B-A-B rhyme is only

abandoned in stanza 3, in which lines 1 and 3 end with "pipe" and "again" respectively,

and in the final stanza in which lines 1 and 3 end in "pen" and "songs" respectively. The

first non-rhyme is revealing in that it reminds of the insistence with which the child

compels the piper to put his "Piping" into nameable form and content: that is, the child

asks for a "song about a Lamb" (line 5). Notably, the child requests that the Piper play









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the song "again" and sing the song "again" (lines 7 and 11). It is not until the Piper writes

his song down "In a book that all may read" (14) that the child vanishes and thus does not

request a repetition. The need for repetition by the artist until the point at which writing

occurs suggests the precarious valence writing will have in this poem particularly (as I

explore below) and in many other instances throughout Blake's work. For it is a process

by which imaginative vision can be shared (without its having to be repeated by the

artist), but also the point at which that vision, or creative energy, is forced into one fixed

form upon the page and the possibility of its ever becoming something else is closed

(though Blake's art certainly works to disrupt that closure to some degree).

The second non-rhyme points to the uneasy relationship between the artist's

"pen," as mediator between inspiration and material page, and the "songs" as necessarily

mediated forms of inspiration, though perhaps slightly different than their written (not

sung) counterpart. The immediate context of the "Introduction" in the songs of innocence

(either about or from innocence) likely invites a simple reading.

What makes the "Introduction" so fascinating is not that Blake dismisses the

rational world in favour of the visionary, but rather that he acknowledges materiality as

inescapable: a necessary reality of artistic production. The first stanza introduces the

Piper, "Piping down the valleys wild / Piping songs of pleasant glee" (7). The Piper is

suggestively representative of the artist, and the simplicity of his pleasant songs is likely

meant to remind us of the apparent simplicity of the very Songs we are reading. It is also

important that the Piper is not silent, and thus not devoid of creative energy. Blake

introduces a child in line 3 who immediately defies Newtonian physical law by floating









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on a cloud. The child's call to the Piper to "Pipe a song about a Lamb" suggests that he is

some form of inspiration, though again, the Piper was not without song prior to the

child's call; that "The Lamb" is a poem in the "Innocence" collection, reminds us of

Blake's immediate involvement in what is at stake. The Piper responds willingly to the

child's call, perhaps as the artist responds to inspiration by giving form to creative energy.

The Piper's art is met by the child's curious reaction: "he wept to hear" (7). We

will discover in line 12 that the tears are tears of joy. But that the child cries to hear a

song played by the Piper foreshadows the negative aspect of the artist's limiting role in

transmitting inspiration or in giving form to (that is, fixing) imaginative energy. It is as

though Blake imagines inspiration hearing itself as translated by the artist, and then

weeping for what has been lost in that translation. Perhaps there is some part of the child

that weeps for the Piper's "songs of pleasant glee" which are now about something. The

piper's artistic mediation elicits at best a dubious response from the child. In stanza

three, the child calls for the Piper to drop his pipe and sing, which he willingly does. And

by stanza four, the Piper is called to "write / In a book that all may read" (7). Here is the

end of the progression from music to song to speech to printed word: a progression which

illustrates the movement further and further away from the Piper's first songs. Thomas

A. Vogler, in "Hearing the Songs," describes this movement: "from prelinguistic

utterance to its representation and amplification in written language." But, as Vogler

suggests, "the process may contaminate its source" (Approaches to Teaching Blake's

Songs of Innocence and of Experience 127).









69

As the Piper begins to write, the child disappears: "he vanish'd from my sight" (7).

That is, as creative energy is fixed onto the printed page (it is given definite form), the

artist closes the possibility for that creative energy to become anything else. From the

moment of possibility, at which the creative impulse might impel the artist to create any

number of things, the artist moves towards the finality of the fixed page. (Notably, part

of Blake's larger poetic project seems to have been to subvert the fixity and finality of the

finished page; examples abound, including re-ordering plates in various works or

colouring works by hand in order that each might be different from the others.) However,

the fixity of the printed page and the fluidity of inspiration are clearly at odds. Though, as

the final stanza suggests, the material page (fixity) and the creative impulse (fluidity) are

inescapable necessities if art is to be possible.

And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear
(18-20)

These lines express the complicated tension between fixity and fluidity, and are,

themselves, open to different readings which produce different valences for the artistic

act. Does the process of staining the water clear it? In this sense, does fixing vision to

the page make it clear, as in visible, to an audience? Or is the water clear to begin with

but then stained by the artist? That is, does fixing vision necessarily limit that vision to

one of what might have been many variations? (It is this sense of possibility inherent in

creative energy before it is given material form-whether final or not-which suggests to

me "fluidity.") That Blake chooses a water image-an overtly "fluid" image-to represent











the Piper's final writing of the song may function to undermine the very fixity such

writing suggests. As I had mentioned earlier, Blake seemed to work constantly against

the sense of any work being "final" or "finished." Indeed the water image here may

allude to Blake's water-colouring of the Songs themselves: a process which rendered

differences between all the versions.

Finally though, the staining of the water at least yields a material result that "every

child may joy to hear" (7). (Adults can perhaps also joy to hear, though that joy may

always be tinged by the sense of loss for what else might have come from the child's call

to the Piper to give form to his imagination. This assumes we can align children with

Innocence and adults with Experience, but even that does not seem always to be the case,

as in the "Chimney Sweeper" of Experience.) But if inspiration is to be shared, it must be

fixed to the printed page, otherwise vision remains the artist's alone. The fluid, non-

rational world of inspiration is accessible by the artist; but that part of inspiration, perhaps

represented by the child, which compels creative energy to be organized into material

form, requires that creative vision be fixed in place by the artist's pen. Without the

printed page to transmit vision, the artist is no more effective than he who does not accept

inspiration at all; the Piper, for example, becomes as solitary with his vision, or with his

songs of pleasant glee, as Urizen will later appear with his books of metal.

Orality and Books (Reading Allowed)

My discussion up to this point has not treated one of the major components of

Blake's work in general, and certainly a facet of the "Introduction" which needs attention:

the orality implicit in song as a form. Recall the rhyme in the final stanza which does not











follow the pattern A-B-A-B: Line 1 reads "And I made a rural pen" while line 3 reads

"And I wrote my happy songs" (my italics). The irregularity in the rhyme draws

particular attention to the friction between the pen as an instrument of writing, but song as

an oral form. That hearing is a sense more receptive in innocence than in experience is

suggested in The Song of Los, in which Blake writes, "the delicate ear in its infancy / May

be dull'd" as a result of growing into the world of experience (Plate 7, 5-6). (The

formation of the senses is generally imagined as a process of contraction throughout

Blake's work.) Blake is even said to have sung his compositions at various informal

gatherings (like those of the Reverend Anthony Stephen Mathew and Harriet Mathew in

Rathbone Place), though none of the music survives, if it was ever transcribed. Certainly

Blake would have been familiar with popular song; he did 9 engravings for Joseph

Ritson's Select Collection of English Songs in 1783 (Bentley 610).

Singing and speaking are clearly powerful forces in Blake's work; they perhaps

represent a movement away from the finality of the fixed, written page. The materiality

of the voice may have felt less threatening for Blake than the material permanence of

graver and metal plate, or even of pen and paper. Thus a consideration of orality bears

directly on the larger issues of fixity and fluidity at stake. It is crucial that the narrator in

the "Introduction" consoles himself with the knowledge that every child may joy to hear

the songs that he is writing. The important though implicit step is the re-enactment of the

words by the human voice to enable a hearing. (We might think, for example, of "The

Cradle Song" or "Laughing Song.") As such, even the written word when it is











reproduced has the potential to go beyond the limitations of the page upon which it was

written-to be lifted from even the finished page and thus reopened and reconsidered.

Below, I discuss some of the problems that arise for our reading Blake after he has

been processed by editors: after punctuation and syntax are regularized for example. But

would reading aloud open up these "problem" areas to allow for multiple hearings more

easily than a fixed (especially typeset) version does? Take the syntax of "LONDON,"

Copy G, for example. Blake inserts a period at the end of the first stanza, suggesting that

the narrator "marks" just marks of weakness and woe. Stanza two is kept separate from

the marking verb. Thus we begin stanza 2 reading towards a new verb, something being

done to or in every cry, every man, every voice, etc. But there is no verb to be found

unless we read-by-ignoring the period which separates the catalogue of "every's" from "I

hear," the first verb to come in stanza 2. Thus, to have access to "mark" or "hear" as the

verb connected to the nouns of stanza 2, we must read against the rules of punctuation.

(It is almost as though Blake brackets the "every" catalogue with periods to open both

verbs as equally accessible, but neither more "correct" than the other, thus emphasizing

that it is our choice to transgress syntactic, "charter'd"?, rules.) But Erdman, in The

Complete Poetry and Prose, eliminates the second period, forcing us to read "hear" as the

more syntactically correct verb.

Ironically though, if we were to "hear" the poem read aloud, the multiple semantic

possibilities would remain untroubled by the limitations of, in this case, punctuation, so

long as we cannot hear punctuation as easily as we can see it; (in other words, more

readings are allowed when we read aloud). Even if we hierarchize possible meanings as









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we hear a poem (by choosing most likely subject-verb-object connections), those choices

are still ours, not subject to an external authority (like an editor). Re-visioning the

material page as a space of contested authority will have deep implications for later

chapters, in which I consider marginalia as, in part, the creation of dialogue upon the

otherwise univocal page.

But what then is the status of "the book" in these songs? How do reading,

writing, hearing and teaching intersect? Consider that Blake's songs, Shewing the Two

Contrary States of the Human Soul, is itself a book taking part in a prominent (and, at the

time, lucrative) tradition of children's books-Barbauld's Lessonsfor Children from Two

to Three Years Old, for example-which were invariably types of instruction manuals

(books for "showing"?) often deeply informed by the Calvinist belief in the inherent

sinfulness of children. Calvin writes, "infants themselves ... bring their condemnation

into the world with them ... though they have not yet produced the fruits of their iniquity,

yet they have the seeds of it within them" (Institutes Vol 2: 8). Mark Leader, in Reading

Blake's Songs, notes Blake's immediate involvement in children's literature as an

engraver, working on Wollstencraft's translation of Salzmann's Elements of Morality for

the Use of Children; Blake also met children's authors like Barbauld and Chapone

through his connection with their literary circle (4). Blake seriously complicates the

implicit belief that children can be instructed, and thus corrected, by virtue of a book; thus

the "book" becomes a multivalent symbol whose positive or negative valuation depends

perhaps most heavily on what we import as readers in terms of our belief about authority,

teaching and books.









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The book in Blake's songs is at best a mediator between children and adults, and

does not itself represent an artifact of either innocence or experience. The book is

certainly not an untroubled source of authority, any more than it can contain a

transcendent truth or morality. Like most of the songs themselves rather, the status of the

book as "of innocence" or "of experience" depends most heavily on the reader's

perspective. Is it possible to extend this argument and suggest then that if children are

inherently sinful it is only so in the eyes of the adults who see them as such? The

illustration on the Innocence title page shows a nurse or mother with a book, and two

children, among other figures and designs (Figure 2-4, Illuminated Blake 44). The

argument goes, as Erdman himself notes in Illuminated Blake, that the adult figure "holds

open a book for boy and girl to read" (44; my italics). Essick notes the critical revision

Blake makes to the otherwise common children's book motif of a mother reading to a

child: "the heavily dressed mother or nurse shows the book to the boy and girl" (52). The

activity is apparently innocent enough; however, I would remind that at points even

Urizen responds to various interlocutors by stating that if he is misunderstood, or that if

his laws seem perverse, everyone should just read his books (see for example The Four

Zoas VII, 79). And on Plate 5 of The Book of Urizen Urizen holds a book open for us to

read.

The positioning of the book on the Innocence title page in between adult and child

figures perhaps represents its ambiguous nature: part of both the world of experience and

the world of innocence. Indeed the necessity of learning by reading, that is, being

directed into a formal structure of knowledge, is perhaps one of the markers that signals









75

our progression from innocence (the stage of sounds and voices) to experience (the stage

of written argument). The book may be just as much "between" adult (experience) and

child (innocence) metaphorically as Blake presents it literally between the figures on the

title page. (Admittedly, one of the children is beside the nurse and not separated from her

by the book. However, both children are looking at the book and not at the nurse, so the

books remains a form of mediation between all three.)

Contrast the attention to orality in the Songs with the specific form with which

Urizen is associated in the narrative named for him: his is the "book" of Urizen. In all

copies but G it is the "First" book of Urizen, suggesting that Blake envisioned more to

come in a series (Erdman 804). Most commentators agree that The Book of Urizen

represents the first book in the "Bible of Hell" Blake promises on Plate 24 of The

Marriage of Heaven and Hell (see for example Viscomi 280-281). (The Book ofAhania

and The Book of Los are the "second" and "third" books of Urizen respectively.)

Fixity and Fluidity in The Book of Urizen

As I had suggested above in my discussion of ideal and real books, textuality and

variation play a considerable role in how we read; meaning is not transcendent of

materiality but deeply informed by it. Perhaps for no other "book" is this more true than

for The Book of Urizen. Thus I must caution immediately that I focus on limited

examples, and I muster those examples to explore only a limited perspective on the book.

There are many, many more which could be pursued. Further, I will not attend to every

illustration, nor can I possibly account for every variation in the extant copies. I quote

primarily from the version of Urizen collected in Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of











William Blake, except where recourse to other versions opens up further possibilities to

consider reading, writing and books as symbols and as activities. The plate order printed

by Erdman is not one we can confirm that Blake ever devised; thus the arrangement is

entirely editorial. (One editor calls it "'ideal"' (Worrall, The Urizen Books 148).) A

particularly productive aspect of the plate order Erdman gives is the inclusion of Plate 4,

a plate otherwise absent from 5 of the 8 known variants (present in A, B, and C). By

productive, I mean that it makes possible a great deal of critical exploration and insight

because so much crystallizes on the one page. In, or on, this plate, Urizen (likely) seems

to deliver the only direct speech to appear in the poem. It begins, "From the depths of

dark solitude ... I have sought for a joy without pain" (Plate 4, lines 6-10; Erdman,

Illuminated Blake 186). It is this joy without pain which exemplifies, for most readers,

that characteristic so fundamental to Urizen: the denial of contraries and a desire for

singularity. To complicate matters, though, Blake has not given quotation marks to signal

when the speech (if that is what it is) begins, though many editors add quotation marks

for what they call clarity (for example, Dover Publication's 1997 The Book of Urizen-the

facsimile does not include Plate 4, yet the "printed text" version does, though "with some

normalization of Blake's spelling, punctuation, and capitalization" (Publisher's Note)).

As to why Blake removed this plate from some versions of the book, I can only

speculate. Most striking to me is the convergence between the narrative of the book-the

separation of Urizen from the Eterals (or the "falling" of Urizen)-and the dropping of

the plate in which Urizen is most firmly constituted as an active agent, actually speaking

on his own behalf. Does Blake make Urizen "fall" from his own book? Personally









77

disturbing is the fact that the only page to have come loose and fall from my own copy of

Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake is the page on which Plate 4

appears. Do we "explain" this by saying that of course that page would fall out since I

turn to it so often? Did Blake make Plate 4 fall because he returned to it so often?

Viscomi asserts that while the exclusion of some plates from some versions might

be arbitrary, the exclusion of Plate 4 (and Plate 16, a full illustration) was "systematic and

thus meaningful" (283). Viscomi contends that in Plate 4 "Urizen speaks," and he

(Viscomi) shows how Plate 16 in Copy A depicts Urizen in fire, a symbolic equation

which would "prevent fire from functioning consistently and clearly as a visual symbol of

true as opposed to false creation" (283-284). So, as Viscomi's argument goes, Blake

drops the plates to maintain consistency. All of this only follows, of course, from a

general readerly approach which presumes to uncover some pre-existing consistency and

clarity, two characteristics I would not assign to Blake at all, and which assumes that only

that which is systematic is meaningful. As I have tried to show, this approach pervades

Blake criticism right down to the editorial, textual-note, level.

Take Plate 14, for example (Figure 2-5). Worrall, working from Copy D, asserts

that the figures represented are "Eterals" (41). But the rightmost figure, to which a

"blue wash" has been applied, looks very much like the figure identified elsewhere as

Urizen. The long white beard and the blue tint are highly reminiscent of the figure in

Plate 20 whose identity is hard to determine. Is it Urizen because of the beard? Does it

coincide with Chapter V, "Urizen deadly black, [not blue] in his chains bound"; though is

Urizen in chains, or is he the object being observed by Los, 10 lines above, who "endur'd









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his chains" (Plate 13)? Now chains themselves become a complicating, not a clarifying

factor. Appeals to consistency, especially to explain authorial intention, simply do not

stand up. If anything, what Blake forces us to consider are the implications of the

"Urizenic nature of [Los's] activities," as Paul Mann writes, and, further, that characters

"intergenerate" one another, as Tilottama Rajan writes (54; 259). In light of these

complications, the argument that Urizen would appear too "heroic" if his speech were left

intact, as Viscomi contends, does not ring true to me, especially because of the fluid

nature of every character throughout the poem. Further, I discuss below the problems of

labelling a character "too" anything, in that such a relative estimation depends on our

comparing the agent of a local action to some larger construct which we must call "the

true character," but which is no more true than the ideal Copy D of the book itself.

Consider that with Plate 4 (also referred to as 4a in some numbering schemes) removed

(to make Urizen less heroic, as Viscomi argues) the narrative moves from "Shrill the

trumpet: & myriads of Eter / -nity" on Plate 3 to "In living creations appeared / In the

flames of eternal fury" (lines 44-45 to Plate 4, lines 1-2, Copy D). Up to this point in the

narrative, Urizen has been trying to survive his expulsion (or withdrawal, depending on

whose perspective we believe) from Eternity by organizing, building and creating. With

Plate 4/4a excised, the Eternals arrive and chase Urizen into the "desarts and rocks" (20)

with their flames of fury. They drive him to "howlings & pangs & fierce madness ... Till

hoary, and age-broke, and aged. / In despair and the shadows of death." (24-27).

Especially if we recall that this book ofUrizen could be as much by him as about

him (just as Genesis is said to be by Moses, not about him), then I think we must consider











how easy it might be to see Urizen as deserving of our sympathy. After all, the Eternals

appear to have just chased him into seclusion for no reason. It is the Etemals (assumed to

represent "true creation" because associated with fire?) who are jealous, vindictive, and

arbitrary with their anger. At least with Plate 4/4a intact, we get a chance to see Urizen

proclaim his laws in books of metal, and as such we are given some reason to explain the

Etemals' reaction to him. I would argue that with Plate 4/4a excised, Urizen becomes a

much more sympathetic character. Thus Viscomi's argument that Plate 4/4a makes

Urizen too heroic does not take into account that other perspectives might be possible. It

depends very heavily on closing interpretive possibilities which complicate our sense of

perspective-that is, who we believe could be telling the story, and thus our sense of how

characters represent good or evil forces. Mitchell certainly understates the case: "the

identification of figures is often problematic" (Blake's Composite Art 109). Note the

further irony that with Plate 4/4a excised, it is the Eternals who appear with the shrill

trumpet blast. But with Plate 4/4a in place, it is the seven deadly sins of the soul, bor of

Urizen himself, who appear. And Plate 4/4a makes Urizen too heroic?

Much of this is to suggest the tension between fixity and fluidity (in materiality, in

interpretation) that pervades a book like Urizen. Of course, in studying that tension, I

cannot remove myself from it. As such, admittedly, I commit some of the editorial faults

that Blake's texts so clearly work against, for to proceed, I do need to fix a few things in

place. For example, I name the bearded figure pictured throughout the book as Urizen

where it seems productive to do so, even though the text does not necessarily make such a

direct assertion. In some ways, naming of this sort is a convenience which identifies the











activities going on in the text with those being performed (or whose consequences

appear) in the illustration. To speak of "Urizen" then is often to speak of a set of

activities or desires occurring in a specific context, more than it is necessarily to speak of

a unified, stable character that is posited to exist outside, even to transcend, the text.

(Thus there is no "too" heroic.) As those sets of activities and desires vary from context

to context we are forced to think of "Urizens" even while we write of "Urizen." To speak

of a "Urizen" (or of any other character) as existing somehow outside of the activities

presented in Blake's texts is to suggest an "ideal" against which we are forced to measure

every instance of "his" "appearance," by which I mean the appearance of U-R-I-Z-E-N as

a collection of marks on the page. It seems we will always be confounded then by

individual contexts which do not conform neatly to the posited ideal, in which case we

are left to say that Urizen is an inconsistent character, is acting "out" of character, or

worse, that Blake is inconsistent in his characterization. What seems more productive,

however, is to consider character only as individual contexts of activities and desires

grouped under a common name. Thus contradictions are not deviations from some ideal,

but rather they constitute the character itself. (I would argue that this more closely

approximates real people, who are themselves often a series of contradicting desires and

activities.)

I am choosing to move fundamentally away from the assumption, implicit in

systematic critical projects like those of Frye and Damon, that there is some mythic field

which constitutes, grounds and guarantees the coherence of narrative and character (and

thus writing and reading), or against which we can gauge the consistency of any action.










Since I entertain the likelihood that characters do not act so much as action defines one

parameter among the larger set of some nameable agency, I am choosing to follow Ault's

description of characters as "complexes of relationships, with no real interiors" (Four

Zoas 280). His description is specific in this case to the Lamb of God and Satan in Night

VIII of The Four Zoas; however, I see no reason why the description cannot be more

generally applied. Ault's attention to "perspective ontology" may, in fact, be another way

of framing "character" as a category constituted by, not proof of, agency at a given

moment (280).

My purpose is to concentrate on The Book of Urizen as a text in which the tension

between fixity and fluidity crystallizes in a most profound way. Blake, as I tried to show

in the "Introduction" to The Songs of Innocence, is in no sense interested in evading or

transcending the material nature of artistic production in his poetry, despite his concern

for the limitations of materiality, or for avoiding the issue of having to fix his artistic

vision to what may appear the immobile and immobilizing page. As Paul Mann writes,

The Book of Urizen is "a book about books" (49). It is a "system of enclosures" (52).

More than this, Urizen is a book about the impossibility of getting outside of the book

one is writing.

Blake complicates the usual prophetic outside of some transcendent authority

through and from whom the poet receives dictation. In the Preludium to The Book of

Urizen, the writing "I," hears the call of the Etemals gladly, and invites them to "dictate"

words and "unfold" visions. This is, presumably, a kind of invocation to the muses, after

which the writer receives what become the text and illustration we have before us. But,









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as Mitchell contends, the "distinction [between Urizen and the Eterals] is not reducible

to absolute good versus absolute evil," and thus our Eternal guarantors of "true"

revelation are dubious (116). What does it mean, though, for the reader, when

complications themselves unfold over the course of the book. Do we "believe" the

Eterals' vision? Do we side with them, and for how long?

The persistence with which Blake complicates the book (in terms of character,

narrative, text and illustration) speaks perhaps to his belief in our need to be complicated

out of believing the Eterals' vision as, by default, good, and any opposition to them as

bad. For example, what are we to make of the Eternals who weave a "woof" and call it

"Science" (Plate 19:9), or who "erect the tent" (Plate 19: 18) which separates them from

Los (whom they had commandeered into watching and confining Urizen to keep him

separate) (Plate 5:35-40)? Consider that Urizen creates the "Net of Religion" (Plate 25:

21). How do we align ourselves with or against one but not the other of these characters

given their similar actions?

Consider further the perversity of Blake moving the Preludium in Copy E from

the front of the poem (where we are tempted immediately to believe the Eternals as an

extra-textual authority) to a place between Plates 5 and 6. Where we would have "For

Eternity stood wide apart, / As the stars are apart from the earth" (Plates 5-6:40-1), we are

given "For Eternity stood wide apart," full page illustration of a floating, Urizenic figure,

then "PRELUDIUM / TO / THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZEN" (Copy E, Plates 5, 12,2,

following numbering system used by Bentley, Erdman, and Keynes). In Copy E, it is not

until Eternity is already "wide apart" that the writerly "I" calls for them to dictate words









83

and unfold visions. In fact, Blake moves the Preludium wide apart from where it should

sit as prelude to the poem, as though moving the textual block were tantamount to

moving meaning. In Copy E we are forced with the possibility that something like the

"Etemals" are no more than E-t-e-r-n-a-l-s marked onto a page, and are thus no more

outside of those marks than meaning is outside the materiality of the book. What does

this separation, material and thematic, say about the legitimacy of the Eternals as epic

narrators (dictators?)? Mitchell writes that Blake forces us to confront "the potential

egotism and megalomania of the prophetic, bardic role" (112). Following from this, it

becomes almost impossible to fix meaning. Yet we have before us a seemingly fixed

book. The more we interrogate that fixity though, the more fluid things become, and we

are confronted with a text that has forced a very different kind of reading strategy than the

kinds of books suggested by the Urizenic books of law and measurement, themselves

clearly reflective of the Newtonian text Blake wanted to work against.

Blake does look to generate new kinds of poetic spaces and experiences by way of

showing the hollowness of some of the assumptions behind "Newtonian" reading

strategies which look to fix and stabilize meaning under authorial guardianship (as I

discussed in Chapter 1). In "Incommensurability and Interconnection in Blake's Anti-

Newtonian Text," Donald Ault writes that "Newton was arguing for a single unified

proto-philosophy and religion" (150). And that "One of Blake's central purposes in

constructing anti-Newtonian narrative was to create in his readers an experience of the

bankruptcy of the kinds of assumptions about the interconnections in knowledge,

perception, and reality in the doctrine of the prisca sapentia" (141). The abstract,









84

universalizing nature of the laws which Urizen writes in his books of metal in The Book

of Urizen, and the clear association between Urizen and Newton, suggests that, for Blake,

there was a deep connection between the systemic nature of Newtonianism (as a cultural

phenomenon) and the act of writing which ensured that system's cultural centrality.

Urizen writes, not just in "books formed of metals" (Plate 4, 24) but in "the Book / Of

eternal brass" (Plate 4, 33). Here he creates

One command, one joy, one desire,
One curse, one weight, one measure
One King, one God, one Law. (Plate 4:38-40)

That the book is eternal is crucial, in that it represents the very fixity, which Urizen

assumes for his universalizing system, against which Blake will posit the fluidity of his

own poetic work, even as that work participates in fixities of its own.

We see abstraction as a form of control in Urizen as he explores his surroundings

in The Book of Urizen: "He form'd a line & a plummet / To divide the Abyss beneath."

Urizen forms "scales to weigh ... massy weights ... a brazen quadrant... [and] golden

compasses" (Plate 22: 32-40). Critically, as I had mentioned in Chapter 1, Urizen forms

the weights and measures before exploring his surroundings. Thus what he finds will be

circumscribed by the abstract, standardized weights and measures. Stuart Peterfreund

writes, "In the pursuit of a rational, universal, materialist understanding of reality,

prescriptive thought attempts to deny the emotional, personal, and spiritual dimension of

understanding through a strategy of marginalization and repression" (38). Compare this

with an editor providing a "Preface" of some kind to The Book of Urizen in which we are

told who is or is not speaking, what certain characters represent, what symbols mean, and




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THE TORN BOOK: FIXITY, FLUIDITY, DISORDER AND ENERGY IN .I.Ld-.

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    Enough! or Too much Marriage of Heaven and Hell Plate 10 Copy F (Bindman 116) 11

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    PREFACE When composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline, and the most glorious poetry that has ever been communicated to the world is probably a feeble shadow of the original conception of the poet. Shelley, Defence of Poetry (798) If Shelley is being entirely serious, what status do we afford the printed page? Is it, and the marks upon it, some feeble shadow which is all we have left to represent what was once some monument of inspiration? Is it possible that, to quote Shelley's example, ''Milton conceived the Paradise Lost as a whole before he executed it in portions'' (799)? In The Tom Book, I want to consider how we navigate an alternate possibility: that the page ( or by extension the book, the engraved plate, the painted canvas) is not secondary to an original conception, it does not receive parts of an already completed whole, but is itself integral to imaginative invention as a process. Is the act of writing merely fixing into permanence, as best one can, what inspiration has already provided, or does the act of writing in fact condition what one can imagine next? And by extension, does the materiality of language then not influence meaning as we read towards it, or indeed does materiality not guide the very reading strategies we bring to bear on any given work? Perhaps meaning is not translated to materiality, but is a result of materiality. And might art's materiality mean? 111

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    To Begin: A Digression In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield complains that he could never do very well in Oral Expression, one of his prep school classes, in which students were required to deliver speeches in class while other students prepared to shout ''Digression!'' at any moment when the speaker did not ''stick to the point." '''That digression business got on my nerves'," he tells Mr. Antolini, his old English teacher. ''The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It's more interesting and all'' (183) Since I like digressions too, and as such have engaged in one early on, it is probably appropriate to at least digress about digressions. I have often felt that my academic work has been a series of digressions: a process of continually explaining what I have just said, which itself was an explanation of what I had said before that, and so on. The work of reading and writing has never for me produced a finality, but on the contrary, has simply presented me with more that is unfinished. One begins to wonder, ''at what point was I actually saying something central and not digressing?'' Not to mention the nagging question: ''when will I be finished?'' If I had been a student in Holden's Oral Expression class, I would have be stumped to ''stick to the point," in that the point-some originary, imaginary profundity-has long since disappeared I can hardly deny that much of my thinking in critical and scholarly terms (and, more than likely, all other ter1ns) has been in the fo1m of digression. So I am not going to try and explain away digression, but rather assert it as a valid for1n of doing work and generating ideas. Ross Chambers, in Loiterature (his title suggests a kind of ''literature'' that ''loiters''), writes of a ''deliberately digressive criticism'' (15) as one that seeks to create ''conditions under lV

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    which it is possible to step out of line'' (Foreword). Roland Barthes, in S/Z, writes that ''the work of commentary ... consists precisely in nianliandling the text, interrupting it' (15). To extend Barthes' idea of an interruptive commentary, mine has been a methodology which remains open not just to interrupting texts, but to interrupting it s elf moving towards alternate possibilities instead of trying to exhaust one in order to move on to another. As Chambers does, for example, what I would like to challenge is the notion of digression as some veering from the ' correct'' path : getting away from ''the point ." A s Chambers asserts is the case for literature which digresses, I believe critical work can also carry ''an implied social criticism' (9; my italics). Too often, writes Chambers, ''criticism depends, like social order itself, on .. discriminating and hierarchizing, deterr11ining what is central and what is peripheral ' (9). My project looks in part to Blake's marginalia for insight into ''central'' issues his work forces generally My approach to the subject matter at hand embraces digression as a mode of moving between centres and peripherie s To digress is to challenge dogma, closure received wisdom, with some new way of looking at or thinking about something. This new ''thing''-this process for arriving-challenges the usual, and it must often take the fo1 m of new expression It must put words together in new ways It must define words, redefine them, and redefine those definitions, often by interrupting itself Digression is an open process for it seeks to make a new link ; sticking to the point is to close argument at some end Digression allows for what Chambers calls the ''pe1n1eability of contexts'' (12). Sticking to the point too myopically denies the possibility for self-reflexivity, for reconsideration for interruption, V

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    for multiple and perhaps interfering (though perhaps not mutually destructive) perspectives. For me, writing on Blake, it is almost impossible to avoid digression. Since Blake's work itself rarely follows a strictly linear process which moves through and to a single point, any discussion of Blake must open itself up to moments of reconsideration and self-reflection. Often I find that in writing towards a particular argument, I am forced to re-evaluate not just the argument itself, but my argumentative methodology altogether It is difficult to ''prove'' things about Blake's work in a traditional, rhetorical claim-and support fashion. As many times as one can find support for a given claim, one can likely find as many instances which confound that claim. It is partly my purpose here to show the ways in which Blake's art so often functions to force these kinds of tensions, aporias, or reconsiderations: it simply demands a different kind of reading and argumentative strategy. Thus I have organized much of the present work into sections that often arrive at ''conclusions'' they had not entirely introduced, or digress into areas I had not foreseen from the outset. Rather than going back and always deleting my ''progress'' through any particular section, in order that just the conclusions remain, I have tried to retain that sense of progress and process. Again, the point is to provide a sense of how often Blake's art works to confound traditional modes of formulating argument based on observing details and developing models and rules into which those details fit: an ''ultimate structure'' or ''great final ensemble," as Barthes might call it (S/Z 12). Nonetheless, I have structured things fairly rigorously at points and have made some general observations, and outright claims, regarding trends I see in some of Blake's work Vl

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    Ultimately however, any criticism which works towards completely systematizing an argument about Blake will s erve only its own categorical, limited ends When digression is not possible, criticism will cease to be of val ue. Foucault writes that ''commentary ... can never be completed'' (The Order of Things 41). Thus I offer the warning in advance that much of the work here explores Blake in ways that sometimes need explaining and digressing and that do not pretend to exhaust any one ''topic." Nor do they always pretend to be entirely commensurate with some of the methodologies more often at work in Blake scholarship. Chambers writes, ''Digression is a discursive 'slide' ... along a line of continuity that links one context and its other [or others]'' ( 12) So digression works in an important way: it forces my own project to remain open to new contexts, and in so doing helps me to resist making overly systematized arguments (which seems appropriate as I explore Blake's own anti-system project), even where strong currents of much Blake scholarship would suggest I do so. If there is some originary point from which the rest of this digresses, it could be something like: Blake's poetry is anti-system and anti-systemic However, as Blake s work itself has taught me, without exploring the particularities of that statement, and then the particularities of fu1ther statements, and then the particularities of those statements, any point remains an abstract, universalizing system itself which cannot manage critical and creative thinking and so denies the possibility for their existence. As Barthes admits, ''I name, I unname, I rename'' (S/Z 11 ). Having digressed this far, however, and before I lay out the general argument at stake, I must stress that there is a linearity to my overall project, despite the often nonVII

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    linear nature of the subject matter. Donald Ault asks that readers experience his Visionary Physics ''seq uentially, from beginning to end'' (xiii). The reason is that excerpted moments in his otherwise sequential argument will not make sense (or will make misleading sense) if those moments are removed from the larger context, which develop s Blake's response to Newton in terms of the abstract models of their conflicting cosmologies. The present project is undeniably linear in the sense that the focus in earlier chapters help s to explain and justify the critical gestures that I choose to make ( and that I choose not to make) in later chapters. That is, the lacunae of later chapters may seem less significant (or at least less like mistakes) in light of earlier chapters. But I digress Invention and Discovery The usual argument goes that somet hing like fire, for example, is not invented so much as it is discovered. But if there is invention in the discovery of fire, it surely comes as somebody, somewhere (or perhaps many people in many places) invents a new relationship between himself or her self and something in his or her world. So even if fire is di scovered, more than we would say it is invented, certainly there exists some element of invention in the process : the invention of a relationship. In the scientific revolution of the 17 th century, we get some sense of a community of thinkers trying to come to grips with the otherwise disorderly univer se in which they lived. Robert Markley, echoing Frank Manuel, writes of Newton's ''compulsion to establish order in his undertakings'' (Fallen La,nguages 131). Newtonian mechanics Vlll

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    looked to find order, some predictable relation between cause and effect, which could explain the microand macrocosrnic phenomenal worlds. This was to be a system which described the order believed to inhere in observed phenomena, and which could thu s predict those same phenomena into futurity since it revealed some fundamental level of relationships Concomitantly, language needed to be trusted as a medium to express discovery, but one that did not alter or condition it in any way (Foucault traces this myth of language to language's ' original form, when it was given to men by God himself .. language was an absolutely certain and transparent sign for things'' (The Order of Thing s 36) ) Mine is not an archaeological project to discover something hidden, something which exists in entirety a priori of my finding it For this project is as much invention as discovery. In fact, '' the point'' of certain kinds of critical work is I think to unde11nine the notion of a complete argument that can be expressed entirely independently of the act of its being made ; independent, that is, from the process of its being put it into words. (This is perhaps also commentary's i,nplied social critique, and its alternate possibility-that textuality makes meaning, it does not just provide access to it is in fact what I have learned from Blake's work itself.) Richard Howard, introducing Barthes, writes that ''all telling modifies what is being said'' such that ''the message is a parameter of its performance'' ( SIZ xi). For me, the additional important thing that the distinction between discovery and invention does is to foreground what Tilotamma Rajan called the 'supplement of reading' : the necessary addition that is our reading of any text space, event, or history lX

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    and thus by extension the role of materiality, of the graphicality of words on the page, for example, in making meaning (Rajan Supplement of Reading). If we assume that things in texts are there, a priori complete, to be discovered, then the supplement of reading is not that important, for there is nothing to differentiate one reader from another; reading does not really add anything to the text, since the text does not need to be supplemented. Reading to ''discover'' presumes to reveal that which already exists, whole and unified. ItaJo Calvino, glossing Roland Barthes, reminds that for literature in particular, ''language is never transparent, and is never merely an instrument to convey a 'meaning' or a 'fact' or a 'thought' or a 'truth''' (The Uses of Literature 29). Barthes himself writes that ''objectivity ... [is] an imaginary system like the rest'' (S/Z 10). I return to the issue of transparency in Chapter 2; Blake seems particularly insightful in his criticism of Newtonian science by identifying in it the impulse to deny the role of language in conditioning discovery, not just expressing it. It is important here to admit the present work to that category of writing, be it ''literature'' or not, that treats reading as a process partly of invention; thus its language is implicated in what it purports to find. Otherwise, the category of ''writer'' or ''reader'' becomes more nominal than any consideration of the diversity of each and every reader, or of the process of reading. No less, if reading only discovers, one must assume as a correlate that what is to be discovered, what is hidden in texts, is a static ''thing," like a treasure chest, to which all persistent readers wi11 eventually arrive, finding, presumably, the same treasure. To assume, however, that readers invent, that they supplement the text, is, I hope, to reinvigorate the possibility that not all readers are the same, and that X

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    what they find is not always, or maybe never, the same thing that other readers find. Or, should I say, what one reader invents is not necessarily going to agree with what any other reader invents. Relationships to texts remain fluid, opening up the potential for inventing relationships between texts, between texts and things or texts and ideas or texts as ideas that are always various and variable. Part of the crises of representation and epistemology that Blake confronted involved how to manage being in a world that did not allow for such openness and potential difference. The Argument in Brief I make the argument that Blake's marginalia are part of his composite art (just as they are part of his anti-Newtonian poetics) in that annotation represents the un-fixing of the fixed, authorial perspective by another hand, voice, or eye (all of which go to form a particular perspective independent of the one, or ones, already represented on the page); the energy of the marginalia can function to open up play, disorder and difference just as Blake's text and illustration often work to direct the reader away from reading simple one to-one relationships between text and illustration. The act of annotation represents a serious challenge to the implied authority of the finished page, and specifically reminds of the role that materiality plays as we build meaning. To mark by remarking the page is to reassert textuality. Teruing the book the metaphor of my title, is to destabilize claims towards unequivocality, or un-equi-vocality, or not equal voices, which certain kinds of argument make upon the page (especially argument that takes its own textuality as transparent) . Xl

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    The ''tom book ' is the page revealed as a site for contestation a site from which the voices silenced by singular authorship (and thereby authority) can reemerge. The purpo s e in suggesting connections between otherwise disparate thinkers as I do in my final chapter is to develop a kind of energy within the current project in order that it never be entirely closed; by suggesting how '' disorder'' operates in various contexts, I hope to set the conditions under which my own work can remain itself alway s potentially energizing and less prone to the closure of any final, comprehensive statements Blake's work did, in fact create a new kind of space, a new experience of reading (at least for me a s a reader), in which textual instabilities and interventions could function positively to infor1n and energize critical practice. While I have not risked textual disruption here, I have tried to at lea s t highlight my own self-consciousness about issues of language discovery invention and meaning, and the possible consequences of developing a systematic argument or arguments. Xll

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS page P"REF A CE .. ...... .. ........ ..... .. .... .. .. ... ..... ... .... .. .... .. .. .. .. ...... . .. ... . ...... .. .. . .. ...... ........... .. . 111 Invention andDiscovery . Vlll The Argument in Brief .......... .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. .... .. .. . ...... ................. ...... . .... ....... . Xl ABSTRACT xv CHAPTERS 1 BLAKE S ANTI-SYSTEM COMPOSflE ART ................. .... ......... . .. ... .. .... .. ...... ... .. 1 Introduction ....................... 1 William Blake .. .. .. .. .. .... 2 Blake 's Anti-System Project 4 Blake and Newton .6 Blake's ''Newton''. . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Anti-Sy st em Summary Blake's Composite Art Composite Art Summary .... ........ 21 .22 37 Notes .38 2 FOO!" Y AND FL 'UID ITY .... .. .. . ................................... ..... .... .... ...... ...... .. .. .. ......... .. 44 Here and Now .48 Books : Real and Ideal 49 Fixity, Fluidity, Inspiration 54 Working Blake .58 Fixity : Fluidity : Song : Book 61 Frontispieces to Songs of Innoc e n ce and of Experience ....... .. ........ .. ................. . 63 ''Introduction'' to Song s of Inno ce nc e .66 Orality and Books (Reading Al lowed ) ....... . . .. . ..... . . .. ....... .. .. ...... .. .. ............ . 70 Fixity and Fluidity in Th e Bo ok of Urizen .... ... . ... ...... ... ....... .... .. .. .. .... ... .. .. .75 Tension in The Book of Urizen 85 Conclu s ions .92 Notes .9 4 XlJl

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    3 CRITICAL USES OF BLAKE'S MARGINALIA . ...... . .. .... ... .. ... .. . .. .... .. .... ... .. . 101 Introduction 101 Why Marginalia? ..... .. .. . ... .. .. . ...... . ... .... .. ...... ....... .. . .... .. . . ...... . .. . ..... . .. . .... .. 104 Marginalia in Blake Scholarship 106 Synecdochic Structure in Blake's Marginalia: The W(H)ole of Blake ... . .... ........ .. . ....... .. .. . ......... ...... . . .. ... .. ...... . ... . 113 Fitting the Whole of Blake In 117 Marking . .. ....... .. .......... .. .. ..... .. .. .. ...................... ........ ...... .... . ....... .. .. .. .. ... 122 Conclu s ion 123 Note . .. . . . .... .. .. ...... . .. . .. ..... ... ... .. ..... . .. ..... .. ....... . .. ...... .... . . .. . .. . ... . .. .. ... 125 4 BLAKE S MARGINALIA .. .. .. . .. . ..... .. .... .. .. .. .. . .. .. . . ... .. .. .... .. ..... ... .. . . .. .. .. .. .. ... 128 Introduction 128 ''The Imagination which Liveth Forever ' .. . .. .. .. .... . .... . .. . . .. .. . ... .. .. . ...... .. .. 134 Wall of Words : The Untouchable Page 141 Annotating: The Four Zoa s : Tracing 145 Further Into Th e Four Zoa s Marginalia as Path : The Opinion of Will Blake Conclusion . .... . .. .. ........ .. .. 149 .. ... .. .. 154 . . . . . 161 5 MARGINALIA: FURTHER POSSIBILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166 Introduction 166 Time 167 Area s for Further Research 182 6 AN END, AN APPROXIMATION .... ... ..... . ... . .. ....... ............ . .............. .. ............ 192 Introduction . .. ... . .. .. . ... . ..... .. .. . ........ ..... . ......... .. ....... . .... . . .. . .... .. .... .. .. .... 192 Disorder .197 Entropy: Some Definitions. 200 Postmodern 207 Openings and Conclu s ions ...... . .. .. .. ....... . .. .. . .. . . ..... . . ........... . ..... . .... . . ...... 212 WORKS Cfl 1 ED .. .. . .. ........ .. . .. .. .... ....... .. .. .. . .. ....... . .... .. ......... ... . .. . . .. .. . ............ . 2 17 BIOGR.APIDCAL SKETCH .. ..... .. . .. .. . ........ .. . ..... . .... ... .... .. . ........ ..... . .. .. ....... .. .. ... 227 X 1 V

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    Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the Univer s ity of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE TORN BOOK : FIXITY FLUIDITY, DISORDER AND ENERGY IN BLAKE'S MARGINALIA By Jason Allen Snart May2002 Chair: Donald Ault Major Department: English William Blake's marginalia receive little critical attention. Yet they are deeply embedded in contemporary currents in Blake scholarship, including tho s e which attend to the material and textual dimensions of Blake's work, to his anti-Newtonianism and to his anti-systematicity. The marginalia are part of Blake's composite art, in which elements that share the same page are made to illuminate one another, though often in seemingly contradictory ways. While Blake's marginal notes may comment directly on particular sections of the text at hand, they also function as textually disruptive on the page forcing the reader s awareness of the degree to which formal layout and features like pagination guide our reading. The marginalia often work counter to the control imposed by the finished, printed page Thus the marginal notations are textually and materially xv

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    meaningful. Study of the original volumes reveals a number of textual and material problems that seriously complicate the ways in which the marginalia have been treated to date, since they remind that the page does not necessarily give transparent, uncomplicated, or unproblematic access to ''ideas'' behind the words. The marginalia participate deeply in writing, reading authority, and the production of meaning, as tho s e issues circulate throughout Blake's work. Ultimately the degree to which disorder functions as part of the annotated page resonates with other critical projects which look to interrogate and s uggest alternatives to, that which is overly systematic and repressive XVI

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    CHAPTER 1 BLAKE'S ANTI-SYSTEM COMPOSITE ART I have sought for a joy without pain, For a solid without fluctuation Why will you die O Eternals? Wh y live in uriquenchable burnings ? The Book of Urizen, Copy C II:4 Introduction In Chapter 1 I situate my work in two major areas of Blake scholarship: Blake's anti-system project, and the nature of his composite art. I discuss how critics like Donald Ault and Stuart Peterfreund have suggested ways in which Blake was using his poetry and illuminations to construct an anti-Newtonian poetics. Also, I confront Blake's composite art as it is explored by critics like W. J T. Mitchell, in which text and illustration often work in self-conflicting and disruptive ways. Blake is deeply concerned with the tension between the fixity of the metal plate yet the fluidity of his poetic vision Thus the themes of writing and reading, and the attendant symbols of books, pens, hands, readers and writers, form one of the most elaborate and important contexts in Blake 's work. I consider in detail the '(Introduction'' to the Songs of Innoc e nce and Th e Book of Urizen, in ter1ns of how they develop a specific conception of the artistic process (one in which there is considerable tension between creative energy and the necessity of having to fix that energy into material form 1

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    2 on the page), and how they suggest Blake's deep concern for the materiality of making art. The metal plate, the book and writing, figure centrally in Blake's poetry as part of his anti-Newtonian, anti-system project to create a different space, or experience for the reader reading his work. The tom-book, an image which provides my title, represents the deconstructing, or tearing, not just of "the book," but of all that the book is made to represent in Blake's work, in te1ms of abstract systematizing, and suppressing individual, creative vision by fixing abstract systems in writing. Part of the anti-Newtonian project, and the creation of a new space of poetry is what has been called Blake's "composite art": the combination of text and illustration functioning in complex and fluid ways upon the page. Below, I develop the relation between Blake's anti-Newtonianism and his composite art. The way in which Blake forces the dialectical interaction of abstraction and representation, as W J. T. Mitchell has called them (38), challenges the otherwise empirical weight of the page as ground for argument, for the relationship between the particularity of each ''page'' (or of any one perspective) is often made to grate against whatever pretensions towards universality the page (the book, the author, the perspective) might make. William Blake A little biographical infotmation might be useful for setting up what I would like to highlight regarding the historical Blake: his status as a literary figure and his relatively late entrance into the Western canon (and the misconceptions which surround[ed] Blake as a canonical figure-thus my use of more popular sources like anthologies and dictionaries); and the material conditions of his life as both artist and engraver which so

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    3 deeply impacted the fortn and content of much of his poetic work. Most English literature anthologies introduce Willjam Blake by way of reference to the view held by most of his contemporaries that he was an eccentric or a curiosity. "Earned a meagre living working for publjshers a s an engraver," begins the Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists entry on Blake. These more popular renderings are, in fact in line with many scholarly conceptions: W. J. T. Mitchell writes that ''of all the major artists and poets of the English Romantic movement (in which [Blake] was a marginal, isolated figure) he was the slowest to achieve critical acceptance as formally and intellectually coherent '' (''Chaosthetics'' 443) Northrop Frye writing as recently as 1947, felt compelled to ''c omplete the destruction of the myth that Blake is a literary freak' (Fearful S y mmetry 148) Even Coleridge as a relative contemporary of Blake writing in 1818 seems surprised to read, for the first time Blake's Songs (first published 29 years earljer in 1789), suggesting the limited degree to which Blake was in cultural circulation : "I have this morning been reading a strange publication .. Poems with wild and interesting pictures ... printed and painted by the Author, W. Blake" (quoted in Bentley, R eco rds 251) And William Rowland, in Literature and the Marketplace, writes of Blake's "struggle for economic survival" and his ''situation as a man caught between two worlds, an inspired prophet who must make a living in the world as he finds it" (81-82). So how did this poet and engraver manage to produce such vivid, imaginative works throughout rus life: (1) knowing that even the small audience he had likely would not understand hi s vision, and (2) caught between his work as an engraver and rus work as a poet ? To many Blake was no more than an eccentric man, practicing a style of copper plate engraving

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    4 that cost a great deal in te11r1s of time, energy and money, but that yielded little in the way of a mass producible result-and this in an age when Josiah Wedgwood was beginning to mass produce art on pottery and china (Ackroyd 65). While Blake never rejected artistic exploration or invention, even in the fortn of new ways to execute artistic idea s he never condoned the idea of mass produced art or what it did to artists: it turned them from inventive creators into mechanical producers It was just one type of system against which Blake's art often seems to work. Blake's Anti-System Project Blake characterized the empirical ethos as a "Single vision & Newton's sleep against which he juxtaposed a "twofold," and even '' fourfold," vision tied both to the rational and the imaginative worlds (Letter to Thomas Butts in Erdman 722; Blake quotations are from David Erdman' s Compl e te Po e try and Pros e of William Blake unless otherwise noted). Donald Ault has characterized this single vision as having its primary drive ''toward realizing the coherence and completeness of a narrative world or text .. and toward realizing a preordained 'end or closure that resolves conflicts into a uni f ied whole' (Narrativ e Unbound 4 ). Blake's idea of poetic inspiration remained "incomprehensible/ To the Vegetated Mortal Eye's perverted & single vision" since it retained complexity and contradiction which would not submit to resolution (Jeru s alem 202). It is Blake s conception of the Newtonian impulse and its limited and suppressive vision against which he would construct his own system of visionary myth and prophecy To s uggest that impul s e in the Newtonian narrative toward closure and resolution take, for example, the letter Sir Isaac Newton wrote to the Royal Society in 1672: "this

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    5 analogy 'twixt colors and refrangibility is very precise and strict; the rays always either exactly agreeing in both or proportionally disagreeing in both" (Newton) Newton was writing about his experiments with light and the conclusions he reached about the rules that governed refraction. Among those conclusions, he noted that light of a certain wavelength (what he knew as colour) would always be refracted by a prism (light's refrangibility) to the same degree, while light of a differing wavelength would be refracted in a proportional distance that never changed. Red light, for example, would always fall in the same place in the prism's rainbow, a constant proportional distance from all the other refracted colours. Alexandre Koyre has described Newton's findings here as ''the indestructible linkage between degree of refrangibility and color'' ( 45). What is clearly important for Newton is that he has discovered, he claims, a system, a method, for describing observed phenomena, and for predicting the details of those phenomena as they might occur at any future point in any given place. Thus the ''indestructibility'' that Koyre emphasizes, which is itself one of the central tenets of the systematic project that Blake found to be operating in what he called ''Newtonian." Those tenets include language taken to function as mere description, prediction into the future by abstracting from certain details (while repressing others), and the claim to universality. Notably, the central ''Newtonian'' figure in Blake's work, Urizen, writes in his book of ''eternal brass' (Urizen, 72; my italics), and elsewhere broods ''in horrible fear of the future'' (Foar Zoas: Night the Seventli, 354).

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    6 Blake and Newton A word on ''Newton," ''Newtonian," and ''Blake'' is probably in order, since it is important to reflect on what those terms mean for the present comparison and contrast. Thackray writes in Atoms and Pow e rs, "Newtonianism [meant] many things to many men" (5). And Perry Miller, in "Bentley and Newton," notes that Newton himself was not quite a "Newtonian" (277). Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers observe that ''ethics and politics' drew on Newtonianism (27), and Alexandre Koyre writes that '' all the new sciences that emerged in the eighteenth century ... tried to confortn to the Newtonian pattern of empirico-deductive knowledge'' (19). We need to be careful and not take mention of '' Newton '' on Blake's part to necessarily coincide with some bio-historical figure from the 17 th century. Nor should '' Newtonian '' be taken necessarily to de sc ribe anything about Newton's method per se, since it became, after Newton, a cultural development all of its own. Newton and ''Blake's Newton'' are very different thing s, and Blake 's critique of '' Newtonianism '' operates on a much wider social level than just commentary on a particular scientific method or cluster of ideas In fact, the historical Newton at least what we might construct based on his own writings, and the historical Blake again what we might construct from the art he left us may have been more similar than the usual binary opposition assigned to them would sugge s t Of course, Blake him se lf se emed to align his art directly against Newton (explicitly at any rate); however there are perhap s some similarities worth noting (without, hopefully overstating the case).

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    7 Blake and Newton were greatly imaginative systematizers forced to confront and deal with gaps in systems of explaining human experience and natural phenomena. Admittedly, Newton and Blake reacted very differently to the gaps any system seemed to have. Newton looked for a suture: a predictive method which could describe and unite the variabjlity of the microand macrocosms he explored. Blake, however forced disruption, discontinuity and incommensurability, producing an art he hoped would reflect and embody the feelings he had of experience, and which would communicate the primacy of the individual imagination As such Blake's is often called an anti system project (or poetics), and that it certainly is. However, Blake's work itself is certainly not without systematic, or at least systemic, elements of its own. Certainly Newton was aware of his work as systematic, though he may have tried overtly to deny its breadth. In a letter accompanying hi s "Hypothesis on Light" in 1675 Newton claims that the letter itself as with the introduction to the Hypothesis '' i s to illustrate hi s optical papers only: "that no man may confound this with my other discourses, or measure the certainty of one by the other But, as Richard Westfall note s, "it is quite impossible to reconcile the actual Hypothesis' with Newton's deprecations of it . The 'Hypothesis contained much more than an explanation of optical phenomena" (270). Propo s ing the idea of a universal aether with implications well beyond the nature of light, Newton spends half the "Hypothesis" offering what Westfall describes as "a general system of nature" (270) And as Newton must have foreseen, the ideas he expressed began a new round of dispute s and controversies with Robert Hooke and the Royal Society Newton's fear that his ideas on light, no less than his idea s on a general

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    8 system of nature, would surely "ingage [him] in vain disputes" and "controversy" suggests the degree to which he was aware that even his most experimentally sound system would not satisfy all those in the scientific community given the potential gaps and inconsistencies it was sure to have (Newton quoted in Westfall, 269). In the case of Blake, recall that he may not necessarily be as anti-system as he is often claimed to be, or, perhaps, as he often claims himself to be. Even arguments against Blake as a kind of systematizer fall back into the language of systems. Donald Ault attempts to reassert the context of Los's statement (in Jerusalem 10:20), "I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans" to remind that it is not Blake's statement necessarily. Ault writes that "Blake's treatment of Los's system ... is not without irony .. Blake's reaction was against all systems." Yet further he writes, "Blake's 'system' is poetic or visionary" (Visionary Physics 29). Ault might place 'system' in hesitant quotation marks, but there still seems to be poetic construction going on for Blake on the level of perceptual framework, which is systemic if not systematic It is likely best to speak of a Blakean system of poetry advisedly (as Ault does). But I maintain that there is a project going on in Blake's work which is not so fluid or deconstructive as to elude the "systematic" entirely. Some contend that it is Blake scholarship which renders Blake's work systematic, not the work itself. Steven Shaviro considers this possibility: ''Blake is interpreted systematically because it has been assumed ... that Blake's works do in fact constitute a system'' (''Striving With Systems' 272). However, I think there is too much explicit evidence in Blake's art that suggests dependence on systemic ways of reading (and which therefore required systemic ways of

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    writing) to claim that systematicity is laid over Blake by scholarship, and not in part drawn out by it. 1 For example, Robert Gleckner writes that "each of Blake's two song series ... 9 comprises a number of smaller units ... so that the relationship of each unit to the series as a whole might be stated as a kind of progression" (10). I contend that Gleckner is not making a system where one did not previously exist, but pointing to systematic relationships that are inherent in the work, even when we take into account that Blake shifted the plate order of the songs in various editions. One might argue that nothing is inherent in a text until it is created by the reader But by this logic, if you can argue that Blake's system only appears so because readers make it so, thereby derailing my contention that Blake is, in some ways, systematic, then we can as easily say that there is no systematic project in Newton either, since it is only the reader of Newton who creates a system, not Newton himself. For the purposes of the comparison it makes possible, I will contend that there can be things in texts which are not merely the product of reading Or, if all things in texts are the product of reading, then certain consistent patterns must emerge from all competent reading, that is, reading sensitive to the resonances and self reflections the text invites. So I think Gleckner, for example, has noted something in Blake which, unless one were to practice bad scholarship, cannot go unnoticed: a relationship of units which form a progression. While I do not subscribe to the linearity of Gleckner's "progression" model -if by that he means each poem necessarily follows one from the other-I think the relationship of units he suggests is both productive for reading Blake's work, and

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    10 evidence of a kind of Blakean system. And certainly there is nothing to say that the units themselves cannot shift and change, especially as plate orders change. Indeed the artistic techniques Blake used throughout his career to create the same ''units," as Gleckner calls them, varied enough that figures which appear to invoke a particular type often grew out of very different material processes Consider the ''old man'' in plate 2 of All Religions Are One, relief etched and printed in monotone, to the ''old man'' (and child) in plate 84 of Jerusalem, relief etched but with added watercolour and pen and touches of gold. Compare either of these techniques, themselves different enough, with pencil sketches, for example, like the ''Head of Job'' (Keynes, Drawings of William Blake 74). They are all the old man, and thus invoke a particular symbolism, but each seems different enough to potentially disrupt the very symbolism it imports. W. J. T. Mitchell, whose Blake studies capture more of the poems' fluidity than do Gleckner's, cites instances of "illustrations which do not illustrate" to show how Blake forces us to read pictures "in the context of other, similar compositions" (Blake's Composite Art, 4-5). Again, this suggests a sort of archetypal system or network in which illustrations import symbolism from other contexts in which they've appeared. Mitchell later writes that ''Abstract linear fonns such as the vortex or the circle provide the structural skeletons'' for much of Blake 's art; and they are ''repeated so systematically that they suggest a kind of ... repertoire of leitmotifs that can be repeated in widely differing contexts'' (37; my italics). In order not to overstate my case though it is clear that where Newtonianism required that gaps and inconsistencies in the sys tem be either filled or erased (o r avoided

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    11 with covering letters), Blake's system highlights incommensurabilities as fundamental to the human condition. Lest we charge Newton with believing too unquestioningly in the comprehensiveness of his system, though, we might recall what he was reported to have said to his nephew, Benjamin Smith: I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. (quoted in White, 343) Ultimately, I am much more concerned with '' Blake's Newton'' as a poetic figure, than with Newton as an historic figure; certainly the two are not identical, nor, perhaps, do they even share as much in common as we might assume. And I am concerned with Newtonianism as Blake engaged it: not necessarily just a set of procedures practised by a man in Cambridge, but the cultural movement that had become Newtonianism by Blake 's time. (Koyre writes that even by the end of the 18 th century, ''Newtonian science seemed to reach its final and definitive perfection' (17).) Blake engaging '' Newton'' or ''Newtonianism'' is complex, for as Donald Ault, following Thomas Kuhn, writes, "i n the years following the emergence of Newton's paradigm ... Newton's system insinuated itself into a vast range of intellectual disciplines" (Visionary Physics 46). And Alvin Toffler introducing Prigogine and Stengers' Order Out of Chaos, writes that the ''Newtonian model gave rise to analogies in politics, diplomacy and other spheres seemingly remote from science'' (xxiii) In fact, it is most likely that Blake encountered Newtonianism through the textbooks he was engraving, or perhaps in reading through the

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    12 libraries of friends like the publisher Joseph Johnson. I would say issues of whether Blake actually read anything by Newton are much less central here than the pe1-vasiveness of systematized ways of thinking and organizing culture that Blake chooses to embody in his poetic ''Newton'' (and in other figures, like Urizen). Whether Blake is ''right'' about Newton per se, is less important, for me, than what develops from Blake's critique, and what new things and ways of thinking he makes possible. Donald Ault writes that "to most Newtonians there was no question whether a logical system could explain the whole of the world; the only question was, which system could best characterize nature's inherent logical structure" (Visionary Physics 28). And Peterfreund reminds that ''up to Blake's time, the response of eighteenth-century literature to Newtonian science is unanimous in its belief that Newton's mathematics and physics are fully disinterested, inductive, impartial and authoritative'' (21). Newtonianism became the set of keys-even the key-wruch would reveal the logic of action at a distance, light, alchemy, and the Bible. Toffler writes that in the Newtonian system, ''every event was detennined by initial conditions that were, at least in principle, determinable with precision. It was a world in which chance played no part, in which all the pieces came together like cogs in a cosmic machine'' (xiii). Newton sought an all-embracing model of the universe on both microcosmic and macrocosrnic levels. Biographer Richard Westfall notes that Newton presented himself often as a "natural philosopher confronting the entire sweep of Nature" (270), and Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs writes that "to Newton himself all his diverse studies constituted a unified plan for obtaining Truth" (17). Anachronistically speaking, it is surely this Newton-the totalizer-and his belief in some discoverable

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    system to unify, and to explain the connections between, quite simply, everything, that Blake picks up in his creation of Newton as a poetic figure. 13 Certainly Blake's relationship to the Newton he creates is complex, however much Blake aligns Newton with other poetic figures like Urizen, and however much Newton and Urizen represent the most reprehensible (for Blake) impulses in culture to abstract, universalize and control. We need go no further to discover some of this complexity than Blake's 1795 painting entitled Newton. Here we find, I think, both a clear critical stance by Blake against systematic projects like Newtonianism; yet there is also the added dimension of Blake's own implication and participation in that system. It is this duality that I would like to keep foregrounded throughout my discussion. Blake's ''Newton'' In Blake's portrait (if I can call it that) of Newton, Newton is more Greek god than Cambridge loner (Figure 1-1). His is a body of material potential. He traces or measures a figure which seems to cause and to mirror his own. In one sense, the figure's muscular body bends to produce the Euclidean triangle on the page, yet the placement of the scroll at the figure's feet also causes the body to take the shape it does; he must bend to the ground to reach it. The "Newton" of the picture is both producing but also produced by his measurement; perhaps we can see depicted here Blake's ''same dull round'' wherein ''If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character. The Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again . He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only'' (''There is no Natural Religion," 3).

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    14 This circularity-Newton both creating yet being shaped by his creation-is crucial to Blake's Newtonian critique in the painting since it implies his larger critique of a kind of language, or a use of language, which assumes itself to be e n tirely passive and not in any way involved in inventing that which it purports to discover. That is, it is a language which presents itself as both transparent and uni-directional It is assumed to flow as description towards objects which exist a priori of that description However, Blake is clearly aware that language is a much more powerful tool, and that it creates the stuff of science and art and life as much as it describes it. Thus, without seeming to be aware of it, the figure in Newton is as much controlled, and bent nearly double, by the written triangle, as he is in control of it. Note how the figure 's right hand forn1s a triangle of its own with the knuckle of the middle finger and the pointer finger forming two sides w h ile the scroll itself forms the base. Note again how the left hand forms a triangle with the bent pointer finger as two sides and the compass as a base In the pencil sketch for Newton (see Keynes Drawings of William Blak e 18) there is, in fact, an additional triangle which does not appear in the colour print; it is forrned by the figure's index finger, the extended middle finger and the compass. (In the sketch, Newton's fingers seem decidedly disproportionate. The middle finger which extends down the compass and which goes to for1n a triangle that does not appear in the colour print must measure at least the length of the left forearm.) It is revealing, I think, that many of the figural triangles which emerge are f or1ned by some combination of the human figure and the apparatus of his science. It is also noteworthy that Blake would use the triangle as his basic, repeated shape here, and that triangles form

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    15 one of the most basic mathematical shapes in the figures which accompany Newton's own works, like the Principia. (For readings of Newton see Donald Ault' s Visionary Physics, 2-4; and W. J. T. Mitchell's ''Chaosthetics: Blake's Sense of Form," and Blake s Composite Art, 49.) In terrns of language then, for Blake it is clearly at least bi-directional, that is, it describes, but also creates in that description. Thus it can create away difference while posing as description; further, it can mask a subjective voice by presuming objectivity. Thomas Kuhn, in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions describes the effect: "normal science ... often suppresses fundamental novelties [differences] because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments [its abstract models]" (5). And further, certain experiments are often ignored if they "[yield] neither consistent nor simple results ... they [remain] mere facts, unrelated and unrelatable" (35). Umberto Eco offers another version: "we travel knowing in advance what we are on the verge of discovering . Someone discovers something different and tries to see it as absolutely analogous to what he already knows" (54, 74). Peterfreund describes Blake's reaction to this (mis-)use of language (denying its power to create what is assumed to exist) in ter111s of an understanding that all texts, as the artifacts of specific individuals writing in specific contexts of time and place, are rhetorical, or argumentative, and that the situation could not be otherwise, since all language is produced by individuals speaking from positions ... accordingly, there is no such thing as disinterestedness ... no authority, only usurped freedom. (22)

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    16 For the Newtonian text to claim authority is, in Peterfreund's reading of Blake's critique, only for the text to usurp the power of readerly interpretation under the aegis of textual control, itself girded, in Newton's case, by claims to the empirically verified ''rightness'' of the argument. Blake imagines the power and variability of language in Jerusalem in a conversation among the Four Zoas, the ''Visionary forms dramatic'': creating exemplars of Memory and Intellect Creating Space, Creating Time according to the wonder Divine Of Human Imagination, throughout all the Three Regions immense Of Childhood, Manhood & Old Age[;] & the all tremendous unfathomable Non Ens Of death was seen in regenerations terrific or complacent varying According to the subject of discourse & every Word & Every Character Was Human according to the Expansion or Contraction, the Translucence or Opakeness of Nervous fibres such was the variation of Time & Space Which vary according as the Organs of Perception (Jerusalem, Plate 98: 28-39) Here language is recognized as a subject-dependent instrument of creation. No claims to authority are made, beyond the assertion that every word and character vary according to the individuality of their speaker. Blake's critique of the Newtonian system focuses on that system's denial of the power of language, thus its power of abstraction, thus the tendency for systems to prescribe a futurity which suppresses the detail of difference in order that the system maintain itself. Blake will present this closed circularity often, though most notably in the inescapable circularity of Urizen measuring the world that he has produced, yet producing the world by measurement. For Urizen for1ns his weights and measures before exploring his surroundings; ''He formd golden compasses/ And [then] he began

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    17 to explore the Abyss'' (The Book of Urizen, VII:39-40). There seems no escape from the process of creation-as-measurement that figures like Urizen and Newton are caught in. (I look specifically at The Book of Urizen, written during the same time period that Blake worked on Newton, in greater detail in Chapter 2.) To return to Blake's Newton, though, it is important to remember that while the figure certainly dominates the work, the background is equally revealing. Against the definite outline of the figure, Blake offers an ambiguous background which seems at once ocean, land, rock, vegetation and an accident of watercolour. Newton is one of twelve large colour prints Blake produced in 1795. There is debate surrounding the exact technique he used, but it likely employed either millboard or metal plate. While Frederick Tatham reports that Blake used millboard, Raymond Lister, in Infernal Methods, suggests that ''the effect could have been obtained from a sheet of zinc or copper'' (59). (Tatham's account is provided in Gilchrist's Life of William Blake on page 366, but it could not have been from firsthand knowledge; Tatham was not even born when Blake was developing the technique in the early 1790s.) Blake etched or painted his design (in the reverse direction of what would appear in the final product) either on the millboard or metal plate, and then pressed the design to paper. He could then add different paint to the millboard or plate and press the design again. This produced a ''mottled'' background, or, a s Michael Phillips writes in the Tate Gallery's William Blake exhibition catalogue, ''highly reticulated surfaces often of great richness and individuality'' (106-107). It is certainly this individuality-the accident of colour which informs the critique at work in the colour print

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    18 In ''Chaosthetics: Blake's Sense of Form," W. J. T. Mitchell reminds us that ''when seen in the context of late-eighteenth century printmaking ... his [Blake's] handling of color is notoriously indifferent'' (444). Indifferent to what though? Convention? Outcome? Mitchell writes further that ''Blake clearly intended his art to look the way it did," and that the sorts of questions Blake forces deal as much with ''moral, political, and metaphysical'' issues as with aesthetics ( 445). What comes from Mitchell's discussion, I would argue, is that Blake was really not indifferent to his handling of colour, however much he might have invited chance into his creation That is to say, in creating the background to frame Newton, Blake did not seem to set out to create a certain pattern which he could have predicted before it came to be; however, Blake is clearly aware of (not indifferent at all to) the effe ct he wanted and the technique which would produce that effect. Blake might have been indifferent to colour, but certainly not to its handling. Mitchell describes the technique Blake used to produce the background effect; he assumes that millboard, and not a metal plate was used: ''this sort of color printing involved the application of colors to a piece of millboard that was then pressed against the paper and pulled away, leaving an unpredictable and random pattern of mottled impressions'' (455; my italics). In addition to Blake's awareness of colouring and of the material used to register paint to paper (either metal plate or millboard), it is also possible that Blake was highly aware of the paper itself, and the way in which it would take up colour. Very close study (7x magnification) of the original Newton on display at the Tate Gallery in London reveals that the paper itself seems to have just enough texture to make exact copies impossible,

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    19 and even to produce what often appear to be figures, letters, even words that almost but do not quite emerge. This is particularly true of the pencil sketch for Newton that Blake executed. While there does not appear to be any actual writing under magnification, with the naked eye, the light pencil shading Blake has used to indicate the background tends to catch the minute wrinkles of the paper in such a way as to suggest writing that has been lightly erased Thus Blake seems to have been aware of the potential for near emergence inherent in all aspects of the colour printing process, not just the pressed millboard or metal plate. Robert Essick, writing on the recently discovered copy E of The Book of Urizen, notes Blake 's '' purposeful incorporation of the accidental with artistic production' (102). Ironically, Essick confronts the issue of intentionality as it arises in relation to another of Blake's backgrounds. (Though background in this case, produces what Essick calls ''the most significant design variant'' (101).) In Plate 9 of copy E, Essick notes what ''looks like a grazing horse, complete with an eye and slight indication s of a nose'' (101). The eye and nose are created by denser spots of colour printing. Essick writes, ''there is no evidence of work with brush or pen ... Thus, the horse-like image may be an accidental product of color printing rather than the result of an intentional act'' (102). As with the Newton background, we see here a certain kind of intentionality : at the very least, an awareness of consequence. ''Blake chose color printing," as Essick notes (102; my italics). Did he choose it because it rendered unpredictability and chance variation? Does meaning thus emerge differently from different kinds of intentionality?

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    20 The question in regards to the Newtori print remains though: How does the background, so different from the strength of line in the figure, function in te11ns of the critique at work in the print? Can we even call it a ''background'' given the negative valence that ter1n carries. Is Blake playing with our sense of background as somehow secondary, even marginal? Do we assume the figure is therefore foreground and central? What status do we accord these formal parts in their ability to critique one another? It is most easy to see "Blake" in the indefinite background whose fluidity is meant to suggest the fluid multiplicity, an endless detail of difference, denied by the Euclidean triangles in the foreground. There is certainly a degree to which the individuality of each work, a result of the technique and materials Blake has chosen to use, works against notions of systematic reproduction. Ironically, the effect of near emerging writing or for1ns that is available in the original material disappears when the work is reproduced by most methods in books today. Under 7x magnification, the pencil sketch reproduction in Martin Butlin's The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake is revealed as columns and rows of perfectly ordered tiny dots, an image of identicality itself (this is particularly true for the background). William Blake has made certain aspects of his work entirely unreproducable, as though to guarantee at least those aspects against mass production as a kind of system deeply associated with the Newtonian system against which Blake worked. The material and technique themselves are used to critique the very image they produce. But I think Blake is as much the Newton figure as he is the chaos of the

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    setting. Some critics have even suggested that the Newton face is that of a younger Blake (Ackroyd 201). Peter Ackroyd writes: there is no reason to believe that Blake thought of Newton as a very different kind of writer from himself. Indeed there is an intensity about this image that suggests he recognised the creative importance of the scientist's vision .. Perhaps also, in thi s contemplative figure, there is some suggestion of the obsession and isolation that were part of Blake s own experience. (201) 21 Ultimately, I think Blake was too aware of himself as an artist in a Newtonian world to completely extricate himself from the material conditions of that world Nor, does it seem did Blake want to remove himself from the tensions and contradictions which accompanied hi s work a s a poet and engraver. They were, in many ways his source material for thinking through the fluidity of poetic vision and the necessity of activating that vision by fixing it on the printed page. Chapter 2 deals, in greater detail with the tension between fixity and fluidity in Blake s work and the degree to whi c h Blake participated in both the fluidity of poetic imagination yet the fixity of setting imaginative vision onto the material page. Anti-System Summary I have situated the crux of what has been identified by various commentators as Blake's anti-system (or anti Newtonian) project in the operation of language/design itself, extending to the page books and writing as key components in stabilizing and perpetuating any sy s tem. I am casting the assumed stability of language / design on the page as 'fixity," thu s giving me that part of my subtitle ''Fixity, Fluidity Di s order and

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    22 Energy." Fixity implies singular perspective, univocality, and the suppression of anything that might alter and upset the operation of the fixed system. Those elements which operate to counter ''fixity'' I would like to group under the heading, ''fluidity," the second ter1n in my subtitle. To suggest that those elements which operate to de-stabilize the foundation upon which fixity depends are ''fluid'' helps to ground my thinking in the very materiality of Blake's artistic production. For if the copper plate implies a kind of fixity by its very hardness, then I think the acid mixture and watercolour washes imply a fluidity which is no less related to physical, artistic production, yet which counters the solidness of the metal plate. Blake presents this opposition in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell as one between the ''books [and] .. libraries'' of received ideas (''the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation'') and printing in ''the infernal method'' with ''corrosives'' which reveal error (Plates 14-15). I would like to now suggest ways in which Blake encounters (and counters) fixity by means of what has been called his Composite Art. Blake's Composite Art Poems with wild and interesting pictures. Coleridge describes Blake Stephen Kellert writes, in In tlie Wake of Chaos, that chaos theory is not ''as interesting as it sounds'' (ix). Part of what I think he means is that chaos, the thing itself, the set of behaviours that it is, might be pretty ''interesting'' (as in ''exciting," ''energized''), but the theory of it, the writing about it, is not. Sadly, there is not always profundity by association in scholarship. Or, it is not always possible to make the

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    23 product of one's study as dynamic or challenging as the subject of one's study; and it is rarely possible, when dealing with a subject involved in a far reaching cultural critique, to avoid entirely some of the pitfalls that that critique points to. Having said this perhaps as a sort of pre-emptive self-defence, I want to now engage Blake's art from a ''different'' angle, and divide my discussion between Blake's anti-system project and his composite art, knowing full well that such a division is arbitrary and likely runs against the grain of many of Blake's moves to unite contraries that had otherwise been artificially divided. For despite calling this section ''Blake's Composite Art ," it is really still deeply tied to his anti-Newtonian, anti-system project. The purpose of division here is very much functional, since it allows me to situate my own project in terms of certain scholars who have concentrated primarily on Blake's art or primarily on his anti-system project. There is a tendency, it seems, to privilege one over the other. 01 at least to always address one just as a component of the other. I cannot claim to be doing something entirely different here; however if I ever do privilege one perspective on Blake over another (the compositeness of his art over the anti-Newtonianism, for example), I hope there are as many instances of that privileging reversed. Ultimately, it is clear that the way a composite art can be made to function on the page-that is, its form-to force disruption, non-linearity between text and design, conflict, or change, is an outgrowth of content. Blake's composite art will not submit to the kind of reading which requires the stability of traditional or simple relationships between elements on a page (graphic to text or graphic to graphic) The instability Blake forces between the parts of his composite art (if it can be divided into parts)

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    24 marks one of the most anti-Newtonia n aspects of Blake's page. And it is important to recall, again, as Donald Ault has written, '''Newtonian texts' are by no means restricted to Newton: his is simply an extreme for111 of narrative stance which Blake's narrative systematically opposes'' (''lncornmensurability'' 159). Imagine how ''design'' interacts with text in something like Newton's Principia: a good example of a systematic book whether Blake actually had the opportunity to read it or not. (Ault contends that ''it would seem Blake did have some fusthand information about Newton s ideas'' (Visionary Physics 45).) There must be a direct and clear relationship between what is being written and what is being drawn for the argument to work, and thus for the language used to communicate the system to reveal the supposed unambiguity of the system itself (which is supposed to exist prior to its description). Indeed, the graphical is simply another way of saying what the text has already said. Take, for example, Book I of the Principia, Section ill, Proposition 11: ''Let a body revolve in an ellipse; it is required to find the law of the centripetal force tending toward a focus of the ellipse." Newton continues, ''Let S be a focus of the ellipse. Draw SP cutting both the diameter DK of an ellipse in E and the ordinate Qv in x, and complete the parallelogram QxPR'' (462). It is likely second nature for us to accept the imperative voice of the Newtonian narrator and to ''let'' the figure accompanying the text do exactly as the narrator says. Or, to more accurately reflect our relationship to the text, we will ''draw'' or ''cut' or ''complete'' the figure as we are told to do by the narrator. Following from this, we trust the narrator to be describing the process of creating the figure such that it parallels the argument it accompanies. All told, we relinquish our power of

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    25 interpretation (and, indeed, action) in allowing the Newtonian narrator to dictate the direct relationship between text and design and to thereby assume complete control over mearung. Part of what Blake's composite art questions though are the assumptions of authority and control over interpretation made in demanding such direct text and design relationships. One might simply argue that Blake is doing art and Newton is writing a scientific treatise: of course things are going to be different. But that is exactly the point. Blake chose to work in such a way as to reveal some of the things that the Newtonian text takes for granted, and to question what sorts of implications would arise from that, and he could only do so by creating a very different kind of reading experience on his own page. Indeed, Blake's art requires that there be space for the reader to grasp the text as sometimes self-reflexive, sometimes ironic, sometimes not offering the most simple relations between its parts. Ault writes in ''Incommensurability'' that mathematical notation and the graphic illustration which accompanies it ''cannot bear an ironic or parodic relationship'' (164). In denying the potential for irony, the Newtonian text denies the reader entry into the meaning making process for there can be no multiple senses in which a text can exist. For Newton, text and design together are assumed to reveal the ultimate unambiguity of nature, and thus must themselves present, in their relationship to one another, an equally stringent unambiguity. Newton even stressed the need for singular clarity in his analysis of The Book of Revelation: ''God who knew how to frame it [that is, put the Apocalypse into language] without ambiguity intended it [clarity of

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    description] for a rule of faith'' (quoted in Manuel, Appendix A). As Ault notes, ''It is quite clear that this Newtonian voice equates 'multiplicity' with 'confusion' and therefore needs to ground his di1ection of the reader's responses in a similar need for reduction of multiplicity to univocality'' (''lncommensurability," 162). 26 In setting Blake's composite art as a reaction to text-design relationships in the Newtonian text it is most important to note that the Newtonian relationship between text and design must be singular, perrr1anent, and stable (''unambiguous'' to use Newton s ter1ns) if the system is to function as universal and fully predictive just as Newtonian reading must arrive at a singular (''correct'') interpretation, thus proving and further guaranteeing the univocality of the text as final authority over its own meaning This connection between univocality, or single-voicedness, and textual authority will become crucial in subsequent chapters which look at the act of annotation as a multiplying of voices on the page, and thereby as a direct challenge to authorship (ownership of meaning on the finished page) as guarantor of singular interpretive authority Approaching the relation s hip between elements on the page from a different perspective, one might say that the reversibility of time supposed to inhere in classical science is made to inhere in the description and argument of that system whereby the reader must be able to travel from text to design or from design to text without interruption or complication at any moment in the process of reading. In this sense, there can be no interf e r e nc e between elements which go to illustrate an argument. The space of the text must be an ab s olute space like the one Newton posits in the Principia:

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    27 ''Absolute space, of its own nature without reference to anything external, always remains homogeneous and immovable'' ( 408). We cannot read the relationship between text and graphic on page 60, for example, only to find that the same graphic is doing something entirely contrary on page 120, that is, interlering with what we have already read. The potential for interlerence would act as an initial clue that ambiguity might exist where the Newtonian text would prefer to remove it entirely. Certainly ambiguity would suggest that the Newtonian text was losing control over itself, relinquishing meaning, rather, to the reader and to the variability of readerly (or context specific) interpretation. Such is the space of Blake's art, wherein readers are forced to deal with perspectives that change almost as often as we tum the page; thus, elements on the page are set up so as to interlere with one another, and to always comment on their appearance elsewhere. (Interestingly, a working model of glossing.) Time, the arrow of our reading Blake, moves in one direction, since Blake is constantly inviting interlerence: if you read about Los in Th e Book of Los and then find him different in The Book of Urizen, there is no going back and undoing your first knowledge. If you encounter the child perched directly atop the head of the Bard in the ''Introduction' to the Songs of Experience, you must consider that image as it intrudes upon its counterpart : the child unattached to the piper in the ''Introduction'' to the Songs of Inn ocence I argue that Blake's insistence upon contraries throughout his work demands that we navigate interlerence as an inescapable part of Blakean reading.

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    28 The insistence to cause interference we find in Blake's work cannot be said to exist in something like the ideal system-of-the-world textbook. ff you read page 200 first, in which ''Figure Ill'' (whatever it might be) illustrated some point made in the text; then you read page 3 in which ''Figure I," the same triangle, perhaps, as in Figure ID, illustrated some other point; the stability assumed to inhere in the one-to-one relationships between text and design would make it possible for the two figures to exi s t in absolute, non-relative (non-interfering) space. One would not interfere disrupt or necessarily change the other There is ''one'' way to read Figure I and ''one'' way to read Figure ill and there is, ideally, no possibility for interference between the two. The space and time in which text-design relationships in the Newtonian text function is in some ways, absolute and reversible. You could read Figure ill before Figure I as easily as you could read Figure I before Figure ID, and because of the assumed autonomy of their relation to the text there is no ''time'' in your reading. There is no way in which first readings nec ess arily change future readings. Perhaps it works to say then that time in the Blakean text affects the reader and the text. Whereas time in the Newtonian text might affect the reader (the argument develops, for us, linearly ), but does not (ideally) affect the text itself (moments in the text do not alter other moments). I think thi s coincides with the insistence I (following critics like Donald Ault) find in the Newtonian text to always control itself, to ground itself as ultimate authority over its own meaning Ault writes: The Newtonian narrator asserts the s emantic limits of the possible meaning of the text making the text usurp the reader's role ... The reader is separated from the text as

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    the elements of the text are separated, isolated from one another ... Everything has been worked out by the text. (''Incommensurability," 162-164) 29 I must stress though, that my argument does not extend to the argument put forth in the Newtonian text. For that is surely linear, and it develops in time Certainly we could not start at the end of the Principia, read backwards, and hope to understand. Thus time, in this sense, is clearly not reversible, and it does need to move in one direction if we are to comprehend the text What I am arguing is that relationships between text and design (or portions of argument and their attendant figures) operate outside of the time of our reading them in the sense that the stability of those relationships is not interconstitutive; text-design stability inheres regardless of what we have or have not seen before in the book. In Narrative Unbound, Donald Ault deal s with the complicated text of the ''unfinished'' Four Zoas as it represents one of Blake's anti-Newtonian texts. For Ault '' there are no context-free universal propositions in Blake's poetry' ( 488, note 1) And the ''experiential significance of an event is determined by its location ... in the temporal series'' ( 492, note 20) To me the degree to which Blake 's poetry is context-sensitive speaks to its more general sensitivity to time. Indeed, it depends on what Ault describes as ''a reader whose perception is able to alter the very being of the text's supposedly fixed facts'' (6). The argument I have been developing here is s pecific to the compositeness of Blake's art, in that any of Blake's text-design relationships are equally sensitive to context (there are no univer s al relationships?) as well as to readerly perception. This dependence on time, rendering our sense of it as so immediately irreversible (and thus each new poetic thing we

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    30 encounter as constituted, in part, by all previous things), is, I maintain, a direct outgrowth of Blake's stand against that characteristic of the Newtonian text which conjures away the reader by asserting text-design relationships which can operate outside of time, outside of context, outside of our process of reading. The imperative voice of the Newtonian narrator tells us what is to be done to figures accompanying text and tells us what figures and text mean by way of thoroughly disarming our power to make text-design relationships do or be anything other than what the narrator demands. For Blake, deeply concerned with the effects such a reading practice produces (in terms of locking readers into one reading one relationship with the text, and removing the text from the possibility for self-reflexive change), it is not surprising that his critique of systems would force an entirely different reading practice, and thus the look of his page would differ greatly from any page involved in trying to assert a total system (be it a Philosophiae Naturalis de Mundi S y stemate or not). Take, for example Plate 4 from Th e Marriag e of H e av e n and H e ll. The graphic ''illustrates'' a contest between contraries, as the text on the same plate discusses. Roughly two years later Blake produced a very similar figural pattern and scene in ''Good and Evil Angels Struggling for Possession of a Child'' (Figure 1-2 ). Aside from having the figures reversed, Blake very nearly repeats himself However similar the pictures are though, they are deeply relative to their specific contexts The space of Blake's art is by no means an absolute space. More importantly the time, or process of our reading, simply cannot be rever s ible, for our seeing of one instance of the figures must infor1n (interfere with) our next seeing of the same figures. The relativity of one to the other speaks to

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    31 the irreversibility of the practice of reading which Blake forces. Consider also some of the more common figures which show up throughout Blake's art. For example, the Old Testament patriarch, Urizenic figure who may, or may not always represent Urizen. The old man who appears in the graphic which accompanies ''London'' (though there are no old men in the poem) certainly interferes with other instances of the old man figure appearing elsewhere-the ''Ancient of Days'' for example (himself interfering with Newton as they both hold a compass). Most notably, the figural arrangement in ''London'' appears in Jerusalem on Plate 84, where the text identifies the old man as London, being led through the streets ''by a child'' (Erdman, Illuminated Blake, 363). At least there is the potential for one appearance to interfere with any other (regardless of the chronological order of their publication). And clearly Blake invites such interference by depending on what critics like Mitchell have called the ''lietmotifs' of repeated types (37). In contrast, the ideal Newtonian text denies the possibility for interference as a necessary condition for proving the stability of the system of the world. And it does so by forcing only one relationship between figure and text-a relationship that remains undamageable by past and future reading, thereby rendering the notions of past, present and future irrelevant. In terms of Blake's art itself though, there is much more to be said about the relation between text and design aside from issues of time Despite what often appears to be a visual separateness of text and illustration on the Blakean page, there is evidence that Blake may have thought of the two elements in very sirrular ways. If anything, Blake's composite art brings the supposed sisters of painting and poetry together, not so

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    32 much for a family reunion, but rather to interrogate what might be a false division and separation between the two. Or Blake seems to be challenging any ''unification'' of the sister arts which attempts to make one do what the other normally does. Mitchell describes this, in Blake's Composite Art, as trying to make ''pictures 'speak''' or ''poetry visual'' (34). Blake's critique seeks for some more fundamental way to unify, or seek connection between, things which have been divided. Mitchell reads in Blake the impetus ''to discover a new basis for ... unification'' (34). Thus, for Mitchell, the compositeness of Blake's art involves as much the combining of two different kinds of representation (text and picture), as it involves the search for ''the parallel engagements of imagination and body with their respective mediums, and in their convergence in the more comprehensive idea of the 'Human Form Divine'." (34). Mitchell finds in Blake that ''the body and the imagination are separable principles only in a fallen world of limited perception, and the business of art is to dramatize their unification'' (35). Important for this project is to note how complicated the interaction is between what we can sometimes (but not always) identify as the graphic versus the textual on the Blakean page; especially important are the kinds of disruptions and discontinuities which can be forced when we must consider the textual alone, the pictorial alone, and, more often, the combination of the two operating in conflicting ways But it may only be our reading strategy, and not Blake's, that wants to see text and illustration as different elements working on the same page. We must recall that when Blake engraved, he had to write backwards on the copper plate (a skill he often practised in his notebooks). Words took on the fo1n1 of pictures themselves, and often in the leaves and

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    33 twining vines that encircle Blake's text, we can almost see words that are struggling to form themselves and break free of the bound plate. The intertextual windings lead our eye from text to graphic as though we are to read picture just as we have been reading text. Note Blake's Laocoon for an example of "text" and "illustration" which seem to force the shape of one another (Figure 1-3). There is some scholarship which ignores either text or illustration and concentrates on one of the two elements. Heather Glen, for example, offers an elucidating reading of "London" in her Vision and Dise,ichantment: Blake's "Songs" and Wordsworth's "Lyrical Ballads." Yet her argument thoroughly ignores the illustration (1 lOff.). The complex nature of the relationship between text and illustration in much of Blake's work really does require at least a nod to both, however. This is especially true for a poem like ''London'' in which the illustration(s) (a young child(?) leading(?) an old man; a figure warming(?) his/her(?) hands by a fire; bear no immediate relationship to the text). Erdman's speculations on what the illustrations illustrate are almost entirely derived by importing symbolism from other poems; for example, ''Another vagabond boy at a smokier street-fire than the family's fire in the previous page [''The Little Vagabond''] ... His [the boy's] flame we have seen in miniature under the title of 'Holy Thursday''' (88). Note also, for example, the illustrations in Figure 1-4 from America; Erdman identifies the figures as Urizen and Ore (Illuminated Blake, 146-148) The complicated syste m of differences and similarities between the contrary characters, their strikingly similar poses yet clear contextual differences, and further, the relation between the two

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    34 which develops as we read from Plates 8 to 10 and beyond suggest that such an easy 'naming' is potentially misleading. On Plate 8, it is as though Urizen, seated above a textual block, looks "up" towards what we might imagine as Ore, when, on Plate 10, we see Ore looking "down" from beneath a textual block (Erdman, 146, 148). But there is no reason to assume, as Erdman does, that the figures are Urizen and Ore at all; if they are, their near-identical poses suggest that a more complicated reading is necessary than labelling them as binary Reason-Imagination, Bad-Good opposites. The text makes reference to other characters who might be represented in the illustration. "Ore" on Plate 10, for example, may just as easily be the fiery Angels alluded to in line 1 of Plate 11 (who are, themselves, aligned with Urizen's "clouds" on Plate 8, yet they "burn with the fires of Ore," pictured on Plate 10) In fact, the line which suggests that the figure is Orc-"burning with the fires of Ore" (Plate 11, line 2)-occurs after the figure itself which is on Plate 10. All of this is to suggest the fluidity (or capacity for change) with which Blake presents the characters of his myth, and with which we must read relationships that develop between characters, and between illustration and text. To set Blake in a general tradition regarding his use of text and illustration, he is both following and refor1ning the Whitney emblem tradition (see Figure 1-5). Whitney's text and illustration are kept clearly separated on the page-indeed the picture is framed within the frame of the printed page. Yet the poem elucidates its attendant illustration directly, "What hideous hagge with visage sterne appears?" (192). Unlike what we might expect from Blake, Whitney answers his own question, offering a textual explanation of his illustrated "Envy Whitney even glosses his own work, referring to

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    35 "Envy's" tradition in literature and offers a Latin motto and an accompanying aphorism. In the Whitney tradition, correspondence between all elements of text and graphic are clear and direct, creating what Blake might have recognized as a kind of system of signification that was extremely limiting and highly didactic. However much Blake is infor1ned by the Whitney emblem tradition and by the Gothic art he so prized, Blake introduces an element of fluidity to the otherwise fixed system of meaning and correspondence. The complexity of Blake's approach to uniting the visual and verbal is most fully captured if we can consider the interplay of textual and graphic as dialectic; however, it is a kind of dialectic which keeps thesis and anti-thesis from a final, ending synthesis. Thus text and graphic inform each other, but do not necessarily progress into some final, closed unity. However, W. J. T. Mitchell describes Blake's combined text and illustration in his Blake's Composite Art: neither the graphic nor the poetic aspect of Blake's composite art assumes consistent predominance: their relationship is more like an energetic rivalry, a dialogue or dialectic between vigorously independent modes of expression. (4) The use of "dialectic" here seems rather loose, given that Blake's "dialectic" is so clearly different, even antithetical, to the dialectical process of thesis =>antithesis=> synthesis. Indeed, Mitchell's point about text and illustration is that one never synthesizes the other, though he does not interrogate his own use of the concept of dialectic. In contrast, Stuart Peterfreund asserts that "William Blake rejects the proposition that

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    36 human understanding arises from dialectical logic" (38). That is, where binaries are concerned, one need never occlude the other, in the process of it becoming known or understandable. Thu s Urizen is both Blake himself and Newton at the same time. Or, as Blake writes in the "Grey Monk," a "Tear is an Intellectual Thing" (489, 1.29); it is not emotional or rational, but both. Mitchell's sense of the dialectic in Blake changed markedly from his 1978 Blake's Composite Art to his 1996 ''Chaosthetics." 2 In ''Chaostbetics," Mitchell writes that ''ter1ns like f or111 and chaos, sanity and madness, are dialectical categories that are mutually necessary to one another for their meaning." But further, ''they cannot be resolved in some higher synthesis (Hegelian or otherwise) but are continually reinscribed as boundaries of the thinkable'' (448). To grasp Blake's use of the dialectic as an organizing principle, we likely need to reconsider the very grounds for an argument that would assert any singular and consistent use of any one kind of dialectic (or non-dialectic, for that matter). For indeed, there are likely many instances of Blake putting various kinds of dialectical relationships into play. In terrns of the compositeness of Blake's art and whether there is one nameable dialectic relationship which remains constant as far as text and design are concerned, it is likely safest to conclude that there is no one type of relationship that inheres all the tinie; rather Blake 's composite art forces us to evaluate each text and design combination as we come to it in its context, and in context of what we have previously seen. As Fred Dortort writes '' Not simply dialectical in the sense of one being in opposition to the other, the interaction between text and graphics continuously fluctuates '' (23).

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    37 However much the reader might vacillate regarding the nature of Blake's dialectical procedure though, it is clear that the often-quoted "without contraries is no progression" dictum is more complicated than just some master progress-narrative of repression and obliteration, which Blake's England had likely taken to heart all too readily, and which Blake scholarship sometimes takes at face value (Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate3). Thus we must read Blake's composite art with the sense in mind that text and illustration are likely to function in more complex ways than one-to one relationships, but that those complex ways are not always predictable or the same. Certainly, when we encounter illustrations which, as Mitchell writes, "do not illustrate" it is more likely an artistically competent move by Blake than a mistake ( 4). As Ault writes in Narrative Unbound, "Conflicting statements [and illustrations?] may function to open up a play of differences rather than to indicate Blake's confusion" (xvi). It is these "differences," and the openness of Blake's poetic page, that suggest ways in which he was able to retain a certain fluidity in his work despite the apparent fixity of the printed page. Composite Art Summary The nature and function of Blake's composite art are deeply tied to the tension between fixity and fluidity Blake felt in producing his imaginative vision in the material world, for the appearance of the Blakean page, and what it forces us to confront as readers, is intensely bound up with Blake's anti-Newtonian project. That is, in place of the Newtonian text, which claims for itself objectivity and which treats language as a tool for description, not creation, Blake presents us with words and characters, figures

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    38 and shapes, which always seem to assert their own contextuality, and thus their openness to our supplement of reading Most important for the discussion which follows is the degree to which Blake's composite art, in making material Blake's challenge to Newtonian ''single vision," forces us to deal with text and design relationships which often operate in disruptive and self-conflicting ways. And it is the fundamental challenge to the authority assumed by the Newtonian narrator (as interpretive guarantor of its own text) which operates in Blake's composite art that I will argue to be operating with equal force through Blake s marginalia In Chapter 2 I will examine more closely the tension between fixity and fluidity as Blake expre s ses it in his work in order to more fully explore that cluster of symbols which includes the book, the metal plate, writing and reading. Notes 1 To situate thi s discussion in tem1s of my earlier invention versus discovery discussion, I need to clarify that what inheres in a text is, arguably, there to be discovered However, I think Blake's art in particular is of a type that invite s this kind of discovery, only to require a certain revisionary invention That is, it is a process of discovery which undermines itself as discovery at numerous key junctures. In thi s sense, the reader seems always required to (re)invent his or her reading strategies in order to manage non-conventional textual moment s Again, Calvino recalling Barthes: ''Barthes tends to think of literature as the awarene s s that language has of being language, of having a density of its own, and its own independent existence '' (28-29) 2. Mitchell's u s e of ''dialectic ' in ter1ns of Blake's work had, in fact changed by his 1994 Picture Th e ory in which he notes that ' interactive opposition'' in Blake is ''not necessarily resolution or Hegelian s ynthe s is'' (114 note 8).

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    39 Figure 1-1 William Blake's ''Newton'' (Ault, Visionary Physics, frontispiece)

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    Figure 1-2 '' Good and Evi] Angels Fighting for Possession of a Child," and detail, Plate 4, Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Ackroyd Blake book cover; Bindman 110) 40

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    , l t1f l <~ .. J -' ~ "' .... 5 t\~ $,t "''4 Y "" t l w .,..f"t'~ ni.rwii 1.--.t lu! ~,\P,,~'"l &,!,G._r .. "',.11' !:)' Jdwil, A "i,:, .. ,:N'~ ,, r .. ,t-. ,1, 1 .111,u ,. 1 t -tn1\otrl; I Figure 1-3 William Blake 's Laocoo,i (www.betatesters.com/penn/) 41

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    Figure 1-4 Urizen(?) in ''America'' and Ore(?) in ''America'' (Blake's 'America: A Prophecy' and 'Europe: A Prophecy' facsimile Plates 10 and 12 Copy M) 42

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    43 Figure 1-5 ''Envy'' from Whitney's Choice of Emblems (94)

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    CHAPTER2 FlXIl Y AND FLUIDITY There is no difference between what a book talks about and how it is made. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus ( 4) What a book talks about. How it is made. What is the connection? Deleuze and Guattari suggest that there is such a deep connection between what a book talks about and how it is made that the divide between subject matter and the process of creation disappears. Important for the context of such a claim, however, is their conception of what an ''author'' is, and thus what goes into making a book. Deleuze and Guattari write of themselves as authors: ''each of us [is] several .. we have been aided, inspired multiplied'' (1). And later, ''There are no individual statements'' (37). This is to suggest the complex multiplicity of drives and desires that intersect at those moments we name (invoke the name of) an author; an author is not a stable, unchanging unity, or a coherent, repeating philosophy, however much that model might be idealized by reading practices that seek stable and coherent meanings in and between texts (and thus stable and coherent authors as guarantors of that meaning). Much of the early critical work on Blake, even the projects that brought Blake into the Western canon, tended to treat ' Blake'' as a smooth set of practices and beliefs that did not contradict or interrogate each other. It seems as though systematizing Blake, or finding Blake's system, was assumed to be the only way to save the poet from early 44

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    45 charges of eccentricity and madness. (Joseph Farington, a member of the Royal Academy, writes in his diary : ''Blakes eccentric designs [to Young's Night Thoughts] were mentioned .. Hoppner ridiculed the absurdity of his designs ... They were like the conceits of a drunken fellow or a madman'' (Bentley 58).) Northrop Frye, writing around 1947, tells us in his opening sentence that Fearful Symmetry ''offers an explanation of Blake's thought'' (3; my italics). And anything admitted to the ''canon'' of Blake's work ''not only belongs in a unified scheme but is in accord with a pe11nanent structure of ideas'' (14). The tense dualism that requires Blake consistently be either mad or sane inforrr1s Frye's work, since it functions to gauge the success of the critical project itself; if Blake can be proven sane, criticism has done something worthwhile. Curiously though, the need to prove a structure in Blake, the requirement to untangle contradictions, speaks as much in unison with those voices who would charge Blake with madness as against them. For Frye persists in his deeply systematizing project (which itself is to discover-never to invent-the systematic and coherent structure of Blake's canon) while arguing that Blake ''demonstrates .. the sanity of genius and the madness of the commonplace mind'' (13). Frye, in developing the importance of Berkeley 's dictum esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived) in understanding Blake, forces the possibility that, if Blake is perceived to be mad, then perhaps he is mad. But while Frye does not address the tension his own work elicits, I would argue that it should fall to criticism now, not to prove that Blake is sane, but rather to question ''madness'' itself as a politically and culturally formulated category. Critical work may raise such questions implicitly by disavowing the impulse to explain by systematizing, which often amounts to proving

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    ''sanity'' by ignoring ''madness." W. J. T. Mitchell, in ''Chaosthetics," allows for the possibility that ''Blake was a bit mad some of the time, in different ways on different occasions, and that he was equally sane (also in different ways) on others'' (448). 46 In addition to Fearful Symmetry, works like S. Foster Damon's A Blake Dictionary show that need to explain Blake as a consistent and reliable author in order to prove his sanity, again as though the requirement to explain did not just as easily confirm Blake's ''madness." The tension that inheres in Frye's Fearful Symmetry-between declarations that Blake is not mad, which depend on proving a Blakean system, and our ability to show that system only by flattening contradiction-informs Damon's book as well. For example, Damon writes with confidence that '''gold' signifies 'intelligence''' (xii). But 3 sentences later, ''Blake's symbols are not mechanical or inflexible'' (xii). Damon asserts that ''[Blake] introduced flat contradictions, which can be resolved only when the meaning is understood'' (x). But what if the contradiction is the meaning? Or what if what Blake meant was to create a text, a space for the reader, which made contradiction possible, even forced it as a condition of reading? What new kind of reading does this require? Damon continues, ''System there is, but it must be discovered'' (x). And further, ''The purpose of this dictionary is to make things easier for readers'' (xi). Interesting to note is that criticaJ programs like Damon's are often accompanied by an equally rigorous and systematizing (that is, normalizing) editorial policy (more on Blake anthologies below). As Damon notes, ''like all Blake scholars, I have felt free to repunctuate in the interest of clarity'' (''Note'' 1).

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    47 The impulse to explain as it manifests in editorial decisions is evident in what seems the usual, and for that reason transparent, practice of grounding Blake's poetry in reference to literary ''tradition." For example, David Worrall, in his Urizen Books, offers this textual note to accompany Plate 3, verse 1 of Tlie Book of Ahania: ''Fuzon' s chariot echoes Milton's 'Chariot of Paternal Deitie, / Flashing thick in flames' in Paradise Lost . For other flaming horses and chariots see Butlin [nos. 385, 386, 390]'' (184). What does this note do? Milton's verse itself could be explicated with reference to further sources; we are offered a curious kind of information in this textual note. It seems haunted by the spectre of a critical desire to prove Blake's ''sanity'' by traditionalizing him: showing what or who Blake is like, what he might have read, or what he might have seen. The very concept of an echo is confusing in this sense-echo: ''the repetition of a sound caused be a sound wave coming against some opposing surface ... to imitate ... to flatter slavishly'' (Webster's 127). Does Fuzon's chariot do something outside the text? Does the reader ( only Worrall?) call into the caverns of his or her reading experience in hopes of hearing something back? Does the text itself voice something? Does it hear back? When does echo stop being echo? When the chariots no longer flame? Certainly such a textual note is a valuable piece of information, and I am not suggesting it be removed. But is it all we need to know, if we need to know anything? What motivates the editor to provide such info11nation and how does it affect the possibilities of our reading? Here and Now

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    48 If there is a fundamental difference between projects which explain Blake to make things easier and the present one, it is that I am not trying to smooth contradictions or tensions, so much as I want to draw attention to them and consider what develops from leaving them in place. That is, what happens if we can learn to read with difficulty instead of with ease? What happens when not everything fits, or when everything fits in different ways? 1 In this chapter, I pursue the tensions introduced by Blake as a deeply self-reflexive author, and I examine the explicit way in which the subject of Blake's books, that is, what they talk about, is deeply connected to how they are made. Nelson Hilton and Thomas A Vogler, in their ''Introduction'' to Unna,n 'd Forms, suggest that Blake's was a ''print consciousness'' and that ''material traces of Blake's writing practice ... [are] an integral part of whatever artistic meaning can be read in Blake's texts'' (6). What Deleuze and Guattari highlight for me, as I try to extend my reading of Blake as an artist aware of material processes, is the conception of the book as always a production of print consciousness, but one stemming from an ''author'' as intersection of multiplicities (perhaps multiple multiplicities, and perhaps self-contradictory). The page (the many pages of any author) is thus a site for many, potentially contradictory, self-interfering impulses and pressures, which find their way from writing practice to printed page. In this chapter I look at Blake's "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence and The Book of Urizen (mainly as they are printed in Erdman's Collected Poetry and Prose of William Blake), in addition to other of Blake's work, in ter1ns of the tension between fixity and fluidity, although these ter1r1s are by no means themselves always mutually

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    49 exclusive, or fixed. Generally, I pursue the fixity of Blake having to attach what he called Poetic Genius, or inspiratjon, to the material page (and thus to participate in limiting imagination to the frame of the book), cont1asted to the fluidity Blake seemed to have believed to inhere in the poet's vision and in the ''infinite'' he alludes to in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. I set up the conceptual fixity-versus-fluidity framework in order to further elaborate books, writing and reading as elements of one of the most persistent and present constellation of symbols throughout Blake's work. (Erdman has called a portion of this ''Blake's workshop symbolism'' (Illuminated Blake 13).) This context will become extremely important for subsequent chapters in which I set Blake's marginalia as a practice deeply inforn1ed by (and informing of) Blake's theories of reading and writing. Important for chapter 2 is to examine how Blake is implicated in the fixity/fluidity tension, since he must, due to the material conditions of book production, fix his fluid vision to the page. Blake's willingness to implicate himself in processes otherwise associated with such figures as Urizen (and Newton), such as binding vision into book for1r1, suggests to me the complexity with which Blake approached his work as an artist in what Stuart Peterfreund called ''a Newtonian World'' (Blake in a Newtonian World). Books: Real and Ideal The process of much of Blake's art, his writing practice, was a physical and material one, often more muscular than just pen and paper would require The tools of Blake's work included the graver, the burin, acid washes, metal plates, and a rolling press with 4 foot spokes, used as handles, to tum the press. (The Tate Britain's Blake exhibition had on display a press similar to the one Blake would have used; Abraham

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    50 Bosse's ''Cette figure vous montre Comme on Imprime les planches de taille douce'' [Tate #99] shows an apprentice printer using both hands and a f oat to tum the great wheel.) Blake describes his method in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell as ''printing in the infernal method'' (Plate 14). ''If the doors of perception were cleansed,'' he writes, ''every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite'' (Plate 14). It is important to note that Blake posits his printing method, the infernal method, as a way to produce books, as a way to teach a certain kind of reading and, ultimately, a certain kind of perception. His process of relief etching was, in fact, directly contrary to the standard method of the day, intaglio engraving (a technique Blake would have learned as an apprentice and at the Royal Academy) (Ackroyd et al. 104). Thus what the book is about, ultimately, is how it was made, for it is made to teach (by requiring) a different kind of reading strategy The book printed in the infernal method is to communicate a depth and clarity of vision. Deleuze and Guattari pursue their own version of this book, suggesting that ''the ideal for a book would be to lay everything out on a plane of exteriority ... on a single page, the same sheet: lived events, historical determinations, concepts, individuals, groups, social formations" (9). Nothing would be hidden. But this is the ideal. In the real world of books, even A Thousand Plateaus is bound by the conventions, the material necessities, of ink and paper and hands turning pages. They have attempted to confound traditional reading, to counter ''the State as the model of the book'' by writing in ''plateaus." They write, ''a book composed of chapters has culmination and tertnination points." But plateaus ''can be read starting anywhere and can be related to any other plateau'' (22). (Of course, we still cannot begin mid-sentence

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    51 somewhere in the book and hope for things to make sense, so really, we cannot start ''anywhere.") For Deleuze and Guattari, the form of the book is a political option: one choice among many. ''To attain the multiple," they write, ''one must have a method that effectively constructs it'' (22; my italics) Blake's method is clearly set up to oppose certain reading practices; for him, creating fonn is also choosing a political option. I covered this, in part, in Chapter 1 in my analysis of Blake's text as anti-Newtonian But if the ideal is to print in the infernal method, to reveal the infinite, to lay everything out on a plane of exteriority, to make all interpretive options equally accessible, then what is the reality of the book? And how does that reality intersect with the very reading practices Blake works against? Take, for example the reality of a Blake edition like David Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Northrop Frye described Blake as the ''victim of anthologies'' because of the limited way in which they tended to represent the artist. Beyond the ''dozen or so of his lyrics," normally collected in the anthologies Frye was familiar with, ''we are threatened with a for1nidable bulk of complex symbolic poems known as 'Prophecies''' (3). But even if anthologizers now feel less threatened by collecting more than just Blake's lyrics, Frye's assertion continues to hold true. Blake is still the victim of anthologies, even of anthologies like Erdman' s: likely the best available edition in terms of inclusivity, textual notation, and affordability. It aims ''to supply a sounder more uncluttered text for reading than has been heretofore available'' (xx.iii). However, we know that it includes only a fraction of the artwork

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    52 which is to accompany Blake's texts. (And only some artwork which is to stand alone. ) As Donald Ault writes in ''Unreading 'London '' 2 : in its [Erdman's C o mpl e t e Po e try and Prose of William Blake] attempts to approximate through conventional printing methods the subversive materiality and visual dimension of variant copies, this text acknowledges not only the radical openness of Blake s poems to conflicting readings but al s o .. the resistance of these poems to being '' read' at all in the conventional sense of that verb. (132) Erdman sedition typesets what should otherwise appear in handwriting. It choose s among many possible textual variants. It regularizes lettering, capitalization, sizing spacing, even punctuation at points (''Mo s t of the corrections of text have been small corrections of spelling and capitalization and of editorial bracketing or spacing ' ( xx v)) My point is certainly not to disparage what is the most accessible Blake edition available; I use it throughout the pre s ent work. In fact many Blake editions do not even consider that textual let alone narrative inconsistencies (so-called ) might be intent io nal and thu s should be reproduced or that interpretive possibilities (intentional or otherwise ) opened by a text rather than bein g regularized and shut down, can be made to rem ai n open. Duncan Wu in his commentary to Th e Fir s t B oo k of Uri ze n asserts that the '' I ' of stanza 2 is ' Blake, the poet receiv[ing] the dictation of the Eternals ' ( 100) And in Th e Book of Uri ze n as anthologized by Johnson and Grant the editors assert that 'Tli e B o ok o f Uri ze n is about Urizen but not b y him'' ( 140) However, one could just as easily assert that the '' f i s, like the only other '' f' in certain copies of the poem, Urizen himself a nd that the book is the book of, as in created/owned/produced by, Urizen Viscomi following many other commentator s, note s that the title The [First] B oo k o f U ri ze n

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    53 ''underscores the idea that Uri ze n is a parody of Genesis, the first book of Moses'' (280). Clearly Genesis is not the first book about Moses but, traditionally, by him ; to suggest that a book of Urizen is as much by as about him is not such a stretch. Perhaps it is even Urizen, not '' the poet'' (if even that is necessarily '' Blake '' himself) who hears the Eternals '' gladly'' because he can take their version of the s tory (''of' Urizen) and put it into his own word s, thus offering his perspective (line 5). Consider how radi c ally this alters our reading If Urizen is writing for himself the words of the Eternals a s they are spoken to him then line s like ''He strove in battles dire / In unseen conflictions with shapes/ Bred from his forsaken wilderness'' (Plate 3 13 15 ) become the cry of an oppressed hero who is struggling to survive despite having been forsaken by tho se who might help him. If we believe Wu and Johnson and Grant, that Urizen is not speaking, but is being spoken of, then we must close the possibility that Urizen himself has been forsaken for line 15 would imply that the wilderness has been corrupted by Urizen's presence not that it and he have both been abandoned. The fact remains that there is simply no justification for assertions like those of Johnson and Grant or Wu which look to control by limiting interpretive possibility other than to make things e asi e r for the reader. Indeed, denying one interpretive choice which we might make based on the title alone, before even getting to the text, closes down innumerable po ss ible interpretive branching s that might result. My general point i s to highlight the reality of books, writing and reading and the problems printing and production introduce into our study of any text or version. In this I feel the tension between fixity a nd fluidity between s table meanin gs and changing possibilities wh ic h is

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    54 to inform the readings I make of Blake's work in this chapter. There are, finally, certain pragmatics we cannot idealize away. Fixity, Fluidity, Inspiration Much of the fixity-fluidity tension arises from the way in which Blake expresses his conception of poetic inspiration and artistic execution. Take for instance, the implicit tensions on the artist in the 1809 Descriptive Catalogue. Blake writes in defense of ''representing spirits with real bodies'' in painting (541), suggesting that there is something different in the real bodies than in the spirits which they represent. Specifically, Blake is referring to the work on display at his 1809 exhibition, held at his brother James' shop at the corner of Broad Street, Golden Square, in London. He describes one work as ''the spiritual form of Nelson guiding Leviathan'' and another as ''the spiritual form of Pitt, guiding Behemoth'' (528-530). Blake makes clear his conception of the bodily form as something different though derived from inspiration. That spirits are bodied forth by the artist suggests Blake's deep awareness of the processes of mediation which occur between vision and material product. In defending his style as one of strong outlines (lineaments) against the ''blotting and blurring'' (529) of oil, Blake makes the case for poetic visions being ''organized and minutely articulated beyond all that the mortal and perishing nature can produce'' (541). The artist 's vision comes to him ''minutely organized," and thus he must create in a medium which allows for such minute organization to be communicated ''Spirits," writes Blake, ''are organized by men '' (542). There is clearly no interrogation here of that tension between the fluidity of inspiration and the artist having to fix that vision to the

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    55 page: it is simply what happens. To complicate matters, Blake seems to be arguing that vision itse l f is already minutely organized despite it having to be organized by men thus perhaps mitigating the culpability of the arti s t in limiting vision to the page. In the rhetorical move which posits a vi s ionary world that arrives to the artist already organized already 'fixed' in some ways Blake is obfu s cating his own complicity in organizing and fixing vision, and thus in limiting imagination. Erdman notes that Blake, as printer illustrator and publisher of his own work '' guaranteed the direct communication of the author 's original and final invention' and illumination to the . reader .. of ea c h original copy' ( Illuminat e d Blak e 10) However, as we see in the Des c riptiv e Catalogu e Blake implies that there is a stage prior to invention a stage of spirits-with which the poet ha s to contend. So while the communication from invention to reader might be perfect since Blake executes his own invention, there is much to suggest that the st a ge from in s piration to invention ( from the ' spirit' of Nelson to the ' real [repre s ented by the artist] body'' of Nelson, only nam e d as Blake begins to draw it on the page) might be more complicated If Blake does not pursue the ten s ions involved in such mediation in the D e scriptive Catalo g u e we must make allowances for context and recall that Blake is in the busines s of selling. He aligns him s elf with a tradition that in large part he him s elf imagines ( '' Michael Angelo' [sic] and ''Rafael '' [sic]) and against another ( Titian, Rubens and ' Corre g gio '' [ s ic]). Yet he i s writing as the voice of one, crying in the wilderne ss, for his water colour s 'are regularly refu s ed to be exhibited by the Royal Acad e m y, and the British Instituti o n'' ( 527-528) In setting him s elf up a s the oppressed artist Blake

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    56 perhaps by necessity, underplays the sorts of tensions he otherwise elicits on the composite page. In trying to sell his work, Blake is unlikely to present himself as ambivalent about his practice as an artist, and thus he effaces much of the otherwise conflicting tensions apparent elsewhere. Nowhere in the Descriptive Catalogue do we find the same sort of ambivalence about such organization that is otherwise so persistent in Blake's work. One immediately obvious example of this ambivalence is in The Tyger in which the narrator asks himself directly, ''What immortal hand or eye,/ Could frame thy fearful symmetry?'' Indeed, even this question becomes ''What immortal hand or eye, / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?'' by the end of the poem (lines 4 and 24), suggesting that the question is not just one of artistic ability, but is one which involves the choice to transgress some kind of boundary. ''Dare'' certainly connotes a sense of threat and consequence where ''could'' does not. The option to transgress also invites the question: whose authority legitimates the boundary to begin with? Is it God's? Tradition's? The Royal Academy's? Further, as is clear from Blake's drafts of the poem, he chose to change the original ''Dare form thy fearful symmetry'' to ''Dare frame thy fearful symmetry'' (795), likely to evoke even more specifically the materiality of representation. In this poem, composed entirely of questions, the narrator is deeply ambivalent about the artist's capacity to frame the subject in the confines of a representing medium. Indeed, the kind of minute organization called for in the Descriptive Catalogue is by no means an uncompromised endeavour if we believe the narrator in The Tyger: ''On what wings dare

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    57 he aspire?/ What the hand dare seize the fire?'' (7-8). Harold Bloom describes the illustrated tiger as ''a shabby pawn-shop sort of stuffed tiger'' with ''a confused and rather worried smile on what the text would hold is the fearful symmetry of his countenance'' (35; Figure 2-1) Bloom seems to work from the assumption that Blake tried to, but could not, draw tigers very well. Admittedly, it is not a particularly awe-inspiring tiger. (Nor is the lion in Urizen, Plate 23; Illuminated Blake, 205.) The point remains, however, that the illustration does, in fact illustrate what the poem is about, much more than it illustrates the mere text of the poem. For while the text tells us of fearful symmetry, the poem is about being afraid of symmetry. So even if Blake could not draw tigers very well, it is significant that he clearly realized the fact, and from that realization came the questions we read posed in ''The Tyger." Perhaps the fearful symmetry, which the narrator ascribes to the tiger, speaks more to some impossibility of the poet achieving symmetry between visions (of tigers, of the cosmos) and what she or he must produce of those visions in the material world Is the narrator afraid of the impossibility of achieving symmetry between vision and execution? Is Blake? My general point is definitely not to make the charge that Blake ''contradicts himself': that is, at one point he questions the effects of organizing/framing vision, at another he does not, and at still another, he suggests that vision is already minutely organized and is thus not limited by the artist. On the contrary, the conception of the author as a multiplicity, as Deleuze and Guattari suggest, would make it quite easy to see a different Blake writing in each of these instances, and each of them equally ''right." What comes from this does not require that we synthesize the contradictions, but that the

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    contradictions as contradictions speak to a difficult tension between vision and materiality, fluidity and fixity, that Blake himself struggled with constantly. Working Blake 58 I discuss Blake's ''method," although he employed many, in order to highlight some of the material conditions of his work as an artist and engraver, and in order to suggest how those material conditions influenced his artistic vision. As Jean Hagstrom has written, "[Blake] was deeply involved even in what he rejected" (143). Hagstrom's particular argument focuses on Blake's rejection of the Enlightenment, despite his deep involvement with its styles and ideas. Blake, as any satirist, needed a certain familiarity, needed even to admit a certain implication in and complicity with, that which he satirized. Northrop Frye writes, "it is not so much that Blake is unfair to them [Newton, Bacon or Locke] personally" (187), and later "not one of these thinkers are as opposed to Blake's mode of thought as, for instance Hobbes, whom [Blake] never mentions" (188). Frye, like Hagstrum, identifies in Blake the impulse he had to involve himself in the systems and ideas against which he worked, at the same time (and perhaps as a necessary corollary) to the way in which he involved them in his poetry. Thus the importance of the "Newtonian world" (as Stuart Peterfreund calls it), and the Newtonian currents against which Blake chose to swim in his poetry. For Blake could not possibly have ignored the Newtonian or imagined it out of his poetry. On the contrary, he imagined it deeply within his composite art, by way of a challenge to what he perceived as its basic errors, that is, its sense of an a priori order to the universe which could be found and described and yet remain unaffected by the inescapable textuality of that discovery and ''description."

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    59 Joseph Viscomi describes Blake's artistic practice as one in which ''the language of the medium frames and generates conception, and in which invention and execution are inseparable'' (Blake and tlze Idea of the Book 32). Not surprisingly, Blake often signed his work, ''The Author and Printer W Blake," as he did in Milton (Erdman illuminated Blake 217), in order to highlight the fact that he had kept intact those two elements of artistic production he thought so important: invention and execution. As a working engraver, though, Blake often had to execute other artist's inventions, and, as Bentley's Blake Records show, other artists often executed Blake's inventions. For Robert Blair's Tlie Grave, for example, Blake made 13 illustrations, though 12 of those were eventually engraved by Schiavonetti, despite Blake having been commissioned by Robert Hartley Cromek to design and engrave the illustrations (Bentley 166-172; 617). Blake writes, in a letter to Flaxman, that ''Mr. Cromek ... wished me to produce . about twenty designs ... [he] has set me to engrave them'' (Bentley 168). But in the prospectus to Blair's work, Cromek describes ''Twelve very spirited engravings by Louis Schiavonetti, from Designs Invented by William Blake'' (169). Inasmuch as Bentley describes Cromek as an engraver ''who was just venturing forth as an entrepreneur and promoter'' (167), and that the business arrangements between Blake and Cromek for the Blair illustrations were, at best, confused, recent Blake biographer Peter Ackroyd is quite right to have concluded that Blake was ''part of the first great period of commercialism and mass manufacture in English history, and he was one of its first casualties'' (75). In fact, where Blake referred to ''my friend Cromek'' early in the Blair project, afterwards, Blake was to write in his notebook, ''A petty Sneaking Knave I knew/ 0 Mr Cr------, how

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    60 do ye do'' (Bentley 171) Likely because of instances like this one, Blake makes clear that one of the many aspects of mass producing art, and of producing art for profit, with which he disagreed most was the separation of invention and execution. Blake's materials included, at various times, pencil, paper, ink, copper plates varnish and ground, graver, aqua fortis, water colours and pigment (Erdman, llluminated Blake 11). While Blake actually practiced a number of different styles of engraving printing and painting, I focus here on his copper-plate engraving, what he called relief etching. Blake began with a copper plate, cut to size from a larger metal sheet He then roughed out his designs (words, illustrations, or both) with white or red chalk. He painted over the chalk outlines with a mixture of salad oil and candle grease. The grease-oil mixture would resist the aqua fortis-made of vinegar, salt armoniack, baysalt and ver de griz-which bit into the unprotected areas of the metal plate. The designs Blake had painted with salad oil and candle grease would appear raised from the plate as the acid mixture bit in. Once the designs had been ' revealed Blake applied ink using a common printer's ball of cloth, and the plate was pressed onto paper. Blake made a preliminary wash for the paper with glue and water, and then hand-painted the words and images with a distemper of water, pigment and carpenter's glue. In some cases, it appears that Blake painted directly on the copper plate; this produces a more mottled, blotchy page. Jo s eph Viscomi's Blake and the Idea of the Book is a minutely detailed elucidation of Blake s relief-etching technique. Viscomi himself prepared plates using what he presumed to be Blake's methods to see what results they yielded

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    61 The significances of Blake's technique are many. It was often a literally revelatory process-as acids dissolved surface layers-and thus deeply tied to Blake's conception of what art should do by way of teaching a different kind of reading, and, by extension, a different kind of being in the world. Whether the material method led to the poetic theory or vice versa is the stuff of chickens and eggs; the two were undoubtedly interconstitutive and operated in a feedback loop. Important is that Blake could unite invention and execution where the mass production of art would divorce those two. Each copy would come out slightly different because of the hand-painting. Viscomi explains that ''an impression pulled from a painted plate necessarily depletes the colors ... if unreplenished the colors produce a substantially less intense image'' (280). Oddly, Viscomi refers to this as part of the ''exigencies of the technique," though I would argue that Blake chose the technique because it rendered a product most in line with his artistic ideals (280). As I asserted in Chapter 1 in relation to Mitchell's discussion of ''Newton," that the technique produced unpredictable results does not suggest that Blake was therefore indifferent to those results. On the contrary, Blake seems to have intended unpredictability, even chaos, in his work-the background in Newton for example. Through this type of engraving and printing, and by virtue of the variations it produced, Blake could work against the Newtonian single vision which sought unifor1nity and intellectual, not imaginative, investigation. Fixity : Fluidity : Song : Book In the ''Introduction'' to the Songs of Innocence, Blake figures the process of inspiration being given material form on the page. The metaphor which underlies what

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    62 might otherwise appear to be the simple action of the poem suggests the impossible dilemma of the artist whose vision comes from the non-rational world of imagination, yet who must fix that vision in material for1n for it to be shared. The tension between the fluidity Blake associates with poetic imagination and the fixity of the material page is also evident in The Book of Urizen. Urizen is situated between the fluid "Eternals" (which represent, to him, unlivable disorder) and the fixity of the world he wants to create (a "solid without fluctuation," he calls it), though both of these ''states'' are compromised and ambiguous. As I have suggested previously, in my discussion of Blake's ''Newton," for example, there is a marked degree to which Blake implicates himself in the tendencies toward fixity, which, as an artist in the material world, he cannot escape. And so there is a great degree of self-reflexivity, especially in The Book of Urizen. For example, Urizen legitimates his authority as creator of a prescriptive world system-the very thing Blake supposedly works against-in books of metal which are clearly analogous to Blake's own engraved metal plates. While working through his own implication in and participation with the Newtonian, Urizenic world of systems and metal plates, Blake does fight to retain a degree of fluidity in his work. He produces and reproduces his work in such a way as to ensure an individual uniqueness for each version, and Blake rarely settles on a fixed order for plates within works or for works within collections. The challenge is clearly to any sense of final closure a poetic project might have.

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    63 Frontispieces to Songs of Innocence and of Experience Before looking at the ''Introduction'' specifically, it is productive to note some of the key differences between the illustration on the Innocence frontispiece and that on the Experience frontispiece; therein we find a graphic representation of the dubious relationship between artist and inspiration Blake will explore directly in the ''Introduction'' (Figures 2-2 and 2-3). In the Innocence frontispiece, a naked child flies above the head of a bard or piper; Essick's commentary in William Blake at the Huntington suggests that ''the piper is a persona for Blake himself' (50). The child flies on or with a cloud arrangement compressed within foliage and branches of twining trees which bracket the left and right margins of the page. In this arrangement we are perhaps getting a glimpse of the material world closing in upon the celestial world implied by the cloud and child, just as our progression through the innocence collection will lead us towards experience (we come closer and closer to experience closing over us). Erdman suggests the contrary: '' the cloud is ... inside the protection of the branching trees'' ( 43; my italics). Given the constant tension between the vegetative and divine worlds throughout the songs, it seems unlikely that trees would represent ''protection'' of any kind; at the very least, it may be protection whose positive aspects are haunted by negative senses of enclosure, entrapment and containment. The realm opened by the child for the piper is identified by Erdman as '' that of the imagination' (Illuminated Blake 43) (Consider, however, that the Piper in the ''Introduction'' to Innocence is already piping songs when the child appears, suggesting that he does have access to imaginative energy without the child. What the child, in the

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    64 ''Introduction," seems to provide is more like the impetus to put creative energy into some for1n which can be shared with others: that ''Every child may joy to hear'' (line 20); I would still call this inspiration, though of a specific type.) It is crucial to note that in the frontispiece illustration the child and piper are not in material contact with each other; rather, the piper watches attentively, with his pipe ready, looking at/to the flying child whose arms are open in a gesture which suggests he is presenting the heavens above to the piper. Harold Bloom, in Visionary Company, asserts that ''the design in the frontispiece is of a shepherd dropping his pipe .. So the Songs are not piped'' (34); however, it is clear from the picture that the piper holds his pipe, and it is clear from the text that he does pipe a song. (The narrator tells us as much directly.) Bloom's rush to get to the writing of the song misses the progression from pre-linguistic to textual expression so important to the poem. As the text of the ''Introduction'' tells us, the child in the poem is ''on a cloud," defying the laws of the rational world. However, in the frontispiece to Experience, the ''piper'' (though he no longer carries his pipe) holds the child (now figured with angelic wings) against his head. The Experience frontispiece does not directly illustrate any specific textual moment, as the Introduction frontispiece does That such direct relations are no longer present works as a good reminder that we are, in fact, entering into the world of experience, in which nothing is as easy as it was in the world of innocence (if it was even ''easy'' then). (For example, questions are posed and answered in ''The Lamb''; they are only posed in ''The Tyger," and then without question marks.) In the Experience frontispiece, the two figures are in direct contact, unlike in the Innocence frontispiece.

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    65 Instead of looking to the child for inspiration, the piper seems to have captured inspiration, physically restraining the child against him, and now both figures look out from the page to the reader. Erdman seems to see none of the dark overtones of capture and restraint (even domination and ownership) that I would suggest are operating in the experience frontispiece. He writes simply that the piper's hands ''are holding the hands of a naked boy who is not now on a cloud but is winged for potential flight'' (70). Essick suggests a parallel to the image of St. Christopher carrying the Christ child across a river (56). Given the context of the ''Introduction'' to the collection, however, I would argue that the change in the relationship between the piper and child is more ominous than merely ''holding hands'' would suggest. That the child might be prepared for ''potential'' flight is less important than the fact that he is not flying, and indeed would have to escape the piper's grasp to fly. In addition, the flight would be more ''believable'' in the sense that the child has wings. Thus his ability to fly would be explained to some degree, especially if we assume that the child is not now a child but a winged angel. In the Innocence frontispiece, the child flies without explanation. Curiously, the Experience piper steps towards us with his right foot leading, whereas the Innocence piper steps forward with his left foot leading (Erdman, flluminated Blake 70). Erdman does not comment on the significance of this. Perhaps the piper has implicitly moved, or ''taken a step," towards reaching us as readers, in that from looking to inspiration, he has now captured inspiration; the next ''step'' for the artist is towards the reader. Perhaps, in experience, we are more aware of the artist as mediator between vision and page, where in innocence, we assume no complications between visionary and

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    66 everyday worlds. In the Experience collection, we might see the artist having moved towards us; that is, he has become more concerned with ( or is now faced with) the world of experience. Despite the tendency to see pictures as ''spatial'' and text as ''linear," it seems that Blake is inviting a pictorial linearity in having the Innocence and Experience frontispieces so clearly connected, though with changes to reflect some progression or movement in the larger thematic story. Mitchell describes this: ''any words we find to describe the frontispiece to Experience will have to involve transfo1mations and reversals of the language discovered in the poem and illustration which introduce Songs of Innocence'' (5). As I show below, the ''Introduction'' to the Songs of Innocence works through the pattern which implicitly links the innocence and experience frontispieces: the increasing mediation between artist and inspiration. What complicates the ''Introduction'' to In,iocence is that sense of the necessity for the poet to fix inspiration to the page, just as the piper is eventually illustrated as seizing and restraining inspiration. ''Introduction'' to the Songs of Innocence The "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence is an apparently simple poem, as are many in the collection. The poem maintains its regular trochaic tetrameter from start to finish with no irregularities, broken words, or enjambments. The A-B-A-B rhyme is only abandoned in stanza 3, in which lines 1 and 3 end with ''pipe'' and ''again'' respectively, and in the final stanza in which lines 1 and 3 end in ''pen'' and ''songs'' respectively. The first non-rhyme is revealing in that it reminds of the insistence with which the child compels the piper to put his ''Piping'' into nameable for1n and content: that is, the child asks for a ''song about a Lamb'' (line 5). Notably, the child requests that the Piper play

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    67 the song ''again'' and sing the song ''again'' (lines 7 and 11). It is not until the Piper writes his song down ''In a book that all may read'' (14) that the child vanishes and thus does not request a repetition. The need for repetition by the artist until the point at which writing occurs suggests the precarious valence writing will have in this poem particularly (as I explore below) and in many other instances throughout Blake's work. For it is a process by which imaginative vision can be shared (without its having to be repeated by the artist), but also the point at which that vision, or creative energy, is forced into one fixed form upon the page and the possibility of its ever becoming something else is closed (though Blake's art certainly works to disrupt that closure to some degree). The second non-rhyme points to the uneasy relationship between the artist's ' pen," as mediator between inspiration and material page, and the ''songs'' as necessarily mediated fo1ms of inspiration, though perhaps slightly different than their written (not sung) counterpart The immediate context of the 'Introduction'' in the songs of innocence (either about or from innocence) likely invites a simple reading. What makes the ''Introduction'' so fascinating is not that Blake dismisses the rational world in favour of the visionary, but rather that he acknowledges materiality as inescapable: a necessary reality of artistic production. The first stanza introduces the Piper, "Piping down the valleys wild/ Piping songs of pleasant glee" (7) The Piper is suggestively representative of the artist, and the simplicity of his pleasant songs is likely meant to remind us of the apparent simplicity of the very Songs we are reading. It i s also important that the Piper is not silent, and thus not devoid of creative energy. Blake introduces a child in line 3 who immediately defies Newtonian physical law by floating

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    68 on a cloud. The child's call to the Piper to "Pipe a song about a Lamb" suggests that he is some form of inspiration, though again, the Piper was not without song prior to the child's call; that ''The Lamb' is a poem in the ''Innocence'' collection, reminds us of Blake's immediate involvement in what is at stake. The Piper responds willingly to the child's call, perhaps as the artist responds to inspiration by giving form to creative energy The Piper's art is met by the child's curious reaction: "he wept to hear" (7). We will discover in line 12 that the tears are tears of joy. But that the child cries to hear a song played by the Piper foreshadows the negative aspect of the artist's limiting role in transmitting inspiration or in giving for1r1 to (that is, fixing) imaginative energy It is as though Blake imagines inspiration hearing itself as translated by the artist, and then weeping for what has been lost in that translation. Perhaps there is some part of the child that weeps for the Piper's ''songs of pleasant glee'' which are now about something. The piper's artistic mediation elicits at best a dubious response from the child. In stanza three, the child calls for the Piper to drop his pipe and sing, which he willingly does And by stanza four, the Piper is called to "write/ In a book that all may read" (7). Here is the end of the progression from music to song to speech to printed word: a progression which illustrates the movement further and further away from the Piper's first songs. Thomas A. Vogler, in ''Hearing the Songs,'' describes this movement: ''from prelinguistic utterance to its representation and amplification in written language." But, as Vogler suggests, '' the process may contaminate its source'' (Approaches to Teachirig Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience 127)

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    69 As the Piper begins to write, the child disappears: "he vanish'd from my sight" (7) That is, as creative energy is fixed onto the printed page (it is given definite form), the artist closes the possibility for that creative energy to become anything else. From the moment of possibility, at which the creative impulse might impel the artist to create any number of things, the artist moves towards the finality of the fixed page. (Notably, part of Blake's larger poetic project seems to have been to subvert the fixity and finality of the finished page; examples abound, including re-ordering plates in various works or colouring works by hand in order that each might be different from the others.) However, the fixity of the printed page and the fluidity of inspiration are clearly at odds. Though, as the final stanza suggests, the material page (fixity) and the creative impulse (fluidity) are inescapable necessities if art is to be possible. And I stain'd the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear (18-20) These lines express the complicated tension between fixity and fluidity, and are, themselves, open to different readings which produce different valences for the artistic act. Does the process of staining the water clear it? In this sense, does fixing vision to the page make it clear, as in visible, to an audience? Or is the water clear to begin with but then stained by the artist? That is, does fixing vision necessarily limit that vision to one of what might have been many variations? (It is this sense of possibility inherent in creative energy before it is given material form-whether final or not-which suggests to me ''fluidity.") That Blake chooses a water image-an overtly ''fluid'' image-to represent

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    the Piper's final writing of the song may function to under1nine the very fixity such writing suggests. As I had mentioned earlier, Blake seemed to work constantly against the sense of any work being ''final'' or ''finished.'' Indeed the water image here may allude to Blake's water-colouring of the Songs themselves: a process which rendered differences between all the versions. 70 Finally though, the staining of the water at least yields a material result that "every child may joy to hear" (7). (Adults can perhaps also joy to hear, though that joy may always be tinged by the sense of loss for what else might have come from the child's call to the Piper to give form to his imagination. This assumes we can align children with Innocence and adults with Experience, but even that does not seem always to be the case, as in the ''Chimney Sweeper'' of Experience ) But if inspiration is to be shared, it must be fixed to the printed page, otherwise vision remains the artist's alone. The fluid, non rational world of inspiration is accessible by the artist; but that part of inspiration, perhaps represented by the child, which compels creative energy to be organized into material fortn, requires that creative vision be fixed in place by the artist's pen. Without the printed page to transmit vision, the artist is no more effective than he who does not accept inspiration at all; the Piper, for example, becomes as solitary with his vision, or with his songs of pleasant glee, as Urizen will later appear with his books of metal. Orality and Books (Reading Allowed) My discussion up to this point has not treated one of the major components of Blake's work in general, and certainly a facet of the ''Introduction'' which needs attention: the orality implicit in song as a for1n. Recall the rhyme in the final stanza which does not

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    71 follow the pattern A-B-A-B: Line 1 reads ''And I made a rural peri" while line 3 reads ''And I wrote my happy songs'' (my italics). The irregularity in the rhyme draws particular attention to the friction between the pen as an instrument of writing, but song as an oral for1n. That hearing is a sense more receptive in innocence than in experience is suggested in The Song of Los, in which Blake writes, ''the delicate ear in its infancy/ May be dull' d'' as a result of growing into the world of experience (Plate 7, 5-6) (The formation of the senses is generally imagined as a process of contraction throughout Blake's work.) Blake is even said to have sung his compositions at various informal gatherings (like those of the Reverend Anthony Stephen Mathew and Harriet Mathew in Rathbone Place), though none of the music survives, if it was ever transcribed. Certainly Blake would have been familiar with popular song; he did 9 engravings for Joseph Ritson's Select Collection of English Songs in 1783 (Bentley 610). Singing and speaking are clearly powerful forces in Blake's work; they perhaps represent a movement away from the finality of the fixed, written page. The materiality of the voice may have felt less threatening for Blake than the material permanence of graver and metal plate, or even of pen and paper. Thus a consideration of orality bears directly on the larger issues of fixity and fluidity at stake. It is crucial that the narrator in the ''Introduction'' consoles himself with the knowledge that every child may joy to hear the songs that he is writing. The important though implicit step is the re-enactment of the words by the human voice to enable a hearing. (We might think, for example, of ''The Cradle Song'' or ''Laughing Song.'') As such, even the written word when it is

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    reproduced has the potential to go beyond the limitations of the page upon which it was written-to be lifted from even the finished page and thus reopened and reconsidered. 72 Below, I discuss some of the problems that arise for our reading Blake after he has been processed by editors: after punctuation and syntax are regularized for example But would reading aloud open up these ''problem'' areas to allow for multiple hearings more easily than a fixed (especially typeset) version does? Take the syntax of ''LONDON," Copy G, for example. Blake inserts a period at the end of the first stanza, suggesting that the narrator ''marks'' just marks of weakness and woe. Stanza two is kept separate from the marking verb. Thus we begin stanza 2 reading towards a new verb, something being done to or in every cry, every man, every voice, etc. But there is no verb to be found unless we read-by-ignoring the period which separates the catalogue of ''every's'' from ''I hear," the first verb to come in stanza 2. Thus, to have access to ''mark'' or ''hear'' as the verb connected to the nouns of stanza 2, we must read against the rules of punctuation. (It is almost as though Blake brackets the ''every'' catalogue with periods to open both verbs as equally accessible, but neither more ''correct'' than the other, thus emphasizing that it is our choice to transgress syntactic, ''charter' d''?, rules.) But Erdman, in The Complete Poetry and Prose, eliminates the second period, forcing us to read ''hear'' as the more syntactically correct verb. Ironically though, if we were to ''hear'' the poem read aloud, the multiple semantic possibilities would remain untroubled by the ljmitations of, in this case, punctuation, so long as we cannot hear punctuation as easily as we can see it; (in other words, more readings are allowed when we read aloud). Even if we hierarchize possible meanings as

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    73 we hear a poem (by choosing most likely subject-verb-object connections), those choices are still ours, not subject to an external authority (like an editor). Re-visioning the material page as a space of contested authority will have deep implications for later chapters, in which I consider marginalia as, in part, the creation of dialogue upon the otherwise uni vocal page. But what then is the status of ''the book'' in these songs? How do reading, writing, hearing and teaching intersect? Consider that Blake's songs, Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, is itself a book taking part in a prominent (and, at the time, lucrative) tradition of children's books-Barbauld's Lessons for Children from Two to Three Years Old, for example-which were invariably types of instruction manuals (books for ''showing''?) often deeply informed by the Calvinist belief in the inherent sinfulness of children. Calvin writes, ''infants themselves .. bring their condemnation into the world with them .. though they have not yet produced the fruits of their iniquity, yet they have the seeds of it within them'' (Institutes Vol 2: 8) Mark Leader, in Reading Blake's Songs, notes Blake's immediate involvement in children's literature as an engraver, working on Wollstencraft's translation of Salzmann's Elements of Morality for the Use of Children; Blake also met children's authors like Barbauld and Chapone through his connection with their literary circle (4). Blake seriously complicates the implicit belief that children can be instructed, and thus corrected, by virtue of a book; thus the ''book'' becomes a multivalent symbol whose positive or negative valuation depends perhaps most heavily on what we import as readers in terms of our belief about authority, teaching and books.

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    74 The book in Blake's songs is at best a mediator between children and adults, and does not itself represent an artifact of either innocence or experience. The book is certainly not an untroubled source of authority, any more than it can contain a transcendent truth or morality. Like most of the songs themselves rather, the status of the book as ''of innocence'' or ''of experience ' depends most heavily on the reader's perspective. Is it possible to extend this argument and suggest then that if children are inherently sinful it is only so in the eyes of the adults who see them as such? The illustration on the Innocence title page shows a nurse or mother with a book, and two children, among other figures and designs (Figure 2-4, flluminated Blake 44). The argument goes, as Erdman himself notes in flluminated Blake, that the adult figure ''holds open a book for boy and girl to read'' (44; my italics) Essick notes the critical revision Blake makes to the otherwise common children s book motif of a mother reading to a child: ''the heavily dressed mother or nurse shows the book to the boy and girl'' (52). The activity is apparently innocent enough; however, I would remind that at points even Urizen responds to various interlocutors by stating that if he is misunderstood, or that if his laws seem perverse, everyone should just read his books (see for example The Four Zoas VII, 79). And on Plate 5 of The Book of Urizeri Urizen holds a book open for u s to read. The positioning of the book on the Innocence title page in between adult and child figures perhaps represents its ambiguous nature: part of both the world of experience and the world of innocence. Indeed the necessity of learning by reading, that is being directed into a for1nal structure of knowledge, is perhaps one of the markers that signals

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    75 our progression from innocence (the stage of sounds and voices) to experience (the stage of written argument). The book may be just as much ''between'' adult (experience) and child (innocence) metaphorically as Blake presents it literally between the figures on the title page. (Admittedly, one of the children is beside the nurse and not separated from her by the book. However, both children are looking at the book and not at the nurse, so the books remains a form of medjation between all three.) Contrast the attention to orality in the Songs with the specific form with which Urizen is associated in the narrative named for him: his is the ''book'' of Urizen. In all copies but Git is the ''First'' book of Urizen, suggesting that Blake envisioned more to come in a series (Erdman 804). Most commentators agree that The Book of Urizen represents the first book in the ''Bible of Hell'' Blake promises on Plate 24 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (see for example Viscomi 280-281). (The Book of Ahania and The Book of Los are the ''second'' and ''third'' books of Urizen respectively.) Fixity and Fluidity in TJie Book of Urizen As I had suggested above in my discussion of ideal and real books, textuality and variation play a considerable role in how we read; meaning is not transcendent of materiality but deeply informed by it. Perhaps for no other ''book'' is this more true than for The Book of Urizen. Thus I must caution immediately that I focus on limited examples, and I muster those examples to explore only a limited perspective on the book. There are many, many more which could be pursued. Fwther, I will not attend to every illustration, nor can I possibly account for every variation in the extant copies. I quote primarily from the version of Urizen collected in Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of

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    76 William Blake, except where recourse to other versions opens up further possibilitie s to consider reading writing and books as symbols and as activities. The plate order printed by Erdman is not one we can confir1n that Blake ever devised; thus the arrangement is entirely editorial ( One editor calls it ''' ideal' '' (Worrall, The Uri ze n Book s 148) .) A particularly productive aspect of the plate order Erdman gives is the inclusion of Plate 4 a plate otherwise absent from 5 of the 8 known variants (present in A, B, and C). By productive, I mean that it make s possible a great deal of critical exploration and insight because so much crystallizes on the one page. In or on this plate Urizen (likely) seems to deliver the only direct speech to appear in the poem It begins, ''From the depths of dark solitude . I have sought for a joy without pain '' (Plate 4 lines 6-10 ; Erd man, Illuminat e d Blak e 186 ). It is this joy without pain which exemplifies, for most readers, that characteristic so fundamental to Urizen: the denial of contraries and a desire for singularity. To complicate matters though, Blake has not given quotation marks to si gnal when the speech (i f that is what it is) begins, though many editors add quotation mark s for what they call clarity (for example Dover Publication's 1997 The Book of Urizen-the facsimile does not include Plate 4, yet the ''printed text'' version does, though ''with some norrnalization of Blake 's spelling punctuation, and capitalization'' (Publisher's Note )) As to why Blake removed this plate from some versions of the book, I can only speculate Mo s t striking to me is the convergence between the narrative of the book the separation of Urizen from the Eternals (o r the ''f alling '' of Urizen)-and the dropping of the plate in which Urizen is mo s t firmly constituted as an active agent, actually speaking on his own behalf. Does Blake make Urizen ''fall'' from his own book? Personally

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    77 disturbing is the fact that the only page to have come loose and fall from my own copy of Erdman' s Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake is the page on which Plate 4 appears. Do we ''explain'' this by saying that of course that page would fall out since I tum to it so often? Did Blake make Plate 4 fall because he returned to it so often? Viscomi asserts that while the exclusion of some plates from some versions might be arbitrary, the exclusion of Plate 4 (and Plate 16, a full illustration) was ''systematic and thus meaningful'' (283). Viscomi contends that in Plate 4 ''Urizen speaks," and he (Viscomi) shows how Plate 16 in Copy A depicts Urizen in fire, a symbolic equation which would ''prevent fire from functioning consistently and clearly as a visual symbol of true as opposed to false creation'' (283-284). So, as Viscomi's argument goes, Blake drops the plates to maintain consistency. All of this only follows, of course, from a general readerly approach which presumes to uncover some pre-existing consistency and clarity, two characteristics I would not assign to Blake at all, and which assumes that only that which is systematic is meaningful. As I have tried to show, this approach pervades Blake criticism right down to the editorial, textual-note, level. Take Plate 14, for example (Figure 2-5). Worrall, working from Copy D, asserts that the figures represented are ''Eternals'' (41). But the rightmost figure, to which a ''blue wash'' has been applied, looks very much like the figure identified elsewhere as Urizen. The long white beard and the blue tint are highly reminiscent of the figure in Plate 20 whose identity is hard to detertnine. Is it Urizen because of the beard? Does it coincide with Chapter V, ''Urizen deadly black, [not blue] in his chains bound''; though is Urizen in chains, or is he the object being observed by Los, 10 lines above, who ''endur'd

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    78 his chains'' (Plate 13)? Now chains themselves become a complicating, not a clarifying factor. Appeals to consistency, especially to explain authorial intention, simply do not stand up. If anything, what Blake forces us to consider are the implications of the ''Urizenic nature of [Los's] activities," as Paul Mann writes, and, further, that characters ''intergenerate'' one another, as Tilottama Rajan writes (54; 259). In light of these complications, the argument that Urizen would appear too ''heroic'' if his speech were left intact, as Viscomi contends, does not ring true to me, especially because of the fluid nature of every character throughout the poem. Further, I discuss below the problems of labelling a character ''too'' anything, in that such a relative estimation depends on our comparing the agent of a local action to some larger construct which we must call ''the true character," but which is no more true than the ideal Copy D of the book itself Consider that with Plate 4 (also referred to as 4a in some numbering schemes) removed (to make Urizen less heroic, as Viscomi argues) the narrative moves from ''Shrill the trumpet: & myriads of Eter I -nity'' on Plate 3 to ''In living creations appear' d / In the flames of eternal fury'' (lines 44-45 to Plate 4, lines 1-2, Copy D). Up to this point in the narrative, Urizen has been trying to survive his expulsion (or withdrawal, depending on whose perspective we believe) from Eternity by organizing, building and creating. With Plate 4/4a excised, the Eternals arrive and chase Urizen into the ''desarts and rocks'' (20) with their flames of fury. They drive him to ''howlings & pangs & fierce madness .. Till hoary, and age-broke, and aged./ In despair and the shadows of death (24-27). Especially if we recall that this book of Urizen could be as much by him as about him (just as Genesis is said to be by Moses, not about him), then I think we must consider

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    79 how easy it might be to see Urizen as deserving of our sympathy. After all, the Eternals appear to have just chased him into seclusion for no reason. It is the Eternals (assumed to represent ''true creation'' because associated with fire?) who are jealous, vindictive and arbitrary with their anger. At least with Plate 4/4a intact, we get a chance to see Urizen proclaim his laws in books of metal, and as such we are given some reason to explain the Eternals' reaction to him. I would argue that with Plate 4/4a excised, Urizen becomes a much more sympathetic character. Thus Viscomi 's argument that Plate 4/4a makes Urizen too heroic does not take into account that other perspectives might be possible. It depends very heavily on closing interpretive possibilities which complicate our sense of perspective-that is, who we believe could be telling the story, and thus our sense of how characters represent good or evil forces. Mitchell certainly understates the case: ''the identification of figures is often problematic'' (Blake's Composite Art 109). Note the further irony that with Plate 4/4a excised, it is the Eternals who appear with the shtill trumpet blast. But with Plate 4/4a in place, it is the seven deadly sins of the soul, born of Urizen himself, who appear. And Plate 4/4a makes Urizen too heroic? Much of this is to suggest the tension between fixity and fluidity (in materiality, in interpretation) that pervades a book like Urizen. Of course, in studying that tension, I cannot remove myself from it. As such, admittedly, I commit some of the editorial faults that Blake's texts so clearly work against, for to proceed, I do need to fix a few things in place. For example, I name the bearded figure pictured throughout the book as Urizen where it seems productive to do so, even though the text does not necessarily make such a direct assertion. In some ways, naming of this sort is a convenience which identifies the

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    80 activities going on in the text with those being perfo1med (or whose consequences appear) in the illustration. To speak of ''Urizen'' then is often to speak of a set of activities or desires occurring in a specific context, more than it is necessarily to speak of a unified, stable character that is posited to exist outside, even to transcend, the text. (Thus there is no ''too'' heroic.) As those sets of activities and desires vary from context to context we are forced to think of ''Urizens'' even while we write of ''Urizen." To speak of a ''Urizen'' (or of any other character) as existing somehow outside of the activities presented in Blake's texts is to suggest an ''ideal ' against which we are forced to measure every instance of ''his'' ''appearance," by which I mean the appearance of U-R-I-Z-E-N as a collection of marks on the page. It seems we will always be confounded then by individual contexts which do not confot m neatly to the posited ideal, in which case we are left to say that Urizen is an inconsistent character, is acting ''out'' of character, or worse, that Blake is inconsistent in his characterization. What seems more productive, however, is to consider character only as individual contexts of activities and desires grouped under a common name. Thus contradictions are not deviations from some ideal, but rather they constitute the character itself. (I would argue that this more closely approximates real people, who are themselves often a series of contradicting desires and activities.) I am choosing to move fundamentally away from the assumption, implicit in systematic critical projects like those of Frye and Damon, that there is some mythic field which constitutes, grounds and guarantees the coherence of narrative and character (and thus writing and reading), or against which we can gauge the consistency of any action.

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    81 Since I entertain the likelihood that characters do not act so much as action defines one parameter among the larger set of some nameable agency, I am choosing to follow Ault's description of characters as ''complexes of relationships, with no real interiors'' (Four Zoas 280). His description is specific in this case to the Lamb of God and Satan in Night VIII of The Four Zoas; however, I see no reason why the description cannot be more generally applied. Ault's attention to ''perspective ontology'' may, in fact, be another way of framing ''character'' as a category constituted by not proof of, agency at a given moment (280). My purpose is to concentrate on The Book of Uri ze n as a text in which the tension between fixity and fluidity crystallizes in a most profound way. Blake, as I tried to show in the ' Introduction'' to The Songs of In11ocence, is in no sense interested in evading or transcending the material nature of artistic production in his poetry, despite his concern for the limitations of materiality, or for avoiding the issue of having to fix his artistic vision to what may appear the immobile and immobilizing page. As Paul Mann writes, The Book of Urizen is ''a book about books'' (49). It is a ''system of enclosures'' (52). More than this, Urizen is a book about the impossibility of getting outside of the book one is writing. Blake complicates the usual prophetic outside of some transcendent authority through and from whom the poet receives dictation. In the Preludium to The Book of Urizen, the writing ''I," hears the call of the Eternals gladly, and invites them to ''dictate'' words and ''unfold'' visions. This is, presumably, a kind of invocation to the muses after which the writer receives what become the text and illustration we have before us But,

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    82 as Mitchell contends, the ''distinction [between Urizen and the Eternals] is not reducible to absolute good versus absolute evil," and thus our Eternal guarantors of ''true'' revelation are dubious (116). What does it mean, though, for the reader, when complications themselves unfold over the course of the book. Do we ''believe'' the Eternals' vision? Do we side with them and for how long? The persistence with which Blake complicates the book (in terms of character, narrative, text and illustration) speaks perhaps to his belief in our need to be complicated out of believing the Eternals' vision as, by default, good, and any opposition to them as bad For example, what are we to make of the Eternals who weave a ''woof and call it ''Science'' (Plate 19:9), or who ''erect the tent'' (Plate 19: 18) which separates them from Los (whom they had commandeered into watching and confining Urizen to keep him separate) (Plate 5:35-40)? Consider that Urizen creates the ''Net of Religion'' (Plate 25: 21). How do we align ourselves with or against one but not the other of these characters given their similar actions? Consider further the perversity of Blake moving the Preludium in Copy E from the front of the poem (where we are tempted immediately to believe the Eternals as an extra-textual authority) to a place between Plates 5 and 6 Where we would have ''For Eternity stood wide apart,/ As the stars are apart from the earth'' (Plates 5-6:40-1), we are given ''For Eternity stood wide apart," full page illustration of a floating, Urizenic figure, then ''PRELUDIUM I TO I THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZEN'' (Copy E, Plates 5, 12 2, following numbering system used by Bentley Erdman, and Keynes) In Copy E, it is not until Eternity is already ''wide apart'' that the writerly ''I'' calls for them to dictate words

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    83 and unfold visions. In fact, Blake moves the Preludium wide apart from where it should sit as prelude to the poem, as though moving the textual block were tantamount to moving meaning. In Copy E we are forced with the possibility that something like the ''Eternals'' are no more than E-t-e-r-n-a-1-s marked onto a page, and are thus no more outside of those marks than meaning is outside the materiality of the book. What does this separation, material and thematic, say about the legitimacy of the Eternals as epic narrators (dictators?)? Mitchell writes that Blake forces us to confront ''the potential egotism and megalomania of the prophetic, bardic role'' (112). Following from this, it becomes almost impossible to fix meaning. Yet we have before us a seemingly fixed book. The more we interrogate that fixity though, the more fluid things become, and we are confronted with a text that has forced a very different kind of reading strategy than the kinds of books suggested by the Urizenic books of law and measurement, themselves clearly reflective of the Newtonian text Blake wanted to work against. Blake does look to generate new kinds of poetic spaces and experiences by way of showing the hollowness of some of the assumptions behind ''Newtonian'' reading strategies which look to fix and stabilize meaning under authorial guardianship (as I discussed in Chapter 1). In "Incommensurability and Interconnection in Blake's Anti Newtonian Text," Donald Ault writes that "Newton was arguing for a single unified proto-philosophy and religion" (150). And that "One of Blake's central purposes in constructing anti-Newtonian narrative was to create in his readers an experience of the bankruptcy of the kinds of assumptions about the interconnections in knowledge, perception, and reality in the doctrine of the prisca sapentia" (141). The abstract,

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    84 universalizing nature of the laws which Urizen writes in his books of metal in The Book of Urizen, and the clear association between Urizen and Newton, suggests that, for Blake, there was a deep connection between the systemic nature of Newtonianism (as a cultural phenomenon) and the act of writing which ensured that system's cultural centrality. Urizen writes, not just in "books for1nd of metals" (Plate 4, 24) but in "the Book I Of eternal brass" (Plate 4, 33). Here he creates One command, one joy, one desire, One curse, one weight, one measure One King, one God, one Law. (Plate 4:38-40) That the book is eternal is crucial, in that it represents the very fixity, which Urizen assumes for his universalizing system, against which Blake will posit the fluidity of his own poetic work, even as that work participates in fixities of its own. We see abstraction as a for1n of control in Urizen as he explores his surroundings in The Book of Urizen: "He for1n'd a line & a plummet/ To divide the Abyss beneath." Urizen fonns "scales to weigh ... massy weights ... a brazen quadrant ... [and] golden compasses" (Plate 22: 32-40). Critically, as I had mentioned in Chapter 1, Urizen forms the weights and measures before exploring his surroundings. Thus what he finds will be circumscribed by the abstract, standardized weights and measures Stuart Peterfreund writes, "In the pursuit of a rational, universal, materialist understanding of reality, prescriptive thought attempts to deny the emotional, personal, and spiritual dimension of understanding through a strategy of marginalization and repression" (38). Compare this with an editor providing a ''Preface'' of some kind to The Book of Urizen in which we are told who is or is not speaking, what certain characters represent, what symbols mean, and

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    85 what this book's relationship to other books is. This provides the reader with the limited language of what he or she can discover, before making those (or what might have been other) imaginative discoveries unaided Blake is aware that the potential for discovery (or, indeed, change, creativity or imagination) is repressed by a system that has, by its nature, named that which it has not yet found. Tension in The Book of Urizen The Book of Urizen reveals much about Blake's involvement with the tension between fixity and fluidity. I remember at one point being able to discuss things like ''narrative'' in Blake without complication. And while I offer what amounts to such a discussion here, the process of it coming into being (put another way: how I have re learned to read by reading Blake) has given rise to the numerous discussions which surround it, including those on editors, characters, text-illustration relationship, and textual variation. My reading of The Book of Urizer1 has, unalterably, become a character in that narrative. My reading is an agent which shapes the text, which influences characters, and which is, in turn, (re )generated by the meaning it generates. So I discuss fixity and fluidity in terms of how they play out in the narrative of Urizen, but that very discussion participates deeply in the fixity-fluidity tension itself, for I am constantly trying to come to grips with the page as a set of marks fixed in place, yet the fluidity with which meaning can move, and, indeed, with which those very pages can sometimes move (have been moved), to reveal an entirely different fixity than the one I had first thought existed. The Book of Urizen has become its own horizon, limiting the stability with which arguments about it can be made by so irrevocably involving the practice of reading

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    86 within it. To discuss narrative, for example, is always to have to discuss something else, some other version or other possibility. Or it is simply to leave that something else out. The word Urizen is usually assumed to suggest horizon, your reason, or, as Haro]d Bloom suggests, to invoke the Greek ourizein (Erdman 906). However the last word of the first line of Chap: I offers an interesting variation of Urizen in ''risen," describing the shadow of horror in Eternity. In that the reader of the book has just turned the page to read, ''Lo, a shadow of horror is risen," what if ''you'' have just risen into the book? What if Urizen is also you-risen? Certainly the figure striding across the top of Plate 3 looks ''into'' the page, just as the reader does. And I have risen in the book to limit and to define and to argue and to fix things in place as horrible and as Self-clos' d as any other character. ''What Demon I Hath form' d this abominable void ... ?'' I hear the text say to me: It is you-risen. But fixity is neither always good, nor always bad. It is a necessity of making vision accessible in the material world. Conversely, fluidity is neither always good, nor always bad, but is revealed in books like Urizen (and Ahania, for example) as a problematic state of non-entity and thus non-activity from which the poet might generate vision, but beyond which the poet must take that vision and fix it to the material page, lest it remain unprolific, and unorganized (adjectives which recur throughout Blake's work). Urizen, in order to be an active agent, becomes, or is given, a solid body. He is for111ed by a process of contraction and limitation, ter1ns nor1nally carrying negative baggage in Blake. But without contraction and limitation, Urizen is left "unprolific," "unknown "unorganiz'd "disorganiz'd" (70-81). Thus, he is incapable of being and doing, until his

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    87 limitation. And as Urizen is organized into a solid body, so does Los himself take shape. As Paul Mann writes, Blake ''mirrors himself in both Urizen and Los'' (56). Suggestively, as Blake creates his book of Urizen, the bounds of his own imaginative vision (or the impossibility of the book becoming something else), as it is fixed to the page, are thrown into greater and greater relief. Truly then Los becomes loss-a figure paradoxically composed by the agency to remember what he had been as part of Eternity-just as Blake's vision loses part of itself, the parts that never become, to become material. Blake clearly implicates himself in the same organizing practices that Urizen undertakes by having Urizen create "books fo11nd of metals" to keep his codes and laws (24). Figure 2-6 shows Urizen with his books (Erdman, Tlie illuminated Blake, 187); notably, Urizen writes (or illustrates) with both hands, perhaps to suggest the mirror writing Blake had to practice in order that words engraved on a copper plate would, when pressed, face the correct direction on the page. It is also possible that in one hand Urizen hold a writing instrument and in the other an illustrating instrument. As he opens his book up and reads and writes it, we are reminded that we are also reading a book open before us. Curiously, Urizen's foot seems to be reading the text upon which he sits while his hands write. The text he ''reads'' here is very similar to the one Urizen opens for us on Plate 5. Do we thus discover later in the poem that Urizen is creating the same book over again, taking dictation from himself; or is this a different Urizen, or not him at all, or different books entirely?

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    88 The reader is also implicated in the symbolic system of books, reading and writing. Beyond the possibility that the reader is a ''you'' risen in the text, there is further evidence, arising from Blake's use of line breaks, suggesting the implication of Urizen, Blake and the reader in the system of reading and writing. Specifically, while Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake prints line 24, Plate 4 of Tlze Book of Urizen as, "Here alone I in books formd of metals," then a line break, and then ''Have written the secrets of wisdom,'' Erdman's The flluminated Blake reprints the original text's lines and line breaks: Here alone I in books f orind of me tals Have written the secrets of wisdom It is possible to argue that Blake simply ran out of room in the column of his page as he engraved, and therefore had to break the line at "books for1nd of me-." Or, he broke the line to preserve the (notably ragged) heptameter lines he'd been working in. Elsewhere in Urizen, Blake does break words across the line without leaving any obvious residual semantic meaning. The meaning may reside as much in Blake's ability to implicate the reader in books, writing and reading, as in the immediate semantic sense of the text at hand. For example, on Plate 23, copy B, at lines 6 and 7, Erdman prints ''portions of life .. Of a foot, or a hand, or a head / Or a heart, or an eye, they swam mischevous'' (Complete Poetry and Prose). Blake actually breaks the line as ''Or a heart, or an eye, they swam mis/ -chevous," leaving ''mis'' and ''-chevous," two otherwise nonsense words (lllurninated Blake 205). (At least ''me-tals'' leaves us with ''me.") It is possible to say

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    89 that mis and chevous are ''swimming'' like the portions of life they describe, but I'd also suggest that it is Blake's treatment of words-his breaking them apart-that is just as revealing as the meaning of the parts left over. Breaking the word reveals the word as something more than a semantic construction. In a line break which renders mischevous as mis / -chevous, we are forced to confront the mere textuality of words, that is, a word as a collections of lines, movements of the pen, no different in some respects than any of the other graphic marks that adorn Blake's page. That Blake might have considered words as collections of lines and curves, just as much as they were meaningful semantic wholes, is certainly suggested in the line which contains just ''-chevous." For Blake has filled in the otherwise blank space with a characteristic vine of interlinear foliage, suggesting the ease with which Blake moved from ''text'' to ''design'' as though he did not want the distinctions between those categories to operate as forcefully as they might have. At least there is the suggestion that the word and the vine share some common graphicality, one neither more nor less important than the other as marks on the page-at least not until the reader arrives, rising, to the text This particular tendril runs from the page's far-left edge (as we look at it), right through ''-chevous," (if we choose to differentiate the two) into a central vine stock which sends tendrils throughout the rest of the text and which descends to mirror (''mock," suggests Erdman) the head and shoulders of Urizen pictured below (Illuminated Blake 205). However, at the same time that the broken word can draw our attention to the word as a collection of letters and letters as a collection of marks on the page, we must

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    90 confront our ability to make meaning despite the breakage. What does this force us to confront about reading as an activity? Even if the linguistic is made to appear as the graphic, how do we, as readers, find our way back to the linguistic? Despite having to confront a broken textuality, the fact that we can still make sense, even of a fractured word, perhaps goes to show how stable semantic status really is, regardless of textual fragility. That is, we can still understand a word's meaning even when it is broken apart. (What define the limits of our ability to read broken words or various handwritings, for example?) Put a different way, by virtue of our ability to continue reading-by-fixing a broken word, and not having to discard the fragments entirely, we are made aware of some habit of reading by which we compare actual textual marks to an ideal whose semantic sense those marks are to invoke. From some vocabulary, we choose the ideal word that is most closely represented by the actual textual version we have encountered. This ability allows us to read a word written in a variety of different handwriting styles, but to arrive at the same meaning from each of those instances. Thus we clearly have some recourse to an authoritative mental catalogue, or ''interpretive community'' as Stanley Fish has suggested, which guarantees, or at least governs, semantic consistency even in the face of variant textuality. In being able to read through a broken line, especially in the context of a book about books, we are made to confront the deep penetration of semantic standardization which authorizes meaning, and which enables reading at all, by overriding textual inconsistency. To this end, we are faced with the fact that textuality is transparent to some degree. If it were not, then a broken word, like a broken window, would not allow us to

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    91 see through it to its meaning. The transparency (supposed or otherwise) of textual materiality is of central concern to the Santa Cruz Blake Study Group in their ''What Type of Blake?'' ''We are constantly influenced in our reading," they assert, ''by how a poem looks on the page'' (309). I certainly agree with their argument, and with their claim that ''Editors of Blake should be much more imaginative and insistent in their attempts'' to capture the typographic elements of Blake's page (311). That we can make it past ''the look of the poem on the page," even when the units of that poem are fractured, does, I think, mitigate the degree of influence that look has on us though. As I have argued above, we are at least forced (perhaps) to consider how we manage meaning and textuality in understanding a broken word, even if that breaking does not radically alter how we think of the page in general. Mis/ -chevous, for example, both calls our attention to the ''material substance'' of words as graphic marks on a page, yet speaks at the same time to our ability to gain access (or have recourse to) some non-material semantic sense. Thus reading is always to ''fix'' (a term with implications for ''fixity'') a text to some degree whereby we fit variation into the ideal it most closely approximates. Typesetting does most of this job for us by regularizing almost all aspects of print. Our ability to manage, or fix, variation does suggest the degree to which materiality is ''invisible'' or ''transpruent," however much the Santa Cruz Blake Study Group claims it is not (316317) Again though, I would agree with their general claim that editors of Blake do not need to make type more transparent by processes of so-called normalization.

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    92 In the case of the me-tals break, however, it seems likely that Blake did see the line break coming and deliberate]y chose to break metal into me-tals, such that we are left with the wonderfully chilling line: Here alone I in books f ormd of me ... Since there was so much room left in the line fallowing this one, Blake could have broken it at any number of different points. Certainly he could have left me-tals intact and moved it to the next line if he had wanted. Whatever Blake's intention, and whatever contingencies might have influenced the breaking of the line, however, it helps me to think through some of the complexity of Urizenic books and writing by considering what a "book formd of me" and a "book formd of metal" really are. It seems that for all that Urizen wants to believe that his books are abstract law, or mere empirical measurement of an existing space which he has had no hand in creating, and that his books are fixed by, not just on, the metal of their creation-they are, ultimately, of him: "formd of me." They are his perspective, his measurement, and his laws which are universal only because they have been abstracted beyond their individualized origins. And certainly we must hear Blake's voice claiming the "me" of his own "me-tal" books, and perhaps our own "me" as we read the book open before us. Indeed, how much of the "other's" text, is always really of us? Conclusion The volume of collected essays edited by Nelson Hilton and Thomas Vogler, Unnam'd Forms, explores the possibility that "the 'meaning' of a text is something derived from a technique of reading'' (1). And Tillotama Rajan's study of the

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    he1meneutics of reading, The Supplement of Reading, explores the role of reading as a practice shaped by the text itself, a text which asks us to ''consider not simply the structure of signs but also the life of signs in literary communities and in psychic life'' (I I). 93 The Book of Urizen is an exploration of Blake's own situation as an artist in a Newtonian world. He must balance the forces of fixity and fluidity as they come into play in his work. He must, as suggested in the "Introduction" to the Songs of Innocence, enter into the fluid world of the child-as-creative impulse, yet transmit his vision such that it can be apprehended by the five limited senses, for that is what the world is equipped with. The necessity of the fixed plate can never be abandoned, only disrupted by practical moves like reordering pages or colouring works differently; or by theoretical moves which require us as readers to engage the poetry in a dialogue which immediately removes the text from the fixed page into the fluid realm of interpretive possibility. In later chapters I advance the hypothesis that Blake's marginalia, his annotations to other writers' work, form and inform the deep tension between fixity and fluidity I have developed as part of some of Blake's other work. My study of the marginalia considers issues of centres and peripheries, authority and the page, and reading and writing. What does it mean to change the finished page? What does the look of marginalia do? How are marginalia related to the composite-ness of Blake's art, to his anti Newtonian project? And what issues do they force in terms of our academic use of

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    94 Blake, the role of quotation and authority in academic productions, and the assumptions which authorize one voice on the finished page? Notes 1. Despite invoking authors like Frye and Damon as negative examples in this case, I am willing to entertain that without such seminal work, Blake studies might not be as central in the academy as it is today. Frye later writes of Blake's prophecies, ''They may need interpretation, but not deciphering: there can be no 'key' and no open-sesame formula and no patented system of translation'' (7). 2. Ault relates the story of having to confor1n to editorial policy in writing this article. Where he had wanted to print ''LONDON'' in all capitals to retain Blake's rendering of it (and thus to highlight potential connections between the look of the word LONDON and London's ''charter' d streets''), he was forced to write, for example, ''(the all capitalized) 'Lon' and 'don''' (Ault 136). Such is the persistent reality of making books.

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    95 Figure 2-1 Blake's ''Tyger'' (Bindman 84; Copy W)

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    96 Figure 2-2 Innocence frontispiece (Bindman 44; Copy W)

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    97 Figure 2-3 Experience frontispiece (Bindman 70; Copy W)

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    98 Figure 2-4 Inno ce n ce title page (Bindman 45; Copy W )

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    99 Figure 2-5 the Eternals(?) in Urizen (plate 15 in Bindman, Copy D, 45)

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    100 ii( .. J'l :., ... Figure 2-6 Th e First B oo k o f Uri z en ( title page, Copy D Bindrnan 203 )

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    CHAPTER3 CRIDCAL USES OF BLAKE'S MARGINALIA ... it is quite safe to use these quotations here. Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry (15) William Blake is unrestrained on this point: 'The Foundation of Empire,' he says in his annotations to Reynold's Discourses, 'is An and Science. Remove them or Degrade them and the Empire is No More. Empire follows An and not vice versa as Englishmen suppose Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (12) Introduction Up to this point, I have tried to lay some contextual grounds in which I want to consider Blake's marginalia. Often without much coaxing, difficult issues of textuality, meaning and authority emerged and shook the very ''ground'' upon which the scholarship I was, and am, trying to practice stands. Issues of quotation (and thus authority) and intention become, at times, paralysing; consider the problem of quotation in the case of a canonical work like The Book of Uri z en, in which attempts to extract parts for quotation (and then to assign a speaker: be it Blake, Urizen, or narrator) are always confounded by the embeddedness of parts within other parts, the iterative (re)constitution of those parts as the reader engages them, and what often emerges as the incommensurability of parts taken to for1n a whole. However, it is these very issues that Blake's so-called canonical works tend to force, however impassable they sometimes seem, that I would like to consider in this and later chapters in ter1ns specifically of his marginalia. Chapter 3 101

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    102 attends to issues surrounding the usage of Blake's marginalia in certain instances of Blake scholarship, while Chapters 4 and 5 explore the primary sources themselves: the actual books Blake owned and annotated, which I have been able to consult in various rare book collections There will be times in fact a majority of them, when I will be less interested by what Blake writes in the margins than by the fact that he writes there at all, and what implications such writing has in ter1ns of textuality, contextuality, authority and meaning It is this attention to the materiality of the marginalia which I hope sets my work apart from most other Blake scholarship that deals with the marginalia. Ultimately, to (re)mark the finished page unsettles a certain kind of reading strategy which looks ''through ' language to meaning The Santa Cruz Blake Study Group's transparency metaphor is again useful ( 'What Type of Blake?''). To mark the finished page-to smudge the window to meaning with a nose-print maybe-is to remind that language is not a transparent, and certainly not an inactive medium through which the reader can pass to some transcendent and controlling meaning which operates above/beyond a human rhetorical position, though which is implicitly controlled (and guaranteed) by the author as in the Newtonian text But even Newton sat somewhere, holding a pen, touching paper, laying out hi s system of the world, believing in certain things, not believing in other things, finally constituted by a certain social and political time and space. As Stuart Peterfreund reminds us, any ''critical argument [in literature or science] speaks to the issues raised by another argument ... the critical argument in question proceeds from a rhetorical position no less well defined and interested than that of the argument it seeks to overturn '' (20 ).

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    103 Specifically, in regards to the ''General Scholium'' to Newton's Pri,icipia, Peterfreund points us to ''its refusal to acknowledge its status as argument-with the corollary refusal to acknowledge that what is being said, or argued for, must be reflexive to the interested position of the person mounting the discussion'' (20). What more devastating to ''absolute'' language, i.e. that which pretends to transcend its own interested position, its own materiality, than the introduction of new marks onto the page? To read the marginalia for content alone, as many scholars currently are doing, is to reassert the transparency of language on the printed page; certainly to argue that marginalia are just parochial, idiosyncratic notes-to-self, and that they get in the way is to reify the original finished page as the cleansed window through which we gain access to meaning. In this and subsequent chapters, I challenge some of the fundamental concepts of Blake criticism by showing how Blake's marginalia are a crucial dimension of his anti Newtonian project. I also explore how the marginalia work in ways that are similar to-yet extend-Blake's composite art. The marginalia disrupt the fixity of the printed page by introducing disorder as fluidity: energy set against the single perspective (what Blake called ''Single vision'') and the suppression of individuality Blake saw at work in the Newtonian system. The act of creating marginalia represents the material marking of multiple, often self-interfering perspectives onto what seems, in certain instances, as the otherwise uni vocal page. As illustration and text work to decentre one another in Blake's composite art, so do his marginalia work to decentre the text of another author. Issues fundamental to Blake scholarship, including those of textuality, contextuality, authority and meaning are forced very much to the fore ground in my study of the marginalia.

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    104 Traditional Blake scholarship has tended to extract quotation from the marginalia just as it would from any other of Blake's works. As above, for example, Frye asserts the safety of quoting marginal material, and Said confidently quotes Blake's annotations to another's work without considering that Blake himself warns, in one of his first notes in Reynolds' Discourses, that ''the Reader must expect to Read in all my Remarks on these Books Nothing but Indignation and Resentment." What Blake writes in the margins might be what he actually believes, what he actually believes as a result of reading Reynolds, or a knee-jerk response to whatever Reynolds says. Said asserts that Blake ''is unrestrained'' on the matter of Empire and art; however, by Blake's own admission, the context of what he writes is highly restrictive (and the space of the margin itself is materially restrictive), if we believe that what he offers will always be, regardless of other factors, indignation and resentment. Frye's reassurance that quotation is ''safe' stands, ironically enough, as perhaps the best warning that it is n ot. Why Marginalia? I have chosen to study Blake's marginalia partly because they receive relatively little critical attention. McGann goes so far as to assert that Blake's marginalia, unlike the intellectual prose of Coleridge or Shelley, ''[do] not command our interest or study'' (Towards a Literature of Knowledge 16). (Curiously, McGann quotes liberally from Blake's marginalia, though he does so from Erdman's 1982 Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake.) As I explore below, when the marginalia do receive critical attention, I think it is often somewhat myopic, tending to ignore issues of textuality which are so crucial in favour of content. I have tried to indicate the effects that editorial decision

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    105 making-or the anthological imperative-have on how we come to a text, in order to throw into greater relief the degree to which certain approaches to Blake's marginalia depend on typeset editions (themselves systems) to present arguments for systematicity in Blake. Further, it is in the marginalia that we have an example of Blake trying to enter into dialogue in a medium which so thoroughly prohibits dialogue. Thus we can see how Blake reacts to the book (or page) as it often functions for a figure like Urizen, for example, who is not interested in any perspective but his own (in many cases he actively tries to suppress multiplicity) and therefore prescribes perspective for everyone else in his books of eternal metal. By extension, I see the act of creating marginalia, of marking and remarking, as deeply embedded in the larger anti-Newtonian poetics at work throughout Blake's art. (I address this specifically in Chapter 4 in terms of intersections between Blake's annotations to Reynolds, and The Four Zoas, for example.) In this sense, the marginalia are hardly marginal at all; on the contrary, they constitute an important example-one of many-of the anti-system aspect in Blake's work. This does not, however, suggest to me that they are necessarily ''safe'' to quote, as though they can reveal ''Blake'' more immediately than his other work. Paul Valery, writing about the marginalia of Edgar Allan Poe, asserts that ''marginal notes represent part of the notations of pure thought'' (177; Volume VIII). I want to avoid privileging marginalia in this sense, as some form of writing closer to ''thought'' or ''truth'' or ''purity'' than any other. Hopefully my discussions in Chapters 1 and 2 regarding the problems of thoughtpure and complete-being able to precede writing (and thus of language being a mere conduit, not a creator, of meaning) disabuse

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    106 the notion that Blake's marginalia represent the expression, in most ratified form, of his ''true thoughts." On the contrary, it is the marginalia's deep sensitivity to context, perhaps even their assertion of contexts as inescapable (for there can be no absolute space of language or argument), that leads me to assert their centrality. It also leads to fundamental problems of scholarship. The more one tries to mount a systematic argument, the more one is likely to find that significant details do not fit the paradigm, must be ignored or deemed ''unintentional," and begin to pile up in quantities approaching the pile of details which do fit the paradigm. Donald Ault asserts that his Narrative Unbound is meant to be ''fundamentally incommensurable'' with ''the existing body of Blake scholarship'' in that it develops a process of interpretation ''that requires constant retroactive reconstitution of 'facts' or reader 'events''' (xi). Such an interpretive strategy implicitly asserts (the very Blakean) critique against systems which cannot allow themselves to reconsider individual contexts, ''facts'' or ''events." Crucial then, for the current project, is to warn that I am not mounting an analysis of Blake's ''philosophy'' or his ''theory'' by reading the marginalia. My work is to be incommensurable with that kind of approach, for it looks rather at individual moments throughout the marginalia less to deter1nine what Blake thinks and more to consider how he treats the page as a site where authority, Newtonian narrative and traditional reading strategies might be disrupted. Marginalia in Blake Scholarship As I had noted above, the marginalia are often treated just as any other published document Blake produced. That is, quotations are taken from the marginalia, just as they

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    107 might be taken from, say, Jerusaleni (though quotations from both sources are often treated with equally little sensitivity for context) In a recent article, '''To Defend the Bible in This Year 1798 Would Cost a Man His Life'," Morton D. Paley explicates Blake's marginalia to Watson's An Apology for the Bible without any theorizing as to what the act of annotation might mean, especially within the context of the importance Blake places on books and writing throughout his other work. The attention that Paley does pay to form versus content here is not connected to any other parts of Blake's artistic work. For example, Paley writes, ''Blake carefully links his marginal note to three words of text''; Paley extends his argument to suggest Blake's ''position'' on religion and antinomianism in 1798, based on what Blake has written in the margins (sidenote 3, 36). Paley never considers Blake's ''linking'' as important in anything but the non-graphic, non-textual, sense. In Paley's analysis, the materiality of the page has indeed disappeared, in that he attaches no importance to the act of marking. As I argue in Chapters 4 and 5, to group words (or printed lines) in ways other than those seemingly authorized by the formal arrangement of the original text is in many ways to disrupt, at a very basic level, the way in which texts try to control themselves, by limiting certain kinds of interpretive options, or at least by making some options less available than others. For Blake to group lines with a marginal bracket, and then to annotate those lines, reveals a text in new ways, thus revealing the degree to which the creation of meaning is deeply tied to textuality (for example, how ideas are arranged in, and also by, paragraphs). The literal linking, the line which Blake draws on the page, stands, in Paley's argument, only for the intellectual link Blake is making between his commentary and

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    108 Watson's work, but, in Paley's argument, it has no force in and of itself as a textual mark, even though it is one that disrupts the original' s very form. Again, I think, the questions that arise are important. What does it mean for Blake to impose his own mark onto the supposedly finished page of another author? What issues of authority and textuality does this force? How does this kind of marking intersect with other instances of marking in Blake's other work? (There is no shortage of examples of this last.) Similar to Paley, Donald John, in 'Blake and Forgiveness," pays little or no attention to the materiality of Blake's annotations, favouring rather an imagined philosophic theory, a systematic whole, to which Blake's marginal comments give us access. Indeed, John arrives at a summary of Blake's ''complex of ideas'' regarding God and forgiveness based on Blake's annotations to Lavater's Aphorisms on Man (74). For his text, John uses Erdman's 1982 Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. As I addressed in Chapter 2, the problems of a non-facsimile version in this case are many and immediate (Paley consulted the original for his work). It is no wonder John is able to ignore issues of textuality: Erdman' s typeset edition cannot possibly reproduce the kinds of materiality we are forced to confront in the originals. As a result, John's argument is purely content-driven; it traces the themes of ' the coupling of forgiveness with disclosure'' and ''the shaping influence of one's perspectives towards God'' as those themes are ''reveal[ed]'' in Blake's annotations to Lavater and ''reinforced and refined'' in his early reading of Swedenborg (74; 75). Again, it is not so much the argument itself I want to challenge; as John's develops it, with attention to a number of Blake's marginal notes, it is hard to disagree that Blake was influenced by his reading. Methodologically

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    109 though, ignoring the original, textual nature of those notations makes it much easier to see a consistent ''theory'' being expressed by Blake (John explores, for example, '' Blake s doctrine of God '' ( 77)). If one has recourse to a typeset edition there s no need to consider, for example, the placement of notes on the page their size in relation to each other ( or to the original), whether they are in pencil or ink, what their condition on the page is; or finally, mo s t problematic for an argument like John's in which Blake is supposed to be expressing ideas ''which pertneated his work to the very end' (74), whether marginal notations are even legible or not It seems misleading to argue for a ' complex of idea s'' that recurs throughout Blake's work, when, in some cases, Blake's ''ideas'' in the marginalia are expressed by underlining or bracketing certain pas s ages in the original; in Swedenborg's Divine Lov e and Divine Wisdom, for example, Blake draws brackets to group 7 line s in section 404 (on page 411), and 5 lines on page 421 In addition, he underlines porti o ns within these newly created groupings and he provides a 'Note this'' (on page 411) and a 'Mark this'' (on page 421). Is underlining another's work a form of expressing one's own ideas? Does the material Blake chooses to mark become part of his complex of ideas? And how do we treat words that are bracketed and underlined versus those just bracketed or those just annotated, or indeed those portions of the work Blake did not annotate at all and thus may or may not have read? Especially since John is arguing for the influence of Blake s reading of Swedenborg on his reading of Lavater, it seems fairly crucial to consider how Blake s marking of the text might infortn the degree to which we can assert a possible hierarchy of influence Did those passages that Blake underlined and bracketed

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    110 and annotated influence him more than portions of the text he did not touch, or may not have read at all? I'm not suggesting we need an answer to these questions, since I do not think a definitive one is available (or even desirable); however, my point is to raise the issue of textuality an article like John's misses, and how again the regularizing effect of an edition like Erdman's makes certain kinds of patterns emerge less problematically than they might otherwise, while forcing other problems to submerge entirely. In terms of John's essay, I do not deny the possibility that Blake was influenced by his reading, or that in his annotating we can see the same kinds of thematic ideas emerging as those which appear elsewhere in his work ; certainly I advance the latter argument myself to some degree. But I do want to reassert some of the problems with ''reading'' marginalia just as though the typeset edition reprinted all that was truly important to consider. The regularized version of Blake's annotations makes ''co mplexes of ideas'' or Blake's ''doctrine[s]'' (as John's writes) seem more coherent and continuous than they actually are, since all statements appear equalized on the page. In fact, throughout these chapters, I have been working through the problems involved with asserting anything so systematic and reliable as a ''complex'' or ''doctrine'' whose completeness transcends the otherwise fragmentary nature of the details which are asserted to make it up. One particularly frustrating irony is that Erdman' s Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake in fact do es attempt to convey the busyness of Blake 's annotating by indicating, not just what he has written in the margins and blank spaces, but also what he has underlined or bracketed However, even this laudable effort does damage to the

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    111 materiality of graphic marks. For sections 336 and 404 in Swedenborg's Divine Love and Divine Wisdom Erdman must write: ''[Marked by a large cross in the right margin]'' (referring to section 336), and '' [Bracketed as well as underlined]'' (referring to section 404). The brackets I quote are Erdman's (607). The danger here is to make the implicit assumption that the graphic mark which is in the shape of a large cross is equivalent to the written phrase ''a large cross," and thus to assume that the written description gives transparent access to what is being described or that the annotation and the de sc ription of the annotation have the same material force upon the reader. (To assume that is, that to write that Blake bracketed certain lines has the same effect as actually having to read the drawn bracket and the lines it contains.) Hopefully part of what I have shown in Chapters 1 and 2 is that such easy movement is not possible, and that the textual immediacy lost as texts are stabilized and regularized following editorial (most often economic) principles is an important constituent of meaning One particularly grim example of the effects of the editorial-as-economic principle can be seen in the 1876 edition of Works by William Blake. The copy I consulted is in the British Library; the work was ''Reproduced in facsimile from the original editions." ''One Hundred Copies [were] printed for Private Circulation'' (no page numbers). The collection, with pages printed in either green or brown monotone includes Th e Songs of Innocence and Th e Songs of Experience, The Book ofThel, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, An,zerica Europe, The First Book of Urizen, and The Song of Los. Since the reproductions are done in monotone, the quality i s exceptionally poor. Figure 3-1 shows the title page to The First Book of Urizen as it is printed in Works by William Blake.

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    112 Most startling is that the figure does not even seem to have any arms, let alone might his hands be writing on what we can tell from other copies are tablets (also indiscernible in this copy) at his sides. In Chapter 2 I explored the crucial importance that writing played in this book about books. But in the interest of cheap reproduction, this monotone ''facsimile'' does great disservice to the original Also lost in the 1876 version are the marks that cover the book upon which the figure's right foot rests. Further examples of how book production in this case cheap book production, determines what is made available to readers include the title page to Visions of the Daughters of Albion (Figure 3-2). In the 1876 Works of William Blake version, there are no figures visible in the monotone block to the lower right of the title; however, in most copies of the original, figures which appear to be drooped over emerge from the streaks of water colour. The hinted emergence of these figures is important in that Oothoon assumes a similar hunched-over pose in the ''frontispiece'' (the ''frontispiece'' occurs at the end of the book in Copy A), although her arms do not hang down; they are bound behind her and locked up with Bromion' s. Erdman notes that the other emergent figure on the title page ''is a variant of Theotor1non in Plates i and 4" (Illuminated Blake 126). In Copy O of Visions of th e Daught e r of Albion Blake has achieved a striking level of control over his colouring and printing processes. He's used gold to highlight his designs and ink to delineate features more so than is evident in earlier printings. The detail evident in Oothoon 's face in the ''frontispiece'' varies greatly between copies O and A for example In O her eyes are clearly open, though in all other copies they appear closed. Blake's ability to control how each of the editions he produced looked is striking; the

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    113 1876 Works of William Blake shows the results when artistic production is governed by economic concerns. It is of course too much to say that Blake foresaw specific kinds of reproductive printing technology; but consider even that modem photocopying degrades his work dramatically. It is clear that Blake wanted to control the production of his work in order that he could manage those details so often lost in any kind of cost-saving, ''mass'' production format. We can return to the marginalia by noting how Blake's marginalia participate to some degree in the dependence on materiality shared by much of his other work, and which has suffered so drastically in the face of editions which must (or which choose to) submit to economic constraints. That a volume of Blake's marginalia which provides photographic facsimiles still, as of 2001, does not exist, stands as testament not only to the ''marginal'' position the marginalia continue to occupy in Blake scholarship, but also to the related sense that the returns, both scholarly and economic, from such a volume would not make it worthwhile. Synecdochic Structure in Blake's Marginalia: The W(H)ole of Blake The critical approach to Blake's marginalia that my own approach opposes, and the one which does them the greatest disservice, is evident clearly in Thomas McFarland's ''Synecdochic Structure in Blake's Marginalia." As the title suggests, the author sets out to uncover in (or perhaps recover from) Blake's annotations the ''whole of Blake'' (79). But this whole of Blake is a hole of Blake: an empty space first created by the assumption that there is a Blake to be found but that escapes us because he has been otherwise to-date too fragmentary, too amorphous, too dilute, too piece-meal, too contradictory. Into this hole of Blake are fitted details gathered through a systematizing

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    114 reading strategy which discovers, not surprisingly, what it had initially posited to exist: a whole Blake Absence makes the project possible, since contradictions and details that do not fit can be ignored; but the systematic abhors a vacuum, so the hole must become a whole, for without completeness there could be no unifying, explanatory argument. I take McFarland's article as typical of a certain mode of scholarship, even of reading in general. Deeply ''Newtonian," in the sense I have explored in Chapters 1 and 2, I would argue that it looks to create order by arranging details into categories bound by strict relationships one to the other. Posited to form a whole, details are collected and finessed until they fit together. And the space of the analysis is absolute; parts remain discrete, though their relation to the larger whole is stable, unchanging in the face of any contextual change. It would be impossible to imagine a re-constitutable reader or textual event in this case. Contrary to this mode of reading and managing detail, I submit Molly Anne Rothenberg's Rethinking Blak e 's Textuality as an example of a different kind of scholarship entirely; (others scholars in this group include Paul Mann, Donald Ault, Nelson Hilton, Thomas Vogler and V. A. de Luca). Rothenberg asserts that ''one of the principles guiding my work ... is that Blake's corpus ought not to be regarded as a unity, as a product of a single intentional activity, nor ought it to be read as furnishing philosophical propositions'' (2). Among the many compelling arguments in her book, Rothenberg asserts the displacement that Blake's art forces of the ''absolute position of the subject as it was conceived in traditional Enlightenment terms'' (2).

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    115 McFarland, however, asserts that in the fourteen books Blake annotated in his lifetime ''the whole intellectual ethos of Blake stands revealed, if not in comprehensive detail then by implication'' (76). This is an explicit expression of the assumption implicit in David John's essay (discussed above) that '' complexes of ideas '' can exist, and that everything either fits the complex directly or is close enough so we can pretend that it does. Subscribing to Valery' s notion of the marginal note as pure thought, McFarland writes that ''the marginal notations . reveal Blake's intellectual essence with peculiar directness'' (7677). Quoting Edgar Allan Poe, McFarland writes that ''in marginalia an author speaks 'freshly-boldly-originally''' (77). Working from Erdman's edition of Blake (the 1982 edition, not the 1988 edition), McFarland of course cannot know that in Reynolds Discourses for example, Blake made marginal notes in pencil and later traced some over with ink (an issue I take up in detail in Chapter 4). How ''fresh'' is a traced over marginal note? How ''bold'' is it to leave some untraced? And it is hard to know what McFarland might mean by ''original." Was Blake writing things he had not thought of before? Things no one else had thought of before? Or just things he had not written down before? In any case, even McFarland admits that ''marginalia ... invade their host text'' and ''the marginal notation forces open the text'' (78). This much is certainly true and because marginal notes participate so deeply in their ''host'' it would be hard to claim them as original. They are inescapably derivative. As I had quoted above from Blake's notations to Reynolds : the reader is to expect nothing but indignation and resentment, as though Blake admits up front that if Reynolds says black, he [Blake] will say white if

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    116 Reynolds says left, Blake says right. (Actually, this promise of indignation and resentment is itself not always fulfilled.) If nothing else, it becomes clear that we cannot count on marginal notations to reveal a philosophical construct ( or even supply a ''philosophical proposition," as Rothenberg suggests) which transcends on the one hand the immediacy of reacting to another's text and on the other the process of revision that Blake seems to have put some (but not all, perhaps) of his notations through. In Chapter 4 I address the way in which Blake's annotations, to Swedenborg 's Divine Providence for example reveal that he must have read the volume throughout before annotating For example, In his note to #185, Blake directs attention to #69, but also to ''329 at the End,"''& 277," ''& 203." In #69 he directs attention ahead to #185. It is thus impossible that Blake simply annotated as he read, since he is able to call attention to numbers later than the one he's annotating To assert that any notation is fresh, bold, or original (or that all marginal notes are created equal) is highly suspect, when it is clear that Blake must have returned to certain passages (or reread entire volumes), not necessarily making marginal comments upon first reading. Indeed, to cross reference, as Blake has done for numbers 69 and 185 in Divine Provide,ice, suggests a good deal of thoughtful rereading. Thus his reactions might not have been as ''bold'' or ''fresh'' or immediate as some scholars seem to think. To return to the issue of originality in reference to Reynolds' Discours es though, despite Blake 's promises to do so, he does not always seem to express indignation or resentment. On page 279, for example, Blake has written in the right margin: '' These are Excellent Remarks on Proportional Colour." Curiously, this is one of the notes Blake has

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    117 done in pen. The note on 266, however, ''Well Said," is in pencil, though still seems to lack the indignation and resentment Blake warned of. I point to problems surrounding assertions of boldness, freshness or originaljty more to destabilize any possible universal claims as to the nature of marginal notations than to refute the claim that Blake is ''bold'' on any given occasion. McFarland remains confident, however, that ''Blake's marginalia throughout are united by the common feature of synecdoche for hls entire position'' (86) and that ''Blake's marginalia present again and again, a synopsis of hls entire meaning'' (87). Such statements are circular. For what is hls entire position if not the whole read into the hole. That is, the ''entire position'' is developed by a particular kind of reading of individual details, which are themselves read in light of the entire position, itself at some point divorced from the details which constitute it and henceforth imagined to transcend those details. Details go to make the whole, whlch is then used to organize the details Fitting the Whole of Blake In Above I explored how Blake's annotations are often read with the view toward developing a synecdochic system, one which explains how the parts fit, or indeed reveal, the whole (Blake's ''entire position'' or ''entire meaning," as McFarland calls it). I would now like to briefly consider how criticism can fit Blake himself into even larger literary, periodised structures. This does not bear directly on the marginalia, but I want to suggest how certain reading practices persist on many structural levels: from the reading of individual works, to groups of works (Blake 's marginalia, for example), to his entire ouevre, to broad-reaching literary eras I use McGann' s Romaritic Ideology partly because it is a work in which synthesizing manoeuvres would seem most unlikel y, given

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    118 the general argument against the ''tendency to ignore or to gerrymander the phenomena to be studied'' (24 ). Writing on William Blake, McGann says that ''Blake's critical devices are not innocent of ideology." McGann writes, ''When his [Blake's] poems put traditional ideas to critical tests of various sorts, they do so in the conviction that the poetic vision reveals fundamental truth in a way which sets the poet apart from other men. The Romantic attitude ascribes to poetry a special insight and power over truth'' (70). The logic goes that Blake is ''a Romantic'' since Romantics privilege poetic insight and believe in poetic vision as the path to truth; Blake, argues McGann believes in poetic vision this way Curiously McGann often slips into the practice he likes the least: ''Literary criticism presents its results in finished and comprehensive for1ns'' (28). If McGann cites authors like Harold Bloom and M H. Abrams for their unfortunate (says McGann) tendency to arrive at comprehensive statements while often ignoring elements of their subject of study which do not conf or1n to those statements, it is surprising to see Mc Gann himself move from a statement on Blake which makes no direct reference to Blake 's work, to a statement on ''The Romantic attitude '' 1 Again, the logic seems to run thus: Blake is a Romantic, therefore he exhibits the Romantic attitude; but the Romantic attitude is defined by looking at poets like William Blake. (Note the similarity between this logic of organization and that of McFarland, who is working on the level of Blake's oeuvre: just as Blake, taken as a kind of specific ''detail," is supposed to reveal the whole of which he is assumed to be part, so too, in McFarland's argument, are individual statements assumed to reveal the whole of which they are both part, yet which they

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    119 simultaneously define.) The wheels within wheels here amount to saying that Blake's attitude is Blake's attitude, or that the Romantic attitude is the Romantic attitude. At the crux of this particular circularity is the notion that Blake held unconditional belief in access, through poetic vision, to some fundamental truth; and that from this belief, we can easily slide Blake alongside others of the ''Romantic era." If there is in Blake's work some privileging of poetic vision in terms of what McGann calls power and insight over truth, it seems continually to assert that there is no fundamental. What Blake's ''poetic insight'' tends to reveal (or at least what his work reveals, intentionally or otherwise) is not transcendent truth, but that the category of truth is relative and rhetorical, for1r1ulated in relation to multiple kinds of contexts, and deeply involved in and constituted by the materiality of its expression. My various arguments to this point have tended to a greater or lesser degree to suggest that Blake's deep concerns for textuality make statements (especially written ones) of truth impossible. To return to a quotation I had used in my preface: ''all telling modifies what is being said'' (Richard Howard, introducing S/Z xi); in another context, Barthes, writing on science, asserts that ''For science, language is merely an instrument, which it chooses to make as transparent, as neutral as possible'' (Tlze Rustle of Language 4). Blake seemed to realize the pervasiveness of this view of language and worked towards an art which would confound any reading strategy that sought stable, transcendent truth or perspective. Consider that even Blake's visions of the apocalypse make no pretension toward arriving at fundamental, if by that we also assume ''universal," truths. Instead, the revelatory moment in Jerusalem, for example, is one in which individuality, not universality, is

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    120 asserted. ' In forgivenes s of s in s which is Self Annihilation Bacon and Newton and Locke and Milton and Shakespeare and Chau c er stand fourfold and converse in what Blake calls '' visionary for1ns dramatic'' (98) They create space and time ' according to the wonders Divine of Human Imagination' which gives primacy to individual perspective and creativity (98 : 32) Space and time do not subsume the individual in a predictive and prescriptive system. In the Four Zoas, at humanity's point of destruction and redemption Urizen confronts the question he had up to that point, denied: '' I have Erred & my Error remains with me . Where shall we take our stand to view the infinite & unbounded/ Or where are human feet for Lo our eyes are in the heavens'' (Night IX, page 122) Even if the poet's vision can arrive at some fundamental in s ight, it will always come into conflict with the fixity of the material page and with having to communicate that vi s ion via material media. Even if the way I have formulated thi s particular argument for Blake's poetic in s ight seems to credit Blake with too much in the way of intentionality I might still argue that intentionally or otherwise, his work create s conditions of reading in which even the most ardent reader's effort s to '' learn truth ," or to gain access to some privileged visionary transcendence, are continually confounded by persistent material instabilities. Thus what ultimately seem s to confound projects of whatever scope, which try to pronounce a ''whole' of Blake or which try to fix him in place in some larger literary structure is the persi s tence of details which do not fit the system. It is in this sense that I think '' marking' 'as an activity which occurs in and to so much of Blake's work i s s o crucial. For it is in the detailed mark s made to pages, and the way in which the reader

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    121 must re-mark (that is, take note of, but also change, and be changed, by the very act of seeing) those details that Blake couches his most trenchant anti-system critique (or from which such a critique can be made to arise, to say it in a way that avoids asserting authorial intentionality) But as Blake himself has written, ''not a line is drawn without intention & that most discriminate & particular much less an insignificant Blur or Mark '' (''A Vision of the Last Judgement'' 560). The blur is significant, in this context I think, not because it ' stands for something," that is, acts a symbol in its own right, but for the very reason that it does not symbolize it cannot be absorbed into a larger iconic system For any system to function, certain blurs and marks (those which do not fit a pattern) will necessarily be ignored Thus the colour printing process that Blake invented (which I discussed in Chapter 2) took the forn1 that it did, likely because it created those chance, random blurs and marks whose ' insignificance '' (or more correctly their lack of signification) allowed them to operate outside a prescriptive system of meaning; yet at the same time colour printing allowed Blake the opportunity to articulate minute lines and figures (signifying marks) using ink for example at some point after laying on colours. Newton (see Chapter 2) is a fine example of the combination of articulated detail, in Newton's body for example and chance formations, in the coloured space around him. From the minute level of non-unifor,nity, Blake's anti-system poetics scales out to his most broad-reaching critique of commercial art and industrialization.

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    122 Marking As I had mentioned above, there is no shortage of marks and marking throughout Blake's work; it is u sef ul to consider just some of those instances. For example, when the Bard in Milton begins his song with ''Mark well my words!'' (96) what is he really saying? Is it a simple call to listen and wait, perhaps for a moral as medieval bards might have provided. Or is Blake's bard calling both his audience in Heaven, and us as readers, to listen to his words (to be marked ourselves by these words) and to contemplate why they moved Milton to descend from Heaven to seek his separated emanation, and how, if at all, they can be of our eternal salvation as well as Milton's (96). Is the bard telling us to mark words as readers physically marking a text? Does the invitation to mark imply that we are to bring somethi ng to the text by way of our own ''sty le ," our own touches. In ''London," Blake writes, ''[I] mark in every face I meet/ Marks of weakness. marks of woe." which reminds us that ,narks, for Blake, have a dual nature (Illuminated Blake 88). It is also possible that the ''mark in every face'' is actually a command, spoken by the narrator to the reader, telling us to look at what the narrator is looking at (as though we are there too, as he or s he points to faces in the London crowd). The narrator is implicated in London's crowd as participant, creating as he marks, just as Blake literally imposes himself on the copper plate. That the narrator marks faces suggests the way he creates them as observer; the invitation for the reader to ''mark," of course implicates us as well. In fact, Blake altered, ''see in every face I meet'' in his first notebook draft to the more resonant, ''mark in every face'' suggesting the extent to which Blake wanted to complicate the interconstitutive relationship at work between reader and narrator and

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    123 scene of woeful Londoners (796). But London seems already to have marked its inhabitants in such a way that Blake can read their faces as something more than personal reflection. The idea that the internal condition of a human figure, or an entire city for that matter, is readable by marks on the external surface, is perhaps not surprising from an artist who spent his life engraving on copper plates such that the physical marks on their surf aces would reveal an internal world of narrative, myth and vision. And that Blake would call attention to the dual nature of marking as a way of reading and writing is again played out in his marginalia in which Blake is marked (affected) as reader while marking (affecting) as writer. Conclusion Blake likely staked great importance on his own work 's ability to mark his readers, to fundamentally alter how they read and how they lived in the world; much of his art invites the possibility that reading itself can be a character in the narrative; (consider ''you risen," as I had suggested in Chapter 2). One cannot imagine, for example, Urizen offering his books of metal to a general readership for reaction and annotation. Urizen' s ''solid without fluctuation' is codified in his books of metal Marginalia is clearly a way for Blake to create a multiplicity of ideas from the '' One King one God, one Law'' of the un-annotated book (72). Hopefully the context I have introduced up to this point, of reading and writing as important symbolic acts in Blake's work, can help to make the marginalia a more central concern for Blake scholars since so much of what goes on in Blake's ''art'' is infonr1ed by his practice as an annotator (I argue that the marginalia are, in fact, part of Blake's art)

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    124 In one sense Blake moves from the order of the finished page to the disorder of the annotated page in his project of ' marking." Or to use different ter111s he move s f rom fixity to fluidity If nothing else Blake's marking of the page calls attention to the otherwise transparent nature of the fixity that the printed page suggests; (McGann calls this ''the kind of authority which the book form in itself lends to the words it contains '' (Towards a Lit e rature of Knowl e dg e 12).) That is, the ''finished'' page may appear finished and s table only until another perspective, voice or, literally, hand, enters into it. The sense of what annotation can really do to a page though is submerged in typeset edition s ; thus the need for an edition of the marginalia which supplie s both photographi c facsimiles and perhap s a type s et tran s cription (as i s the case in Erdman' s Th e N o t e b oo k of William Blake ). In this chapter I have tried to show how Blake scholarship has been affected by having recour s e only to Blake editions which do not provide photographic fac s imile s I argue that systematizing Blake proving a 'whole'' of Blake, becomes much easier when his work is typographically regularized. The great irony remains that Blake 's art it s elf seemed to make su c h per s istent efforts to defend against any sort of regularization and systematization However much the editorial imperative might present it as such, Blake s art is not ''safe,' to return to the quotation from Northrop Frye's F e arful Symmetry with which I began thi s chapter Blake s art is not safe in the sense that any one detail cannot be taken for granted to stand a s '' truthful that is to transcend it s own context and to operate equally in all situations (as though signs could operate in the textual equivalent of Newton's propo s ed absolute space a space in which the for1nulae he developed were

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    125 ''universally'' applicable). All blurs and marks have meaning in Blake inasmuch as they are part of a larger process working against uniforntity To remove marginalia from their context, to assert their safety, to derive from them a consistent and controlling philosophy or theory, is all to ignore their deeply material and textual nature In Chapters 1 and 2 I set up a number of problems surrounding Blake and textuality; in Chapter 3 I have suggested how such issues do not seem to have been considered in relation to the marginalia. In Chapters 4 and 5, I make this very consideration, exploring the degree to which the marginalia participate in the issues of materiality and textuality which persist in other of Blake's work. Note 1 Indeed one might argue that the Romantic attitude privileges poetry because the "Romantic" here has been defined by the work of a certain age of poets. If the subject of McGann's study had been Romantic carpenters, it would be safe to assume that cabinet making, not poetry, would be given a privileged position. McGann's statement becomes, in this s ense, circular Romantic poets privilege the insight of the poet= > people who privilege the insight of the poet often become poets themselves

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    J ( l l ., ~ l lf'. lS 00 ,.:. ,) tf ) .. 1 1 J Figure 3-1 The First Book of Urizen title page from the 1867 Works by William Blake 126

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    7/u !!J'~ se:d r,con. IA.a,,, fk H,ll1' kntJw5. Pn~lfrf,_!y l/{UJ 1 ~ 0 Ide : 1JY' Figure 3-2 Visions of the Daughters of Albion title page from the 1867 Works by William Blake 127

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    CHAPTER4 BLAKE'S MARGlNALIA I must not create a system, or be enslaved by another Introduction In 1947, a letter arrived to Mr Geoffrey Keynes from Josiah K. Lilly, Jr. It appears to be a re s ponse to an earlier request by Keynes to have the volume of Francis Bacon's Essays Moral, Economical, and Political (1798), with Blake 's annotations in some way reproduced so as to facilitate research and study. Lilly 's response is straightforward: ''i t is quite out of the question to do as you request' (Lilly). Lilly continues, ''there are something over a thousand entries in Blake's holograph throughout this book present on over a hundred pages, and it would be about as expensive to have these reproduced as the book is worth!'' The estimation of a thousand entries is off the mark. Even a generous count would suggest there are no more than two hundred entries by Blake-some a s short as '' A Lie! '' Lilly is correct, however, in asserting that ''the book is in very fragile condition." When I had a chance to study the book in February of 2001, it was on the verge of coming entirely apart due to the deterioration of the spine. Granted that fifty years separate my study from Lilly 's assertion, but I do not believe that the book could have been in good condition even in Lilly s time He is also right that ''the Blake entries are in pencil, s ome of which are very difficult to read except with a magnifying 128

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    129 glass." ''I am just sure," he writes, ''that several of the entries would thus not reproduce well at all'' (Lilly). Since in his final paragraph Lilly agrees to sell the volume to Keynes for ''$1,000 (U.S. dollars)," it is clear that Lilly had much to gain from asserting that the book was un copyable, for whatever reasons; however, the letter stands as testament to the very early efforts by Keynes to attend to Blake's marginalia, and the difficulties even then presented by the materiality of the situation. There really seemed no way around the necessity of having the actual book if one wanted to study the marginalia. The volume was sold for a thousand dollars in 1948, as recorded in a letter of 3 August, 1948 from a librarian at the Ya]e University School of Medicine to Lilly. A handwritten note at the bottom of the page from the librarian to Keynes promises that ''The library will dispatch the volume to you as soon as received'' (Yale correspondence) (The letter with the note to Keynes is a copy of the one actually sent to Lilly, which of course did not have the note.) The Bacon volume is now in the Keynes collection at University Library, Cambridge U.K. The letters are included in the book box which holds Bacon's Essays (Keynes U.4.20). The volume was dispatched to Keynes who did study it. By 1957, Keynes published The Complete Writings of William Blake with Nonesuch Press; the volume included the annotations to Bacon (along with other of Blake 's annotations), but the annotations were typeset, laid out very much as they would later be in Erdman' s 1982 (and 1988) Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, with Blake's annotations accompanied by a piece of the original text to indicate their ''position'' on the page, that is

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    130 to say, their relation, so-called, to the original text. (In fact, I want to challenge the very basic assumption that printing Blake's annotation below the block of text it is thought to annotate really does reveal its relation to the text. Such a layout reveals one possible relation.) As Keynes explains, ''Words underlined by Blake are printed in italic. Passages from Bacon are in smaller type'' (397). There is, of course, no sense to be had of the layout and look of individual pages, the size or style of the annotations, or even their legibility. There are points, for example, where the typeset format can be quite misleading, since annotations can be placed with portions of text to which they may not directly refer. Or, as is often the case, one annotation may make a more general comment than is suggested when the annotation is paired with a short block of the original text. For example, Erdman prints the following (the square brackets are his): [BISHOP WATSON'S PREFACE] PAGE [iii] ... the deistical writings of Mr. Paine are circulated . amongst the unlearned part of the c ommunity e s pecially in large manufacturing town s; .. this Defence of the Revealed Reli gi on might .. be efficaciou s in s topping that torrent of infidelity which endangers alike the future happiness of individuals and the present safety of all c lzristian states . Paine has not Attacked christianity. Watson has defended Antichrist (Erdman 612) On the actual page, however, the annotation appears at the top of the page, not below Watson's passage; a double line (which was part of the page layout, not added by Blake) separates Blake's note from the text. Blake has underlined ''christian states'' but there is no textual mark that links the phrase with the annotation (elsewhere in the marginalia, Blake will use lines or brackets to indicate passages he's annotating). Since it

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    131 appears at the top of the page (the first page, no less), it would seem even more likely to be a general statement, not one necessarily tied only to a particular passage from Watson, as Erdman' s layout indicates. Additionally, legibility, which Lilly alluded to as early as 1947, presented great difficulty for me in studying the original, and forced the issue of who, if anybody, Blake imagined would (or could) read his annotations. The annotation on page 1 in Bacon, for example, which surrounds the upper right comer of text, is written in pencil that is on the one hand very thick (unsharpened) but on the other very light (perhaps from having faded over time, though not all Blake's pencil annotations are so light). Erdman transcribes the passage, ''But more Nerve if by Ancients he means Heathen Authors'' (621). (Keynes offers the same, but adds a period at the end of the statement, although none seems to appear in the original (Keynes 397).) I will grant that at the time of my own reading, my familiarity with Blake's handwriting was limited to the scripts he used in the illuminated works-what Erdman calls the ''copperplate script'' (816)-and that there is some degree of having to ''get used to'' his handwriting, but in this case, a word like ''Ancients'' (and even ''Heathen'' to some extent) is not, I would argue, decipherable in and of itself. The pencil strokes are simply too close together, and the pencil too dull, to be able to make out letters. Under magnification the pencil marks blur together even more than with the naked eye, making the words less, not more, readable. I would argue that it is only by context that one could guess at the correct word; that is, the text being annotated provides clues as to the meaning of otherwise illegible words which appear in the margin. This annotation (''But more Nerve if by Ancients he means Heathen Authors''), for example,

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    132 appears next to part of Bacon's text: ''there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients'' (621) This begs the rather intriguing question of just what such an annotation meant to Blake, given that he left it nearly, if not completely illegible; possibly, it was much more legible when he first wrote it. And certainly the argument could be made that Blake could ''read his own handwriting' even if others could not (although I have written notes to myself that days later I could not decipher). But then who was he writing for, if he was writing for any one person or audience or imagined community all the time? And what issues do we face when dealing with the materiality and textuality of an unreadable annotation? The idea like those proposed in some of the critical literature I covered in Chapter 3, that Blake was expressing ''his philosophy'' consistently in the annotations suffers a serious setback if we consider the material unreadability of some the note s themselves. Hazard Adams, in his Critical Theory Since Plato, develops ''Blake s Theory of Art'' in large part by quoting from the marginalia; but some of the marginalia are unreadable. Further, the fact that deciphering the annotations sometimes depend s on clues given by the original text reminds that the annotations do not function simply to express a larger philosophy which exists outside the moment of Blake himself reading and reacting to the text; at least the annotations are not as detached from their context as some scholarship would suggest Crucially, arguments that Blake s annotations represent fragments of a larger whole will often depend (as is the case in Donald John's ''Blake and Forgiveness ' and Thomas McFarland's ''Synecdochic Structure in Blake's Marginalia'') on an edition of

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    133 Blake which typesets the marginalia, making it much easier to read one annotation as ''synecdochic'' (to use Thomas McFarland's tern1) of a larger body of thought; McFarland writes, ''we sometimes glimpse the part that represents the whole of Blake ' (79). As I had discussed in Chapter 2, the editorial hand can brush away issues of materiality such as, in this case, illegibility. But nowhere in the Blake literature has this been pursued in relation to the marginalia specifically. What the Santa Cruz Blake Study group called the ''editorial line of interpretation," in addition to ' the exigencies of typographic economics," have deep effects on the academic production surrounding all of Blake s work, including, as I want to show here, his marginalia (''What Type of Blake? ' 305). But my argument is not to suggest that there is a system at work throughout Blake's marginalia to be arrived at only by close study of the original documents: for example that he writes in a certain style to mean one thing and in another style to mean another thing. Or that when he is angry he writes larger, or less neatly, than when he is in agreement. Although each of these assertions might be true on occasion it is not my purpose to assert a set of rules for how the marginalia operate, for I do not believe such rules to operate consistently Rather it is the questions surrounding how annotations exist on the page that matter for the present study, and what implications these have for our reading of the annotations and for our reading of other moments in Blake's work with which the marginalia intersect (which might, in fact be all of them).

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    134 ''The Imagination which Liveth Forever'' Certain! y the matter of materiality is pressing if for no other reason than that some of the marginal notes Blake made, especially those in pencil, are literally disappearing from the paper on which they were first written. Of particular concern is the volume of Swedenborg's Wisdom of Angels concerning Divine Love and Divine Wisdom in the British Library (shelf mark c45el). In this volume, as in most others, Blake filled blank pages with his own writing (an issue of spatiality I explore below); however, the blank flyleaf upon which Blake wrote is almost entirely faded and is now completely unreadable, even under 7x magnification. Infrared or X-ray photography, techniques which have been used on The Four Zoas manuscript, for example, may be able to recover some of what has been lost. Erdman transcribes marginalia text that is now no longer visible; I assume he was studying the annotated volumes at some time at least prior to 1965 when the Poetry and Prose of William Blake was first issued Erdman notes that ''the pencilled paragraphs on the flyleaf have been badly rubbed or erased, possibly not intentionally; the words supplied within brackets [in the transcription] are conjectural'' (884). Erdman offers two full paragraphs; only a few words appear as conjectural. To my eye, however, as of February 2001 those paragraphs have all but disappeared, save for at the very edges of the page where only portions of words are visible It seems unlikely that the words were or have been erased intentionally, but rather that the pencil marks have just faded away. Whether or not the imagination lives forever is debatable, but clearly pencil marks do not. Below I discuss whether Blake could have known that his pencil markings would fade at some point. (In which case one could argue that

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    135 although the words have not likely been erased intentionally, their disappearance was, in some ways, intended. This example of Blake's potential awareness of the media in which he worked-that is, his awareness of the likelihood that pencil would eventually fade from a printed book's margins, for example-is striking in relation to his awareness of the characteristics of the other media in which he worked. Take, for example, the ''intentional'' use of the chance designs created during his colour printing process. It is certainly possible that Blake's artistic sensibility-his awareness of the limitations of the materials in which he worked-conditioned the way he came to books he wanted to annotate.) In addition to pencil annotations which seem to be fading entirely away, there are pages in the volume of Reynold's Discourses (British library shelf mark c45e18) whose edges are deteriorating to such an extent that annotations themselves are beginning to literally fall away. The edge of the annotation in the right margin of page 67 (a recto page), for example, has disappeared. What Erdman transcribes as ''Generalizing in Every thing the Man would soon be a Fool but a Cunning Fool'' (649), now reads more like, ''Generaliz / in Every th / the Man w / soon be a/ Fool bu / a Cunning / Fool.'' Page 64 has suffered during the process of rebinding. The bottom of the page has been cut so as to destroy some of the annotation; Erdman's transcription reads ''Age & Youth are not Classes but ... of each Class so are Leanness & Fatness'' (648). However, after ''Properties," all that remains of the last line is ''Classes so are Leanness & Fatness." Page 71 offers an even more striking example: what Erdman transcribes as ''let them look at Gothic Figures & Gothic Buildings. & not talk of Dark Ages or of Any Age: Ages are

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    136 all Equal But Genius is Always Above the Age'' (649) now read s, ''let them look at Gothic Figures I & Gothic Buildings. & not talk of Dark Ages or of/ Any Age: Ages are all Equal But Genius." Erdman also asserts that ''Blake's notes [in Reynold's Discourses] were written first in pencil and later, with erasures and additions, in ink. Differences ... between pencil and ink versions are treated as deletions and additions'' (886). However there are many pages on which the words that Erdman asserts to have been in pencil no longer appear, either to my naked eye or under 7x magnification. Curiously though, there are some pages on which the marginal notes have been quite clearly written over with ink yet the pencil is still clearly visible beneath. This prompts the speculation that Blake may have used a different pencil for various annotations, and thus may have annotated at many different times throughout the course of his owning the book (perhaps over the span of a few hours, a few days, or a few years). Erdman calls attention to the general assumption that ''these marginalia are all of one kind written all at one time," though the variously faded pencil annotations may suggest otherwise (886) Further puzzling is the disparity between the care with which Blake inked some annotations but not others. Often, the original pencil is only barely visible beneath the pen; Blake seems to have carefully traced the shape of the pencilled note Yet in other places, there appear what amount to double words, trace lines, or ghost words, where Blake has inked the word into place but has taken no care to follow the original s shape For example on page 74 Blake has inked over his original pencil note: ''Here he is for Determinate & yet for Indeterminate' and ''Distinct General For1n Cannot Exist

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    137 Distinctiveness is Particular Not General However, the pencil is still clearly visible (written much larger and more irregularly). Does allowing for this doubleness suggest that Blake was, consciously or otherwise somehow responding materially to Reynolds' argument for the generality of form? The ''same'' annotations exist, after all, yet still visible as two distinctive sets of marks: one in pencil, the other in pen. Further, did Blake have plans to erase the visible pencil lines ( or did he know that some would, indeed fade over time)? Or did he not care that they would show (but still cared enough to ink some of them over carefully)? I am certain that he was writing in pen so as to be more legible, not just more permanent, which suggests that Blake imagined an audience for at least some of his marginal notes (see more below on audience). There are a number of further questions that this re-writing raises which are worth pursuing, though they are perhaps no more definitively answerable than any of the others I have posed above. First, the question as to whether Blake could have known that to some degree, his pencil annotations would disappear: if not, then why take the trouble to ink some over? In another situation, it appears that Henry Crabb Robinson, whose encounters with Blake are recorded in Robinson's Reminiscences, inked Blake's pencil annotations to a volume of Wordsworth, almost as if he (Robinson) too feared, or knew that pencil would not be perrr1anent Further, what would persuade Blake to ink some annotations but leave others in pencil within a given volume? Or, more generally what reasons might have caused him to not ink annotations in other volumes altogether, as in Berkeley's Siris, for example. Ironically, these kinds of questions disappear altogether, like pencil annotations themselves, without access to the original documents and/or

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    138 faithful facsimile reproductions (ones clear enough to represent pencil versus ink). Thus, even if I cannot answer most of the questions raised by the present kind of study of the marginalia (with attention primarily on issues of materiality and textuality) it is still crucial to note the ways in which those very issues condition the academic production of Blake. My study of the marginalia is as much a study of how we study Blake. As for the annotations themselves though, most crucial, I think, is the sense that Blake's annotations give of a voice (or voices) trying to make itself (themselves) heard on the otherwise uni vocal page, though the force with which Blake wanted that voice to be heard seems to vary greatly (in this case I equate force with legibility and pennanence; ink thus being more ''forceful'' in this context than pencil). That Blake took care to ink some of his annotations suggests that he was consciously constructing a text of his own which would respond, at points, with as much force as the original itself asserted, and which would present to the reader a series of ideas as viable, as authoritative, as those presented by the original. It is in this sense of multi-vocalizing the otherwise uni-vocal page that Blake's marginalia resonate with books, writing and reading as symbols in his poetry, and thus why the maiginalia deserve attention as, paradoxically, central documents. At the very least, they should not be treated as an activity separate from any of Blake's other work as an artist and engraver. As I had suggested tluoughout Chapters 1 and 2, the ''book," for example, represents, throughout Blake's work, a multivalent symbol, but one that is very often connected with authority and the assertion (usually auto-rhetorical, or perhaps autho rlietorical) of that authority. Take for example Urizen's command to Ore in The Four

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    139 Zoas to ''Read my books'' (Night VII: line 91). Blake's assertion (and insertion) of another perspective onto the seemingly finished page-that is, the act of annotation-represents a serious challenge to an authorial authority which is vested in material control and ownership of ''the book'' and therefore of meaning. It is in this respect, this disturbance of interpretive authority, that Blake's marginalia function as part of the anti-Newtonian element that pervades his work. Donald Ault has written that the ''Newtonian voice equates 'multiplicity' with 'confusion' and therefore needs to ground [its] direction of the reader's responses in a similar need for reduction of multiplicity to univocality'' (''Incommensurability," 162). To annotate any text-to multi-vocalize the univocal text-represents a direct challenge to the drive toward Newtonian univocality. This is not at all to argue that Lavater, or Reynolds, or Thornton, or Wordsworth, or any author whose work Blake annotated is necessarily ''Newtonian," that is, espouses Newton's ideas (recall that ''Newtonian'' itself is a complicated te11n, as I explored in Chapter 1). Any particular work need not be explicitly Newtonian for Blake to have realized the anti-Newtonian implications of the act of annotating. What Blake seems to have sensed as a fundamental condition of communication in general, and communication through art specifically, was the degree to which it participated in the Newtonian drive toward stability and, to some degree, univocality. Again, the ''Introduction'' to the Songs of Inriocence is illustrative: the Piper, in fixing his song into material place, causes the creative impetus for organizing that song to disappear. Though despite this loss, the song is now available to be shared. If there is something Newtonian about all communication,

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    it is that inescapable necessity of fixing into place, of stabilizing, that which, at some point, was fluid. 140 What gives much of Blake's art its intensity is its awareness of its own participation even in that which it tries to work against: the Newtonian single-vision for example. The sense of always trying to work against the text as univocal authority pervades Blake's work, especially (as I am trying to show) the marginalia. For example there is a curious Blake manuscript, housed in Dr. Williams' Library, London, in which Blake has transcribed the last paragraph of Wordsworth's preface to the Excursion along with 107 lines from the Conclusion of the ''First Book'' of the Recluse. Blake has added, however, annotations to his own transcription, including marginal notes and one note at the end of the transcript I do not imagine that Blake saw his own transcription to be ''Newtonian' in any particular sense (he likely saw all texts generally to participate to some degree in the ''Newtonian'' drive towards fixity and stability); he likely did not feel compelled to annotate his transcription becau s e he realized that it was ' Newtonian, '' anymore than I am arguing that Blake felt Reynolds' Discourses to be specifically ''Newtonian," and thus reacted by annotating. I am suggesting rather that Blake s anti Newtonianism, as expressed through marginalia, is much more subtle and pervasive. In any act which de-stabilized the finished page (or which introduced an element of fluidity to the otherwise fixed page) Blake realized his anti-Newtonian leanings. For as the links between reading, writing, books and autl1ority throughout his poetry suggest, Blake was particularly aware of how the printed page could operate as a site of asserted, but also contested, authority. Thus I argue that to annotate is an ''anti-Newtonian'' activity,

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    141 whether or not Blake was always immediately conscious of it as such, and whether or not the content of the text being annotated was in any way Newtonian. To disrupt the fixity of the finished page is to work against the drive toward univocality which, as Ault asserts characterizes the Newtonian narrative. And there is little more disruptive to the printed page than to fill space, which the pre-existent text could not reach, with a different perspective. Wall of Words: The Untouchable Page To annotate a text is to expose the limitations imposed by conventional printing For there are, indeed blank spaces that conventionally typeset print does not enter: by definition, the margins (among other spaces like blank fly leaves and front and back inside covers) Especially when we consider the unconventionality of many of Blake s pages, it seems plausible that part of the critique operating as Blake annotated was implicitly of the system of mass production which took all kinds of texts and fitted them into relatively uniforr11 moulds. Not that all conventionally printed texts in Blake s time looked exactly alike but there are, undeniably, blank margins and pages in all of the books Blake annotated which have resulted from their being printed using generally the same process It was not authors themselves who required these spaces; it was the exigencies of print economy and technology. As Blake makes abundantly clear throughout his work he was particularly sensitive to the connections between industry commerce, and art (Walter Ong remarks on the way in which ''alphabet letterpress printing . embedded the word itself deeply in the manufacturing process and made it into a kind of commodity'' (118). Blake's artistic processes often seemed to work against

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    142 the sense, as Ong expresses it, that ''i t was print, not writing, that effectively reified the word, and, with it, noetic activity'' (119).) To fill a margin was, whether Blake fully realized it or not to take advantage of that space left blank in the process of creating a text that could be '' mass'' produceable. To some degree, this is true of almost all acts of annotation; however it is Blake's art itself which sets up the conditions under which annotation-as-critique can be seen to function in this way for his art demands such constant attention to the visual aspect of the page, and to the very material processes which bring that page about. Consider, for example, V. A. de Luca's argument that some of Blake's pages confront the reader as a ''wall of words'' (''A Wall of Words: The Sublime as Text'') De Luca's general argument is that certain of Blake's pages do not just deal with sublime subjects, but that they are, themselves, materially sublime for the reader who encounters them. De Luca expresses his attention to is s ues of textuality, ''I want to concentrate on those elements of Blake's texts that tend to withdraw from the referential function altogether Where these elements operate, the text becomes iconic ... not a transparent medium through which meanjng is easily disseminated'' (218). It is in this sense in particular that certain of Blake's pages present an experience for the reader very different than, for example, did the pages in the texts that Blake himself annotated. For these annotatable pages were the result of conventional, typeset printing, in which production uniformity and economic considerations shaped the space of the page not as in Blake's case, the ideals of the artist himself. Of course, there is a degree to which economics limit all pages, all things produced; however, Blake's production methods

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    143 which centralized invention, execution and re-production all in the hands of the one artist, were clearly to work against other modes of more unifor1n artistic production. Blake's colour printing and relief etching techniques themselves guaranteed that all versions of any given page could be (even if they did not end up being) drastically different from one another. De Luca explores Jerusalem in tenns of how some of its pages present a sublime experience for readers: ''Blake's sublime of the text is no longer a matter of words on walls, inscriptions on indeterminate ground, but of walls made out of words'' (231). De Luca offers the example of plate 16 from Jerusalem (Figure 4-1). ''The attention of the reader," he writes, ''is diverted from a sequential pursuit of words and lines to a visual contemplation of the whole block of text as a single unit, a panel'' (232). Plate 16 offers a particularly good example of what De Luca calls ''the density of inscription'': 69 lines that run ''virtually from one edge of the copper plate to the other, with scarcely more than a squiggle or two of visual decoration'' (232). Yet it is only in the original plate itself, or in an original print, that the wall of words can exist, for as soon as the plate becomes part of a produced ''book," there are new, blank margins. Erdman's typeset edition (in the Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake) presents plate 16 of Jerusalem as best it can: the long lines are retained. But the sense of overwhelming compression, indeed of the sublime, to follow De Luca's argument, is lost. Further problematic is that plate 16 in Erdman begins midway down page 159, occupies all of 160, and ends less than halfway down 161. So the wall of words that occupied a full plate in Blake's version (and vision) is interrupted by nothing less than our actually

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    144 having to tum the page. Doubtless this lessens the ' difficulty'' the reader experiences with Blake in the sense that De Luca explores: the walls made out of words (though I am not suggesting Erdman makes Blake ''easy''). Noting the density of pages and walls of words as they occur in Blake's work in tenns of, say the layout of text in the volumes he annotated, does certainly invite the observation that Blake consciously or otherwise, has built pages that, as they were originally presented, were in some instances un-annotatable. On certain plates in Jerusalem, for example, there is literally no room left anywhere to write anything more. Even pages which are not full of words, as is plate 16, would present difficulties to any would-be annotators, given that Blake often filled spaces with interlinear designs (as in The Book of Urizen as well), and took care to colour his backgrounds (i.e. spaces that would otherwise not contain words or illustrations). Erdman suggests in his Illuminated Blake that on plate 10 of Jerusalem, another wall of words, ''the margins are given a sort of vegetal texture with suggestions of interweaving forms; this and similar borders ... may imply a world inside the vegetable veil of Vala'' (289). Filling space may sometimes be less connected to this kind of symbol-based representation than it is to Blake's basic desire (his compulsion?) to leave no space untouched (and thus to leave no space potentially re-touchable), regardless of how it was filled. Below, I consider the intersection between Blake's tracing over his own marginalia and the figure of Urizen in The Four Zoas whom Blake depicts compulsively tracing his books. These books tend to represent self-defence mechanisms for Urizen, often against feelings of oppression (or attraction) he would rather not admit. It is quite

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    145 intriguing, I think, to consider the un-annotatable pages in Jerusalem, for example and whether they (as might the books of Urizen in The Four Zoas) reveal a great deal about Blake's own feelings of oppres s ion and, to some degree, paranoia, regarding his relation to the artistic establishment in which he found himself. Is the page that becomes a wall of words as much a defence mechanism for Blake himself as are the books to which Urizen compulsively returns? That speculation aside, however, I do maintain that for Blake to co-opt the blank spaces left in conventionally printed books by asserting his own, often multiple, perspectives, is to call attention, consciously or otherwise, to the material effects commerce, broadly speaking, can have on art. For it is a particular kind of production process which makes those very spaces available; and it is those spaces which Blake 's production processes looked to keep under the control of the artist. Annotating : The Four Zoa.s : Tracing In Chapters 1 and 2 I explored some of the ways in which books function symbolically in Blake's work (in The Book of Urizen, for example). Books like those of, or by, Urizen, and indeed Blake's Book of Urizen itself, tend to bind both readers and writers into an iterative loop whereby the writing/reading of books defines the writer/reader of books, yet where the writer/reader of books shapes what those books will be. Often, readers of Blake's books find themselves caught in the same dilemmas of iterative becoming and creating as those faced by the characters in the books themselves For example, there seems no ''outside'' from which an unproblematic voice can speak the ''truth'' of events in The Book of Urizen, for even the prophetic voice is perhaps inspired

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    146 by Eternals who themselves see events from a particular perspective (which itself is defined in relation to Urizen's movement away from Eternity). And while Uri ze n is itself a poem about Urizen trying to gain access to an unchanging perspective which transcends the chaotic world around him, Uri ze n the book presents innumerable problems for readers looking to gain access to a stable text, and thus to establish a stable perspective ' outside'' the text from which to judge character and narrative, and from which to decide upon an ''ideal'' text I had asserted in Chapter 2 that in a work like The Book of Urizen, reader, writer, and the processes of both reading and writing are deeply implicated with one another There is another such intersection which emerges when we consider Blake inking over his pencil annotations (as in Reynolds' Discourses) and the motifs of tracing and rewriting that appear, particularly as activities associated with Urizen, in The Four Zoas: '' For Urizen fixd in Envy sat brooding & coverd with snow/ His book of iron on his knee s he tracd the dreadful letters'' (VIl: 1-3). The Book of Urizen is, a s Paul Mann suggests, '' a book about books '' (49), suggesting that Blake's struggles with book writing and producing found their way into the artistic results of those struggles (his books) I argue that it is equally likely that Blake's self-awareness of his habits as reader and annotator, particularly of re-tracing his own notes, also found their way into his poetic work. While I am not suggesting a direct, or conscious, cause-and-effect relation between Blake's annotating and motifs which appear in his poetry, there are certainly particular intersections which illuminate some of the implications of annotating as Blake practiced

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    147 it. (For one as attentive to minute particulars as Blake was, it seems unlikely that the implications of his day to day activities on the art he created would have escaped him.) In Night the Seventh of The Four Zoas, Ore rages against Urizen. He, Ore, is nailed to the burning rock, but Urizen is not sirrularly bound. ''Why shouldst thou sit," Ore asks of Urizen, ''cold grovelling demon of/ woe . thou dost fixd obdurate brooding sit/ Writing thy books ... thy pen obdurate/ Traces the wonders of Futurity in horrible fear of the future'' (VII: 3-16). (The extension of Urizen's obdurate-ness into an obdurate pen suggests very immediately that one writes what one is.) And in the midst of Ore becorrung a ''Serpent form," and Los sitting in the ''showers of Urizen," ''Urizen tracd his Verses / In the dark deep the dark tree grew'' (VII: 4-11 ). In these examples, Urizen is explicitly ''tracing," though it is unclear if, each time, he is tracing that which he has already written, that which he's already imagined (though this possibility is complicated since writing often makes imagining possible), or if tracing is a fo11n of displacing, that is, writing that which already exists but in a new medium. It is grammatically possible that: Urizen traced his verses in the dark deep meaning that he was in the dark deep; that he traced onto the dark deep; and/or that ''In the d~k deep'' describes where ''the dark tree grew.'' The grammatical tie created by the lack of punctuation plays out endlessly in the narrative interconstitution in Night the Seventh of Urizen's envy for Los and for Ore, his writing to control Ore, the eruption of the root of Mystery, Urizen's own entanglement in the labyrinth of roots, his compulsion to arrange his books around him, all save the book of iron, which seems to become the rock of iron to which Ore is nailed:

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    Los felt the Envy in his limbs like to a blighted tree For Urizen fixd in Envy sat brooding & coverd with snow His book of iron on his knees he tracd the dreadful letter s While his snows fell & his sto11ns beat to cool the flames of Ore Age after Age till underneath his heel a deadly root Struck thro the rock the root of Mystery accursed shooting up Branches into the heaven of Los they pipe formd bending down Take root again wherever they touch again branching forth In intricate labyrinths oerspreading many a grizly deep Amazd started Urizen when he found himself compassd round And high roofed over with trees. he arose but the stems Stood so thick he with difficulty & great pain brought His books out of the dismal shade. all but the book of iron Again he took his seat & rangd his Books around On a rock of iron frowning over the f earning frres of Ore (VII : pages 7778) 148 It is unclear just what ''letters'' are being traced by Urizen, but the ''sense'' of a passage like this one seems to be that causation is often a mere textual device. That is, Los feels Urizen's envy (for himself or for Ore) ''like to a blighted tree'' [my italics] following from which an actual root and branches erupt. One of Urizen's books is iron (a characteristic textually ''caused'' by the iron monsters that chase him) though he leaves it behind, thus ''causing'' the rock he sits on to be ''a rock of iron." It is almost as if the appearance of a word in the poem allows for, or causes, the possibility for that word to appear again, though its movement from one context to another need not follow a lo gic of narrative causation. With t extual (as opposed perhap s to thematic or narrative) causation at work, it becomes difficult to say what effect Urizen' s tracing really has on narrative events, or whether tracing in fact creates the conditions necessary for certain events to occur at all. If it is the w1iting of words which makes certain dimensions in the narrative field possible (i.e. the word ''iron'' must be written by Urizen in order that it migrate from

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    149 one point in the narrative to another), then tracing becomes both an incredibly powerful, but potentially uncontrollable activity, in that multiplying possibilities in the textual field opens the narrative field to correlate multiplicity. Marginalia as Path : Further into The Four Zoas Donald Ault, in Narrative Unbound, explicates some of the issues surrounding Urizen's books in The Four Zoas. They are books of iron and brass, which Ault asserts are ''direct responses to the monsters [whose scales and fins are made of iron and brass] who devour his [Urizen's] path' (220). The books are, as Ault writes, ''one solution to the problem of making a linear path in a pathless space'' (220). In the context of The Four Zoas, Urizen's books are ' a defense mechanism," a ''remnant of his need to survive'' (225) The compulsion with which he traces (into) his books reflects his own attempts to deny, among other things what Ault describes as Urizen's ''subjugation to Ore'' (245). Urizen's books, as they emerge from and submerge into, the narrative field, along with his compulsive tracing tend to mark those moments where ''Urizen' s control is severely threatened'' (221). My point is not to try to untangle The Four Zoas, but to bring to light the relation between Urizen's tracing (again, Blake seems careful to maintain ''tracing'' as the compulsive action as opposed to ''writing'') and Blake himself tracing his own annotations. I quoted liberally from Ault' s work since his explication of Urizen and tracing books makes it possible for me to draw a number of parallels. Urizen tracing his books, as representative of his attempt to form a path through otherwise pathless space resonates with Blake himself trying to organize the ''pathless," or unused, space of

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    150 another's text, to create for himself a 1dnd of space in which to move, to mark the page for himself, and to arrange his own ''marks'' in relation to anothers' If the printed words of an existent text represent the only way readers can move through a book that is, quite simply, there is only the one printed text to read then marking in the margins really does seem a way of creating an alternate path through an otherwise fixed space. Certainly a substantial number of Blake's annotations are meant to oppose the primary text, forcing the reader's awareness, not just of alternate arguments, but of the way in which printed texts suppress those alternatives. Margins are thus not transparent and empty but are opaque and brimming with alternatives Further interesting are those moments when Blake's annotations suggest a different way of moving through the existent text. It is obvious to note that books are paginated ( or sections numbered) such that readers can move through the argument ''properly'' by following consecutive numbers It is perhaps so obvious that it has become one aspect of the control which texts exert over readers that now goes unnoticed. ( Jerome McGann in Towards a Literatur e of Kriowledg e, asserts that ''the printed book is one of the most illusionistic of human works, imputing as it does an aura of per1nanence to the discourses we manipulate'' (12). Philip Cohen, introducing Texts and Textuality, writes '' the layout, typography, binding, paper, and ornamentation of a book work in concert with or in opposition to the linguistic text they convey'' (xvi).) But just as Blake 's annotations can remind us that the original text suppresses certain arguments and perspectives in favour of its own, so too can his annotations remind us that a text suppresses the control it exerts over the reader in ter111s of guiding movement through

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    151 itself. There can be, as Blake's annotations sometimes reveal, different paths through a text; in this sense to annotate is to reveal the illusion (to pick up McGann's metaphor) of control a text exerts over itself and its readers. Often, by challenging the implicit authority a text has over how it is to be read (that is, the material conditions of consecutive pagination, for example) one also challenges the authority a text exerts over its own meaning. As I had alluded to briefly in Chapter 3, Blake annotates the numbered entries in Swedenborg s Divine Provid e n ce by harkening to other numbers sometimes earlier sometimes later in the volume The annotation to Number 198, for example reads ''Mark this it explain s N 238. More striking is perhaps the annotation to Number 330: ''Swedenborg contradicts him s elf & N 69 See also 277 & 203 where he says that a Place for Each Man is foreseen & at the same time provided.'' Blake seems at once to be formulating his own path through the text, not only by inserting his own text in the s pace available, but also by suggesting that the reader can move among the numbered s ections in ways other than by proceeding in ''order Indeed Blake asserts that hi s path (to move from 330 back to 69, or 277, or 203) will reveal a contradiction in the exi s tent text likely a contradiction that doe s not emerge s o easily (or at all ) if the pre-existent path is followed (that is the sections read '' properly in order ). It is in this manner of c reating alternate paths through a text that Blake s annotatjons reveal the authority of texts a s potentially fraudulent, or at lea s t a s dependent on certain material condition s ( like numbered sections ) for their argumentative force as on the content of the argument it s elf. Thus is s ues of textuality are important to the marginalia in that the appearance of

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    152 univocality is dependent to some extent on the material arrangement of a book Meaning (even ''truth so-called) is authorized not just by the author (though the Newtonian text will pretend as much) but equally by the material conditions of a book. The Santa Cruz Blake Study Group suggests that ' The effects generated by the emblematic characteristics of the book will constitute a significant part of the terms on which the contents of the book are offered and received'' (311). And further, ''Our ability to read has been conditioned by our familiarity with traditional linear text forrns and the consistent and powerful app e ararice they pres e nt'' (310; my italics). It is particularly the ''powerful appearance'' of the book which plays such a crucial yet at the same time subtle, role in reading. Blake s marginalia function to call attention to the material arrangement of books even the regularity of their typeset by occupying spaces that should not be occupied (margins, for example) and by presenting an irregular script. Marginalia can remind us that our willingness to accept as authoritative that which we read is deeply conditioned by material appearances; in the case of Blake s marginalia, this occurs, ironically enough when material appearances are disrupted. For Blake to trace his path his marking of dead/supressed space, his assertion of a new text in the margins, is particularly significant if we read the activity through Urizen's tracing in Th e Four Zoas, for it suggests that such tracing may have been, for Blake just as much as for Urizen, a kind of defense mechanism, a kind of path making, and finally a kind of assertion of control over that to which he, as any reader, is ultimately subjugated : the book itself a s he/it confronts it/him Ault even suggests that we get a somewhat ''sympathetic account'' (however short-lived that sympathy may be) of Urizen who '' is

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    153 writing the [his] journey in the [his] books (creating the journey by writing it) '' ( 226 ) ' And the writer Ault continues ''(whether Urizen, the narrator, or Blake himself) i s apparently under duress to write this nightmare journey : he cannot refuse'' (226 ). If the intersection I am s uggesting between tracing in Th e Four Zoas and Blake's own annotating is anything to go by it is not a stretch at all to see ''the writer '' in Th e F o ur Zoas as an aspect of Blake. That Urizen is compulsive about his writing and tracing may speak to compulsions that Blake himself felt to oppo s e certain texts (and readerly pathways through those texts) with a marginal text/pathway of his own. The annotations to Reynolds' Dis co urs e s certainly suggest the level of anxiety (not to mention displeasure) Blake felt to respond materially to a figure against which he so completely aligned himself It is not then surprising that it was in this volume particularly that Blake seemed to take the greatest care in inking into place those annotations which would go to form an authoritative voice to rival that of the author. Blake worked on Th e F o ur Zoas from the late 1790s (using paper from his project to illustrate Young s Night Thoughts) into at least 1807 (817). The annotations to Reynolds, which feature a good deal of tracing ink over pencil, were likely done during roughly the same time frame from 1798 (the date of the publication of the Reynolds edition) to 1808 or 1809. (There are no annotations in the second and third volumes of Reynolds' Discourses; however, Blake refers to them in his notebook along with reference to event s of 1808 and 1809 ( 886 ; Keynes 908).) It must have seemed a curious thing that his activities as a reader and writer ( an annotator) were tending towards those activities of one of his most c omplex poeti c

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    154 characters. Or put the opposite way it perhaps comes as no surprise that one of Blake's most complex characters ( one whose significations are constantly slipping from what they initially seemed) embodies the tensions and contradictions within Blake's own practice as a reader and writer. Certainly though Blake's sense of what it meant to read and to write or what it meant to combine tho s e activities into that of annotating, is expressed in a character like Urizen in, for example, The Four Zoas. We see again that the ''books for1nd of metals '' that Urizen creates in Uri z en (at least in some of the copies) really are, for Blake, ''books formd of me-/ -tals'' (Erdman Illuniinated Blake 186 ). At many points throughout the marginalia, it seems as though Blake is taking a completed book and recreating it as a new kind of document, featuring entirely new personalities which emerge from the spaces left blank by the original printing. They become books re-formed by the ''me'' of Blake at that time, indeed by the various ''me's'' of Blake as he responds to the text. As I had outlined in Chapter 3 I think it is misleading to imagine 'a singular Blake'' whose marginalia reveal a consistent intentional activity or a ''philosophy ' which exists to be expressed from outside the immediate context of what is being read. The Opinion of Will Blake In annotations like those to Reynolds, Blake is very careful to reveal his own contextual position relative to the work he's reading and responding to. On the blank page on back of the title page, Blake explains his position at length (I have quoted portions of this previously):

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    Having spent the Vigour or my Youth & Genius under the Oppression of Sir Joshua & his Gang of Cunning Hired Knaves Without Employment & as much as could possibly be Without Bread. The Reader must Expect to Read in al] my Remarks on these Books Nothing but Indignation & Resentment ... Reynolds and Gainsborough Blotted & Blurred One against the other & Divided all the English World between them Fuseli Indignant almost hid himself_ I am hid 155 Ironically, the last word, hid, is itself almost obscured by the edge of the page as Blake was running out of room (and as the page deteriorates). But it is clear that Blake is looking to set himself up, or more correctly, to set a text up, which opposes that of Reynolds. Even more revealing is the direct address to ''The Reader''; here at least, Blake is fully, explicitly confident that somebody will be reading the volume that he has annotated. Whether they will be reading for Blake's work or for Reynolds' seems irrelevant to Blake's sense of his own words standing irremovably next to, above, below and around those of Reynolds. The instance of the word ''hid'' becoming almost hidden thanks to lack of room on the page is only one example wherein blank space in the text became for Blake the occasion to offer some comment, often as much as space would allow, and thus to arrange that comment under the conditions perrnitted by the material arrangement of the book itself. Just as his notes are often deeply embedded conceptually in the text which they surround (and are thus in some ways controlled by that text), I argue that the material layout of the original controls the possibilities open for Blake to establish other voices on the page. If there had been fewer blank pages, or smaller margins, would we have less annotation? Or would Blake simply have written over the existing text?

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    156 This is another set of unanswerable questions. But it seems that for an artist who so often wrote over other work (as in The Four Zoas for example) and who applied paint in various layers using the colour printing process, Blake has left the original text in his annotated volumes for the most part untouched ( one notable exception is Lavater' s Aphorisms on Man, though even here Blake has crossed out Lavater' s words and carefully inserted his own, leaving both readable). There are occasional underlinings and brackets in the margins (for example, in the annotations to Swedenborg's Divine Lov e and Divine Wisdom, Blake uses large } shaped brackets to ''collect'' lines, next to which he writes ''Note this'' (sections 410 and 411) or ''Mark this'' (section 421). But rarely does Blake deface the original text-even the crossed-out words in Lavater remain easily read able. It is almost as though he has been careful to preserve the original, for the more accessible it remains, the greater relief are his own positions thrown into. While he does not deface the text by rendering it illegible, there are pages on which Blake's extensive use of the blank spaces makes it almost impossible to go to the original first and not to the annotations (thus altering what would have been the original path of reading). Consider pages 126 and 127 in Blake's volume of Reynolds' Discourses. 126 and 127 are facing pages. With the book opened flat, Blake's annotations can be seen to encompass the entirety of the margins surrounding the two pages. That is, the entire left margin of 126 is filled, as is the bottom, in addition to the entire right margin of 127 (and its bottom margin). (Another good example of this kind spatial arrangement can be seen in Blake's annotations on pages 2 and 3 to Watson's Apology for the Bible; Figure 4-2.) This creates the effect of an original text entirely surrounded, not just by notes like ''Mark

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    this'' or ''A Lie'' (as appear elsewhere), but by continuous expression which occupies almost all the space available. The annotation which runs the entire length of the left column of page 126 and into the bottom margin reads: According to Reynolds Mich Angelo was worse still & knew Nothing at all about Art as an Object of Imitations Can any Man be such s fool as to believe that Rafael & Michael Angelo were Incapable of the meer Language of Art & That Such Idiots as Rubens : Correggio & Titian Knew how to Execute what they could not Think or Invent. 157 Of course my typeset version suffers as much as Erdman's, likely more. The actual line breaks as they occur because of the limited space Blake is working in go something like: ''According/ to Reynolds/ Mich Angelo/ was worse/ still." Many of the semantically tricky spots in typeset versions, where one idea runs into the next to the point that they are hard to separate, are much less severe when the line breaks are restored. For example, if we read ''According to Reynolds Mich Angelo was worse still & knew Nothing at all about Art as an Object of Imitation," the next line ''Can any Man'' could read like a question. As in ''can any man know about Art as an object of imitation''? Reading on, however, we see that Man is actually the subject of ''be such a Fool," yet again the possibility presents itself that Blake is asking, ''Can any man be such a Fool as to know nothing of Art as an Object of Imitation?'' Reading yet further reveals that the most likely sense of the lines is to break the first semantic unit after ''Imitation," and that the next phrase actually reads, ''Can any Man be such a fool as to believe that Rafael & Michael Angelo." Restoring the line break-''Art as/ an Object of Imitation/

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    158 Can any/ Man be' -makes Blake s notation seem much less like the collection of run-on sentences suggested by Erdman s typeset edition (or by my own use of quotation above) Returning to the issue of Blake s use of s pace, it is clear that the margin s provoked him to develop a textual ' voice ' that wa s going to be deeply connected to the text that occa s ioned it (just as Blake warns that the reader is to expect a direct r e sp o n s e to Reynolds), yet which would vie with that text for equal importance on the page. In Reynolds especially, there is the sense that Blake is carefully constructing (literally inking into permanence ) a definite, alternate voice (or voices) which is to control as much of the page as it can, and which is not just to comment on Reynolds' text, but which is to develop a position of it s own. The question regarding who Blake might have imagined himself to be writin g for is crucial here. In Reynolds at least, we have a direct address to the Reader In addition Blake takes care despite the limitations imposed by the margins, to formulate a text which i s to be as 'central' as Reynolds'. So Blake writes on the Reynolds title page in letters much larger than the original ' This Man was Hired to Depress Art This is the opinion of Will Blake my Proofs of thi s Opinion are given in the following Notes. Blake expressly names himself as author And the positioning of these lines in relation to those printed on the title page is uncanny. While he does not render the original unreadable Blake has used the blank spaces between the printed lines to provide hi s own title page of sorts-what amounts to a centred title '' This Man Was Hired / to Depress Art, attribution 'This is the opinion of Will Blake and subtitle '' My Proofs / of thi s Opinion/ are given in the/ following Notes." Further Blake has underlined 'Reynolds

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    159 perhaps to highlight that while the Discourses might purport to represent the tastes of a larger community (one from which Blake felt particularly excluded) they are nonetheless the opinion of just one man. Blake even stylizes his lettering on this page-the ''H'' of ''Hired'' is complete with flourishes, as are the ''D'' of ''Depress," and the ''A'' of ''Art''-perhaps to challenge the unifo11n regularity of the typeset original. In Figure 4-3 I have done my best to reproduce the page (with some omissions), though it suffers from the usual problems of typesetting. The idea is to suggest the way in which the original title page and Blake's annotated ''title page'' exist together on the page. It is perhaps no surprise that while Blake did leave some of his annotations to other volumes in pencil (Berkeley's Siris was my earlier example) it was in Reynolds' Discourses that Blake took the care to ink some of his annotations, in some cases making them more legible, and in all cases making them more pe1rr1anent. As Robert Wark points out in his edition of Reynolds' Discourses, the discourses ''were prepared as formal lectures to the students and members of the Royal Academy ... They were delivered ... on the occasion of the annual prize giving." And most significantly, ''the Discourses were tantamount to a statement of policy for the young institution'' (xiv). It was no doubt this sense of the discourses as instructional and as statements of policy which so provoked Blake into mounting his own statement of policy throughout the spaces available to him. Returning for a moment to the importance that books play throughout Blake's work in terms of their power to authorize and stabilize law, rules, measurement, and ideas, certainly Blake found in the Discourses a kind of document little different from

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    160 Urizen' s books. ff the Discourses were ' statements of policy'' delivered to students in order that they might learn to abide by that policy, Blake may have seen little difference between them and, for example, the 'secrets of wisdom," the ''Laws of peace, of love, of unity:/ Of pity compassion, forgiveness ... One command, one joy, one desire, / One curse, one weight one measure/ One Kind one God, one Law ' (Book of Urizen Plate 4, lines 25-40; see Chapter 2 for a discussion of problems surrounding the plates of thi s book). Against the kind of insularity and singularity implied by the Discourses Blake took care to present an alternate opinion one that he took time to consider Certainly he took time to choose which of his initial reactions to Reynolds he wanted to ink and which he wanted to leave un-retouched. Further by asserting explicitly that the notes represent ''the opinion of Will Blake Blake is able not only to contextualize his own authorship, but to remind the reader that the Discours e s themselves are of singular authorship and that their authority to represent a communal taste is potentially suspect. In addition Blake's explicit s elf-representation may be as much a reaction to the particular edition of the Discours e s he owned, which begins with 'Some Account of Sir Joshua Reynold s ," a biographical account, some hundred pages long, celebrating Reynolds' greatness and what he had done for the wealth and prosperity of England Blake reminds however, that Reynolds was 'Hired," and can therefore be under compulsion to represent a position that is not entirely his own, just as students themselve s will be expected to. In fact, many of Blake s annotations refer to Reynolds relationship to the aristocracy on the one hand (those who have hired him) and artists on the other (those who must defer to his authority) For example Blake refers to ''S"' Reynolds and

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    161 ''his Gang of Cunning Hired Knaves'' on the blank verso of the title page. On the page which contains Reynolds' dedication ''TO THE KING," Blake tellingly writes, ''O Society for Encouragement of Art! 0 King & Nobility of England! Where have you hid Fuseli's Milton." On page civ of the ''Some Account of Sir Joshua Reynolds," Blake writes, ''This Whole Book Was Written to Serve Political Purposes." Erdman suggests that unerased pencil on this page also reads, ''[?First to Serve Nobility & Fashionable Taste & sr. Joshua]'' (641; brackets and italics are Erdman's). However, I was unable to see these words; they may have faded entirely. The annotations to Reynolds represent one of the best examples of all the annotated volumes of Blake working to alter without physically destroying the original text, and to mount a text of his own in the spaces provided. His attention to detail, his address to the reader, his explicit self-presentation, and the time it must have taken to ink some marginal notes into per1nanence show the degree to which Blake wanted to oppose Reynolds text by producing an alternate text which demanded its share of any reader s attention. Conclusion What the Santa Cruz Blake Study group calls the ''editorial line of interpretation," in addition to ''the exigencies of typographic economics," have deep effects on the academic production surrounding all of Blake's work, but especially, as I have tried to show throughout Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4, his marginalia (''What Type of Blake?'' 305). At stake throughout the mru.ginalia are the same kinds of issues emerging from textual and material investigations into the rest of Blake's oeuvre-investigations made more and more possible by the publication of affordable facsimile's of Blake's major works (by the

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    162 William Blake Trust, for example) I have tried to outline some of the problems of textuality that remain inaccessible to scholars working without access to the original s or to photographic facsimiles of the marginalia (no such volume currently exists ) However, attention to matters of textuality and materiality reveal how deeply the marginalia really do participate in and stem from Blake 's work as a reader and writer and a s an artist and poet. The marginalia are fundamentally important to Blake scholarship, since they represent the product of Blake treating the printed page directly, itself a multivalent symbol which appears throughout his work from the ''Introduction '' to the Son g s o f Innocence to Tlie Four Zoas. The ''book'' was for Blake, and remains today, a site for both as s erting and contesting authority. Blake 's encounters with books do not function outside his activitie s a s a poet artist and s ocial commentator; rather Blake s reading and writing reflect activities thoroughly integrated with reading and writing as activitie s which appear throughout his poetry and with readers and writers as characters fundamental to Blake 's poetic univer s e

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    163 Figure 4-1 Jerusalem Plate 16 (Bindman 313)

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    Figure 4-2 Blake's annotations on pages 2 and 3 of Watson's Apology for the Bible 164 i

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    :Jlus !Jlt'an was Jlirecl lo 'lJep.refi :Jlrf THE WORKS 7./iis is 4ie opinion ojTuJ.i/1:JJ/ak SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. KNIGHT r.r7f/ :A-o'!fi
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    CHAPTERS MARGINALIA: FURTHER POSSIBILfl'lES Introduction Up to this point I have pursued particular issues of spatiality that emerge from Blake's treatment of the page. I have tried to highlight ways in which elements that s hare the same page often work in conflicting ways, even where more traditional readin g strategies would look for such elements to work a s compliments One obvious example throughout Blake s work has been text and illustration, which we might otherwise as s ume would work to explain each other. Yet we often find that illustrations do not nece s sarily illu s trate ; that is, text and design s eem to be saying different things, or their relation s hip is not an immediately apprehendable one if we read with the assumption that an illustration will ' illustrate'' what the text s ays. In Chapter 4 I looked to integrate the marginalia as an important part of the spatial strategy which often complicate s the relationship between illustration and text. The larger context of Blake s work so in s istently force s issues of textual instability and material resi s tance to ea sy reading that whether '' intended '' as such or not it i s po ss ible to read in the marginalia an equally disruptive force at work on the otherwise fini s hed s pace of the page. My reading of the marginalia has highlighted moments of textual and material complexity and thus s uggested ways in which the marginalia participate in the anti-Newtonian, or anti-system impulse that emerges throughout Blake's work. 166

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    167 There are, in fact, many more complexities that deserve attention (too many to include here). However, as I had suggested particularly in Chapter 4, the marginalia represent an interesting example of Blake forging a new kind of space through the text. I had aligned this spatiality with similar issues of spatiality that occur in The Four Zoas, for example. What may have been submerged in my own discussion though is the sense of time that functions as s uch an important part of writing, and of course, of reading. That is, while the marginalia might operate from and in a certain kind of space on the page, they also can produce a different sense of time. Time The idea that Blake's marginalia suggest different ways of moving through a given text (a metaphor whose spatial dimension I have highlighted previously) also carries with it the implication that the time, or linear seque nce of our reading can be altered. Often, if we follow the marginal notes which call to different pages or sections in a text, ones that are sometimes many pages removed from the current annotation, we experience the text in a radically different way than if we read by following numbered pages or section. The marginalia work to show how there are other, often multiple, and often contradictory ways of moving through a text. Note that unles s Blake were to unbind books he owned (an unlikely possibility from an economic standpoint if from no other), there could be no way to materially alter their page order. In his own work, however, Blake was able to do just this (the moveability of individual metal plates may have been just one of their many inviting features). The marginalia represent an interesting compromise in that pages cannot realistically be unbound reordered, and

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    168 rebound, but annotations which suggest non linear movements through the text function to 're-order," without materially destroying, the original volume. Blake is thus able to preserve the original text as one ''copy ' of the work, but can introduce new 'copies'' by virtue of his annotations. The multiple sequences suggested by Blake's annotations to Lavater' s Aphorisms on Man could allow us in fact, to treat each sequence as a variant copy of the work. Thus we could speak of Lavater Copy A, or Lavater Copy B just as we now speak of Uri ze n Copy A or Uri z en Copy B. (Additionally, annotating by suggesting ''links'' to materially distant sections of a book provides a surprising parallel with modem hypertext, which also functions through ' links As is the case with annotations (especially Blake s which do not deface the original text), choosing to make one particular link does not destroy the possibility for other links to be made. This is not to say, of course that Blake foresaw hypertext-or even that he might react positively to it if he could see it today but rather that he recognized the same kinds of limitation s in moving linearly through conventionally printed text that hypertext itself looks to overcome. Annotation and hypertext share an interesting convergence as technologie s for rethinking the space and time of conventional textuality.) However disruptive annotation might be to possible sequences of reading, though, the literal time of reading of course does not change No matter how we flip through the pages of a book, and regardless of whether we read pages consecutively or completely at random, 20 minutes is 20 minutes. The sense of time that the marginalia do disrupt is rather that sense that books as argument will only function if we move in a strictly linear fashion through the text. The texts that Blake annotated for example, do not foreground

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    169 (and often work to obscure) the fact that reading need not be restricted to following the pages in their consecutive, printed order. The option to move ''differently'' through the time of any text is suppressed by what I have previously identified as the typographic and material machinery (of layout, pagination, typesetting) which works to stabilize the book. Blake's art, his books, often present a very real challenge to this kind of stability; that is, a stabilized time (or sequence) in which we can read. Take again, for example, the books of The Book of Urizen. In each version, the pages are ordered differently, so the sequence of reading is materially different in each case. Apart from an editorial imperative to choose an ''ideal'' order and circulate that as correct, there is nothing to necessarily authorize one time of the text over any other Even pages within books participate in destabilizing the possibility for strictly linear movement through the text. Interlinear designs divert our attention since they exist, literally, between lines of text. Should we read all text first, and then look at illustrations? Should we look at the illustrations (or is it all one illustration?) and then read the text? If we choose one of these options, what do we make of a page on which the illustration occupies the top half, and text the bottom? Or illustration the bottom and text the top? Do we skip over part of the page to arrive at another, and then move back? Each of these is of course an issue of both the space and time of the page, but I now want to highlight how time, that is, the linear sequence of the consecutively numbered pages or sections of a text, is disrupted. One particularly good example of the way in which Blake's marginalia disrupt not just the space of the page, but also the linearity of the book itself, is the annotations to Lavater's Aphorisms on Mari. (Not least because Lavater's aphorisms are numbered,

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    170 sometimes one or two to a page, and thus the typographic mechanism which is to direct the reader linearly through the text is even more overt than is the case with numbered pages. This hyper-ordering may have been what prompted Blake to annotate as he did in a style that makes numerous links between otherwise distant aphorisms.) Blake s marginalia in this volume invite a markedly different way to read the book by working as interand intra-textual groups. That is Blake marks many of Lavater s aphorisms by calling to other aphorisms or to texts beyond Lavater s entirely. Actually, Blake tends to agree with much that Lavater has written. Blake ha s even encircled Lavater s name and his own in a heart on the title page and has written on the back fly leaf, ''I hope no one will call what I have written cavilling because he may think my remarks of small consequence '' (Lavater) Yet Blake does offer some disagreement. Notably, it is where Blake disagree s that he will often intervene textually, by di s rupting the linear sequence of numbered aphorisms by directing the reader to other, sometimes materially distant aphorisms. What emerges is a particular technology for critique in which Blake doe s not just write a different opinion in the margin, but in fact disrupts the very ground on which the original argument to some degree depends (that is, the linear movement from one ''idea'' to the next). What the annotations force is our awareness that the text is not a transparent medium to '' ideas ," but that forces of textuality and materiality play a significant role in how we gain access to meaning Whether Blake intended as much or not in each s pecific instance of annotating i s less important than the kind of critique which emerges from the pages themselves. That is, as I have noted previou s ly that certain 'bookish ' mechanisms, submerged though powerful, operate to

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    171 suppress interpretive opportunities, but that even these mechanisms can be revealed and destabilized by textual intervention. Again, it is Blake's art itself which in many ways forces s uch issues to the very forefront of reading; it is impossible to ignore that consecutive pagination for example, is as much a social construction as a palace or church, and as such can be juxtaposed with other, perhaps equally viable, possibilities. The marginalia, particularly to Lavater, destabilize the original text, and present other possibilities for interpretation to the reader. John Caspar Lavater's Apl1orisms on Man was translated by Henry Fuseli, and Blake engraved the frontispiece; the volume was published in 1788 and Blake appears to have annotated his copy, unbound, immediately. Lavater was rather generous to Fuseli, inviting him to ''make improvements [and] to omit what you think false or unimportant'' (Lavater; Dedicatory letter from Lavater to Fuseli). In addition, Lavater's final aphorism invites readers to ''interli ne s uch of these aphorisms as affected you agreeably in reading, and set a mark to such as left a sense of uneasiness with you; and then shew your copy to whom you please'' (Aphorism 643). Blake may have been particularly drawn to such a book as invited (rather than discouraged) readers to physically mark the text and to circulate it. In fact, Blake has written on the first page, before Aphorism 1, ''for the reason of these remarks see the last aphorism." This represents a drastic alternative to the linear sequence of numbered aphorisms, and further indicates that Blake did not simply annotate as he read a volume for the first time. He likely went back, at some point, to page one, after having read the last page.

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    172 Ironically, Blake seems to have followed Lavater's directions in the final aphorism fairly closely. He has marked certain passages with an 'X' and has written ''uneasy' beside some. And it does seem that Blake shared the volume with others, and/or perhaps re-read and annotated at different times. There seems to be considerable discrepancy among the major editors of Blake's work, however, regarding just which of the annotations in the book are Blake s and which are not (an issue I allude to in the final section of this chapter). From Lavater s existing text, Blake creates a text which is both intertextual and especially intra-textual, self-referential, and thus suggests movement in the text which is not linear. Interesting]y, Blake s practice as an annotator produces textual features in the annotated volume not entire]y different than those which emerge elsewhere in his other work. In Narrative Unbound, Donald Ault describes the The Four Zoas 'internal self contextualizations'' and ''how its assumption that reading is a primary location of human being can perpetually open up new narrative possibilities'' (xxiii). Close attention to The Four Zoas text produces, according to Ault ''a reading that is perpetually revising itself, opening from and onto itself' (xxiii) While The Four Zoas is likely an extreme case of intra-textuality (since revisionary layers in the unfinished manuscript poem make self referentiality-even to the ''same ' lines, though at different revisionary stages-a constant possibility), the Lavater annotations, again along with Lavater' s invitation in the final aphorism for readers to annotate and share the volume, force the text open in new directions, and work to show how interpretive opportunities for readers need not remain bound by textual mechanisms meant to stabilize the text.

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    173 For example, the ink note by Blake to Aphorism 3 reads, ''let me refer here. to & remark on aphorism 533 & another on 630" (Lavater) Additionally, Blake has underlined portions of the aphorism. While the underlining does not, in fact, cover words that, taken alone, make immediate semantic sense, Erdman has reprinted enough of the aphorism to give the reader an idea of what it says. Blake has actually underlined something like ''looking upward/ thinks himself/ sky; so Nature formed/ that each must see I centre of being." Erdman provides a ''filled-in'' version: ''As in looking upward each beholder thinks himself the centre of the sky; so Nature formed her individuals, that each must see himself the centre of being'' (584). (This is a particularly good example of the control that the so-called editorial line of interpretation has over the way in which the marginalia are presented for use by scholars and general readers.) The annotation leads in two different clirections, however. The original text's material layout clearly invites readerly movement from one numbered aphorism to the next With the annotation in place, the text is opened up to two additional directions for reading providing the reader with three choices. It is not, however, these three choices which are now important, but rather that the reader is confronted with the possibility (itself always latent in any text, though less accessible in some than in others) that there may be innumerable ways of moving through the text, and that the linear sequence seemingly authorized by the text itself is only one choice among many This is to admit that Lavater's text, as it now stands, even with Blake's annotations in place, still reveals only limited ways of moving through the text, and allows for only a limited number of interpretive options. However, the possibilities for textual instability that Blake's art

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    174 foregrounds generally, and which the marginalia highlight particularly, depend on readerly agency and the willingness of the reader to multiply textual possibilities, not to depend on the text-as-given as neces s arily complete (or on an editor to provide one, ''ideal'' version). The interand intra-referentiality that Blake develops in his annotations to Lavater s Apliorisms show how the text can be opened to new possibilities, but become, like Lavater's text itself, a fixed text of their own, just as the books of Urizen and the Book[s} of Urizen are materially fixed in their respective media. What can emerge, however, is awareness on the part of readers that a radically different kind of relationship between writer, reader, and text is possible-one in which texts can remain continually unstable, continually open to vision and revision. Blake s annotations to Lavater are worth investigating in this context then, not because they somehow transcend their own fixed position on the page, but rather because they work (in conjunction with Blake's art) to remind how important forces of materiality and textuality are in granting or denying legitimacy to particular reading strategies. Aphorism 3 calls to 533 and to 630. The annotation to 533 reads: man is the / ark of God / the mercy I seat is above / upon the ark / cherubims I guard it on/ either side/ & in the I midst is/ the holy/ law. man/ is either the/ ark of God/ or a phantom/ of the earth & I of the water/ if thou seek / -est by human policy to guide / this ark. remember Uzzah / II Sam 1 VI: Ch :. This annotation fills the left margin and as such the lines break almost every three words. This actually makes the semantic sense clearer in parts; quotation as Erdman provides it, for example, makes the annotation read like a series of run-on sentences; however, the line breaks themselves help, in some instances, to separate one expression from another.

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    175 For example, Erdman prints ' the mercy seat is above upon the ark'' (596) Running the prepositions '' above'' and ''upon' together ( one suggests distance while the other suggest s direct contact) can imply that Blake was unsure about which he wanted. However with the line breaks in place (line breaks forced by the space available in the margin ), the s ense is more clearly that man is the ark of God the mercy s eat is above (that is above the ark ), but that the mercy seat rests ' upon ' the ark itself Particularly important is the way in which thi s Aphorism and annotation, now an intra-textual featur e of the text by virtue of Blake 's linking Aphorism 3 to Aphori s m 533 is also now an intertextual moment calling to the Second Book of Samuel Blake s rewriting/re-wording/revisioning of Lavater thus takes both the literal for1n of new w o rd s on the page but al s o the textual fortn of new movements through the text Lavater' s text is even pressed into new service by Blake who, by calling from one aphorism to another forces each into a new contextual relationship. Blake's note directs the reader specifically to 2 Samuel 6 : ''Again David gathered together all the cho s en men of Israel thirty thousand. Blake 's annotation warn s again s t guiding the ark by ''human policy ." The immediately relevant passage in 2 Samuel 6 i s likely verses 6 to 8: And when they came to Nachon s thre s hing floor Uzzah put forth hi s hand to the ark of God and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uz z ah and God smote him there for his error ; and there he died by the ark of God (Kin g Jam es V e r s i o n) An addition a l marginal note this one in the right margin read s ' knaverie s/ are no I human I nature / knaveries / are / knaverie s / See N554 / this aphori s m/ seem s to me / to want / discriminati o n '' (Lavater ).

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    176 Following the intra-textual direction to Aphorism 554 in Lavater, we find that Blake has written (in ink, in the left margin), ''human /nature/ is the image/ of God. In addition, he has underlined part of Lavater' s text, ''and what nature will he honour who honours not the human?'' which occurs in the aphorism: ''The enemy of art is the enemy of nature; art is nothing but the highest sagacity and exertion of human nature; [Blake underlines the following] and what nature will he honour who honours not the human?'' (Lavater). Aphorism 533 reads: I have often, too often, been tempted, at the daily relation of new knaveries, to despise human nature in every individual, till, on minute anatomy of each trick, I found that the knave was only an enthusiast or momentary fool This discovery of momentary folly, symptoms of which assail the wisest and the best, has thrown a great consolatory light on my inquiries into man's moral nature; by this the theorist is enabled to assign to each class and each individual its own peculiar fit of vice or folly; and, by the same, he has it in his power to contrast the ludicrous or dismal catalogue with the more pleasing one of sentiment and virtue, more properly their own. (596) Taken together, Aphorism 3, the annotation to Aphorism 3, Aphorism 533, the annotation to 533 (which calls to 2 Samuel), Aphorism 554, and the annotation to 554 provide a fairly complex web of both interand intra-textuality. This particular group of Aphorisms and annotations represent, to put it generally, Blake's comment on Lavater's approach to human nature. Blake's note that ''man is the ark of God'' is somewhat illuminated (to pick up the word Blake himself used to describe his engraved and colour printed books) by the note to aphorism 554 (to which our attention is directed by the right-margin annotation to 533). It may well be that ''human nature is the image of God''

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    177 (note to Aphorism 554) is the metaphysical statement that Blake concretizes in ''man is the ark of God," man and ark being somewhat more tangible than human nature and image of God (note to Aphorism 533). If we integrate the reference to 2 Samuel and to Uzzah, it appears that Blake's response to Lavater's attempts to systematize human nature (and further to justify ''knaveries," for example, as part of certain human natures), is to warn that human nature is the image of God, and thus that to tamper with human nature is to tamper with the ark of God, as Uzzah does with fatal results in 2 Samuel 6. There remains yet further directions provided to the reader to add to this web Recall that the note to Aphorism 3 did not just call to Aphorism 533 but also to Aphorism 630 (or more particularly to ''remarks'' on these aphorisms). Blake's textual disruptions to the book have extensive ramifications for all parts of the book and how they can function-marginal comments can become central, aphorisms can be made to gloss each other, annotations can begin to annotate from a distance. The sense of what is foreground and what is background, what is central and what is peripheral is seriously complicated. Aphorism 630 reads, A GOD, an ANIMAL, a PLANT, are not companions of man; nor is the FAULTLESS-then judge with lenity of all; the coolest, wisest, best, all without exception, have their points, their moments of enthusiasm, fanaticism, absence of mind, faint heartedness, stupidity-if you allow not for these, your criticisms on man will be a mass of accusations or caricatures To which Blake has responded: It is the / God in all / that is our/ companion & friend, / for our God/ himself says, you are my brother my sister/ & my mother; & st John. Whoso dwelleth in love dwelleth in I God

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    178 & God in him. & such an one cannot judge of any / but in love. & his feelings will be attractions or repulses / See Aphorisms 549 & 554 Continuing down the left and then right margins, Blake writes: God is / in the low / est effects / as well as / in the high / est causes / for he is I become a / worm that / he may I nourish the weak. [and then in the right margin] For let it be/ remembered/ that creation I is. God des I cending accord/ ing to the weak-/ ness of man / for our Lord / is the word I of God & every/ thing on earth is/ the word of God & / in its presence is God. It is possible that the reader arrives at Aphorism 630 having been directed from Aphorism 3. This marks a substantial textual revision in that the reader is invited to move from one of the very first aphorisms ( on page 2) to one of the very last aphorisms (on page 219); there are only 643 Aphorisms in the entire volume. But of course 630 itself participates in the interand intra-textuality I have explored above. Blake refers again to the bible, though this time to the New Testament (somewhat less overtly than his earlier direct reference to 2 Samuel). The reference to St. John echoes numerous moments in the Gospel According to John and the First Letter of John. For example, Blake refers to ''our Lord'' as the ''word of God," echoing the opening lines of John's gospel, ''In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God'' (King James Version, John 1:1). Additionally, Blake's remark, ''Who so dwelleth in love dwelleth in God & God in him'' echoes 1 John 4: 15-17, Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God_, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world (King James Version)

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    179 Christ's command to his disciples to ''love one another'' (John 15:12) gets reiterated in The First Letter of John: ''let us love one another: for love is of God ... He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love'' (1 John 4:7-8). Blake's references to God as love, and to God's presence in ''all'' things (a word he's underlined in his own annotation) likely reflects his reaction to Lavater's insistence on dividing and classifying human (and animal and plant) nature, in part it seems so that the reader can more easily gauge how much love a knave, for example, or a plant should receive. In addition to the intertextual reference to the New Testament, the marginal note to Aphorism 630 also directs the reader to ''Aphorisms 549 & 554." Most striking from an intra-textual standpoint is the direction to Aphorism 554, which readers could also arrive at by following the direction from Aphorism 3 to Aphorism 533, and then from 533 to 554. Though it is interesting to note that in the annotation to 3, Blake directs the reader to ''a remark on aphorism 533 & another on 630," yet the note to 533 directs the reader to ''N 554," not necessarily to a remark to the aphorism per se. The direction from 630 to 554 is again to ''Aphorisms 549 & 554," not to remarks on those aphorisms. That Aphorism 554 is called to twice stresses the importance of the comment Blake has attached to it (as I had quoted above) : ''human nature is the image of God." This metaphysical point seems to undergird Blake's general reaction to Lavater' s attempts to divide and classify, whether among for1ns of life (human, plant or animal) or among what he calls ''each class'' of humankind (Aphorism 533). Aphorism 549-the end point of intra-textual links created by the annotations between Aphorism 3 and Aphorism 630-reads ''He, who hates the wisest and best of men, hates the Father of men; for, where

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    180 is the Father of men to be seen but in the most perfect of his children?'' (Lavater). Blake's annotation, in ink, is in the left margin: ''this is true worship." However the aphorism itself has been altered by Blake, and so its relation to the annotation is highly unstable. Blake has crossed out with double strokes, both instances of the word '' hates'' in Lavater' s first sentence, though the word remains readable, as if Blake wanted to retain access to the original. Directly above each crossing-out he's inked in ''loves the opposite of ''hates With the annotation/alteration, the aphorism reads ' He, who loves the wisest and best of men, loves the Father of men; for, where is the Father of men to be seen but in the most perfect of his children?'' (Lavater). Further, Blake has underlined ' the Father of men to be seen but in the most perfect of his children?'' It is thus impossible to say definitively whether the marginal note, 'this is true worship refers to the original aphorism, to the altered aphorism, to both, to the underlined portion of the aphorism, or indeed to each of these possibilities in varying degrees. What is certain, however is the degree to which this series of annotations (including those to Aphorisms 3 533, 630 554 and 549) develop a text with interand intra-textual dimensions, not unlike those that Donald Ault identifies, for example, in The Four Zoas. Annotation always to some degree, creates a new text, and also a new kind of text, one in which the gravitational pull on the reader is not only ''down '' the page but is as often felt from the left and/or right, the top and/or the bottom (not to mention the leaps invited by annotations which direct the reader to points many pages away). The kind of new text that Blake's annotations creates resonates deeply with the other texts he created as an arti s t and engraver Of particular importance is the way in which Blake s

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    181 illuminated work ( or indeed a work like Tlie Four Zoas) tends towards the interand intra-textual as a consequence of Blake's attempts to forge a radical kind of relationship between text and reader-that is, a relationship in which readerly acts could constitute, or re-constitute, certain kinds of textual moments or narrative ''facts.'' Ault writes of his reading of The Four Zoas, for example, as ''a process of interpretation that require[d] constant retroactive reconstitution of 'facts' or reader 'events'; whenever I have looked back over my interpretive journey, the landscape has significantly altered'' (Narrative Unbound xi). What The Four Zoas required of Ault is quite akin to what the annotated volume of Lavater requires of its reader. And so if Blake's work is taken generally to require (or to teach by requiring) a different kind of reading strategy than what is required by the highly organized and stable typographic page, the marginalia can be seen to participate as ''centrally'' in this reformative project. The annotated volumes reveal different possibilities for the space and time of reading. There is an extensive interand intra-textual web that develops among the annotations to Lavater. The marginal notes are not just glossing certain passages of the original text (whether directly or indirectly), but are in fact glossing each other; aphorisms are recontextualized as readers are invited to move differently through the text. This multiple referentiality, this disordering of the otherwise orderly book, functions in ways similar to the textual variability present throughout Blake's work, as part of an art that demands radically different kinds of reading strategies than traditional Newtonian narrative, and that values radically different kinds of texts, ones that do not necessarily suppress their own instability. But how, for example, would ''Single vision & Newtons

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    182 sleep'' (722) manage an annotated text, a text composed of multiple, perhaps interfering perspectives? Further, and perhaps more importantly, how would a reader with ''Single vision," or one sleeping ''Newtons sleep'' annotate a given text, if he or she would at all? Annotation forces an otherwise finished text into a state of potentially unstable openness; would the Newtonian reader be willing to learn from the indeterminacy and instabilities operating as part of the reading strategy Blake's wo1k seems to invite? This is not to ask how Newton per se would, or did, annotate books, but rather to ask what political dimensions inhere in annotation as an act which forces the potential instability and the textual constructed-ness of books to the surface, where otherwise they remain potentially submerged (yet operate no less forcefully on the process of reading). (Interestingly though, as Robert Hatch notes, some of Newton's books are ''annotated and dog-eared." John Harrison's The Library of Sir Isaac Newton does not record any of Newton's marginal commentary, though it details the locations of Newton's books and manuscripts (Hatch, 2000) ) Areas for Further Research In the final chapter, Chapter 6, I want to suggest some of the more far reaching issues at stake for reading the act of annotation as potentially disruptive, though in contexts beyond what I have considered to this point. However, before moving in that direction, it is important to suggest just some issues in the area of Blake's marginalia that seem promising for further research. The problems outlined below are specific and particular, in part because their larger implications have not been worked out, but also to

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    suggest the level of detailed analysis the marginalia will likely require if they are to be further integrated as important documents in the area of Blake studies. I offer the following to suggest just some of the possibilities for future scholarship. 183 It may in fact be appropriate to ''conclude'' this section of my study by reiterating that I have not tried to systematize a set of consistent rules to describe Blake's marginalia. I have suggested some tendencies and called on a few examples to show that critical issues of textuality are of considerable consequence in the marginalia, as they are throughout Blake's art. That a great deal of work remains to be done on the marginalia would in fact suggest that a definitive system to explain the marginalia (were I even able to formulate one) would more than likely have to undergo substantial revisions as scholarship proceeds. In addition, it would seem a disservice to Blake's poetic project itself, which worked so insistently against systematization, to impose a system of rules or conditions which, were the system to remain stable itself, would invariably have to ignore the particulars that do not fit. One area for future study concerns the basic issue of correctly identifying the authorship of the writing in the books said to be owned by Blake. While this is not necessarily crucial for issues of textuality forced by annotations on the page, handwriting analysis is important if we are to have a sense of the way in which Blake treated the books he owned (and borrowed). Identifying multiple annotators at work in a volume provides a very different picture of Blake (as one who actively circulated his books) than is the case if all annotations in a volume appear to be by Blake alone Consider again Lavater's invitation in the final aphorism of Aphorisms on Man in which the reader is

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    184 invited to annotate and circulate the volume. Did Blake do as the annotation requests? (Pointing to some of the contentious issues surrounding the identification of handwriting in the volumes said to be owned by Blake also functions to stress the need for a high quality edition of the marginalia in photographic facsimile as opposed to typographic forn1at. Issues of handwriting obviously will not arise if Blake studies continues to depend on typeset editions of the marginalia. This fact itself reminds how deeply conditioned the academic production of Blake is by editorial and economic imperatives.) One recent attribution of an annotation to Blake, though one which I would contest, is by Michael Phillips, who asserts that Blake owned and annotated a 1732 edition of Milton's Paradise Lost. G. E. Bentley, Jr., in his 1995 Blake Books Supplement, lists the edition of John Milton's Paradise Lost, edited by Richard Bentley, published in 1732, under ''Books Owned.'' G. E. Bentley, Jr. writes that the copy is ''in the possession of Michael Phillips," and that the volume has ''two annotations persuasively signed 'W B,' probably by the poet'' (322; my italics). David Bindman has written that ''I am completely certain that ... the annotations to Milton were not written by Blake'' (174; Bindman's italics). Unfortunately, he does not explain why he is so certain. The volume was on display as part of Tate Britain's William Blake exhibition, 2000-2001. And Phillips himself (who worked as co-curator for the exhibition) references the volume in his book, William Blake: The Creation of the Songs From Manuscript to flluminated Printing. However, the handwriting style of the annotation is rather unlike what can be found elsewhere in Blake's marginalia. Phillips links the

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    185 annotations in the Milton edition to Blake's compositional choices when writing ''London." Ultimately, Phillips' reading, which links the final lines in Paradise Lost with the opening lines in Blake's ''London," asserts that Blake imported particular words from his reading directly into his writing. The '' proof for the analysis as Phillips gives it seems implicitly to be that the annotations to the final lines in Paradise Lost are by Blake and thus he was likely to have them specifically in mind as he began to draft ''London." This seems to suggest an unnecessarily reductive picture of Blake's reading and writing Incorrectly attributing the annotation thus has ramifications for Blake scholarship on a significant scale. Phillips' argument gives us a skewed sense of how ''London'' developed as a poem and perhaps even how directly and literally Blake's reading influenced his writing generally. A more general concern that may emerge as study of the marginalia continues is whether documents signed by '' William Blake'' are indeed by the poet, painter, and engraver, William Blake. The annotation in the Milton volume for example is merely signed ''WB." Bentley writes in ''A Collection of Prosaic William Blakes' that ''during the poet's lifetime, from 1757 to 1827, London seems to have been teeming with men named William Blake'' (172). Figure 5-1 shows a letter written by ''William Blake," though not the William Blake. The script itself is unlike the poet Blake's, though the autograph is enough like Blake's that, taken alone it might be confused for the poet 's. There is of course the danger that if such autographic issues begin to dominate approaches to Blake's annotations, there will inevitably be attempts to create a system to identify Blake 's handwriting. However, handwriting analyses and attempts to identify

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    186 authorship based on such analyses are inexact endeavours at best. Blake worked in a di verse array of contexts, each perhaps eliciting a different hand. He worked sometimes on his own designs, sometimes as an engraver for hire, sometimes on manuscript drafts (as in his notebook), sometimes composing directly on the copper plate. The range of styles available to Blake would have been considerable. There is also discrepancy among the major Blake editors as to which annotations are by Blake and which may be by other writers. No editor suggests who those other writers might be, though again, further research might reveal the identity of the people Blake chose to share his annotations with. Some of the annotations in Lavater's Aphorisms, for example, are thought to be by annotators other than Blake. Erdman, in the textual notes to his Complete Poetry arid Prose of William Blake contends that ''afterthoughts were written in pencil: those on Nos. 287 and 384 probably by Blake'' (883). The note to 287 reads, ''unsophisticated," and does not look at all like the pencilled ''Admirable!'' to 21, likely confir1ning that ''Admirable!'' was not written by Blake. The note on 384, which Erdman contends is by Blake is not in pencil, and so it is unclear what Erdman is referring to (he may have been working from photocopies himself which did not reveal differences in ink colour). Erdman further asserts that the notes to 20 and 503 were written ''by two different writers, probably friends to whom Blake showed his marked copy'' (883). Erdman does include in his transcript the note ''See 384," although there is no indication that the note is in a different ink colour. The note to 384, in the same ink colour, which refers back to 20 and 21, is also included in Erdman' s transcription, though again no mention is made of its being in ochre ink.

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    187 Robert Essick, in his The Works of William Blake in the Hu11tington Collections writes that ''there are notes written in brown ink in an unidentified hand next to aphorisms 21, 280, and 384'' (182). (Erdman identified notes to 21 and 384 as by Blake ) The annotation to 503, which Erdman contends is by a different writer, is suggested by Essick to look ''like Blake's later handwriting'' (182). Essick also comments that ''Blake annotated the book on more than one occasion'' (182). G. E. Bentley, Jr. concurs in his Blake Books, that ''Blake went through the book making comments several times'' (690). However, Bentley asserts that the pencil annotations to 20 (''Admirable!'') and to 503 (''no fumbler kisses'') ''are by Blake'' (690). However, the notes that Bentley describes as ''written in a yellowed ink [i.e. those to 21 and 384]'' are listed with his ''Notes by Others'' (691), indicating that Bentley does not believe them to have been written by Blake Finally, Geoffrey Keynes, in hls 1966 Complete Writings of William Blake, asserts that the ''Admirable'' to 20 (Keynes omits the exclamation point) is ''probably written by another hand'' (66). The notes to 21 and 384 in light brown/ochre are not included in Keynes' transcription, although the ''Admirable'' is (accompanied by Keynes' own note to the note: ''[probably written by anotlier liand]'' (66; brackets and italics are Keynes') The pencil note to 503 is not included in Keynes' transcription. No mention is made by Keynes of the annotations that are in the Lavater volume but not included in his transcription It would seem crucial to consider the alternatives that arise when we attribute certain of the annotations to Blake or to those with whom he may have shared the Lavater volume. The issue is not necessarily one of judging value-that is, determining what is

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    188 valuable in the book based on whether or not Blake himself wrote it; but rather, what is at stake i s the kind of interand intratextualizing going on when annotations are added ff all the annotations in Lavater which participate in intra textuality-i e. those which call to other numbers in the book-are not by Blake, then it is possible that whoever annotated in the light brown/ochre ink actually had a chance to read Blake s first annotations (which are vigorously interand intra-textual) and as such took up the same kind of approach, annotating by directing readers out of the otheiwise linear sequence of the book. Lavater s forthright invitation in the final aphorism for his readers to actively annotate as they read and then to share the annotated volume with other readers (and annotators) must have struck Blake, reading in 1788 as particularly infor111ative of the kind of relationship that could exi s t among author, reader, and book, for it was a relationship that encouraged involvement with the text not one that depended on authorial control and didacticism or textual stability and finality In addition to the problems outlined above there are some instances where writing in books said to be owned by Blake is not included in any of the major Blake edition s (or there is discrepancy among them about what is Blake's writing and what is not ) For example, although it is not included in Keynes' or Erdman s transcriptions of the annotations, on the inside cover of Blake s copy of Bishop Berkeley s Siris is written ''absolute space 189 ' (Figure 5-2) The volume is located in the Wren Library Trinity College, Cambridge. I assume that Keynes and Erdman do not believe the note to be in Blake s hand. The script does seem to be Blake s, however, and the subject of 'ab s olute space' would certainly have interested him. Berkeley writes that ''The doctrine of real

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    189 absolute, external space induced some modem philosophers to conclude it was a part or attribute of God, or that God himself was space (126). And further, ''Concerning absolute space, that phantom of the mechanic and geometrical philosophers ... it may suffice to observe that it is neither perceived by any sense, nor proved by any reason, and was accordingly treated by the greatest of the ancients as a thing merely visionary'' (127). In Visionary Physics, Ault considers ''whether Blake knew these scientific doctrines in detail [i.e. those of Newton]'' and ultimately speculates that ''Blake did have some firsthand info1mation about Newton's ideas'' (45). Berkeley covers ''Sir Isaac Newton's hypothesis of a subtle aether," as his table of contents describes it. There is no doubt that Blake did annotate Berkeley's text; however, correctly including the annotation ''absolute space 189'' would certainly add to our sense of just what kinds of specifics Blake might have been attending to in his reading. An exploration of ''space'' or ''absolute space," as it is described in Berkeley, in relation to how ''space'' operates throughout Blake's work would require its own book-length treatment. (I allude to absolute space briefly in Chapter 1.) The above are just a few of the very particular kinds of issues that deserve further research attention. It is impossible to predict the degree to which research in these particular areas might scale out and resonate with (or spark entirely new) more far reaching theoretical concerns.

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    ,,_ ;, ,,,,., ( ,. , Figure 5-1 A letter by ''Wm Blake'' (collection of Robert Essick) 190

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    2< I c ,,, r I Figure 5-2 inside cover of Blake 's copy of Berkeley's Siris; and ''absolute s pace'' detail 191

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    CHAPTER6 AN END, AN APPROXIMATION There is nothing more tentative, nothing more empirical ( superficially, at least) than the process of establishing an order among things; nothing that demands a sharper eye or a surer, better articulated language. Foucault, The Order of Things (xix) Introduction Donald Ault identifies in the Newtonian narrative the drive toward closure, finality, and order. I have tried to show how the Newtonian text attempts to control its meaning by insistently coercing the reader to give over interpretive possibility to the text, and implicitly to the author. Inasmuch as the space of the Newtonian text tries to represent an absolute space of sorts, in which language reveals discovery, but does not mediate it, and in which local contexts of time and space do not affect the production of meaning, it strives for utter transparency. And as Foucault suggests, there is little that is more necessary to establishing an order of things than a highly articulated language. Surely the success with which one could argue an order into existence is directly proportional to the degree to which one can bring an articulated language to bear; that is, to assert that one has used the best expressions for everything (every ''thing'') being expressed. It is at this intersect between (asserted) order and (asserted) transparent language that I have come to situate my study of Blake's work. Specifically, in the pages of Blake's marginalia I have identified sites wherein the role of textuality in reading (and 192

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    thus writing and thus making meaning) can be most aggressively (re)asserted, and, by extension, the kind of desire-to-order inherent in the Newtonian text critiqued. 193 In this final chapter, however, I want to consider a way in which the same kind of critique can be mounted, but in a context that does not participate in the same disruptive textuality that Blake's work often does. Also, I want to extend my reading of Blake to suggest how persistent anti-system critiques have remained. I am reading ''through'' Blake, in the sense that I remain attentive to the issues Blake's art forces, even as I read in different contexts. This model of reading shares a great deal in common with the form of marginalia itself, for all ''central'' texts (''central'' being the one I am reading at any given time) will always be implicitly ''glossed'' by other texts I have read. The metaphor of reading ''through'' is too linear, however The loop is really more iterative, whereby one reading glosses a next reading, which itself retroactively glosses (or re-glosses) the previous reading. In this model, reading is always a process of constituting meanings as one is also re-constituting meanings (in light of new reading), and is thus itself an open process, not one that is closed or that seeks mastery in the form of closure. What I provide here is of course not an exhaustive tracking of trends in Blake's work as they have persisted into the present. Rather, I offer a limited approximation, the suggestion that Blake's work embodied what would become a significant concern for contemporary thinkers, in part to acknowledge that Blake was confronting the same kinds of crises of representation, ontology, and epistemology that persist today, and also to give a sense that while Blake s work itself might present radical difficulties for readers, the critique he mounted against systems and social tyranny is not without its counterparts.

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    194 In particular, I look to Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space for how it incorporates a kind of disorder as part of its anti-systemic argument, and for the way in which that disorder is deployed as a political force. Lefebvre's 1974 work (translated into English in 1991) reasserts ''space" as both a social product and a social producer, despite the "strictly 'geometrical' meaning" space seemed, for Lefebvre, to have taken on throughout the development of Western philosophy (1). Lefebvre's form as much as his content speaks to the energizing effects a certain disorder can bring to keep intellectual work from dogmatic closure and to destabilize systemic projects (like structuralism, central planning, capitalist production, or literary theory itself) which often require order, in the form of flattening difference, to function. Lefebvre develops a text which keeps itself resolutely open, mobile and disorderly. There are a number of specific aspects of Lefebvre' s The Production of Space that lend themselves to consideration alongside the work of William Blake. Lefebvre insists on a level of analysis which is always conscious of itself; that is, it engages in what he calls ''self-criticism'' (65) (or what Edward Soja describes as Lefebvre's ''nomadic meta Marxism," for example (57)). Also, Lefebvre imagines a ''unitary theory'' as one which ''in no way rules out conflicts within knowledge itself." These aspects of Lefebvre's work resonate with many of the issues that I have pursued in terms of Blake's work in the previous chapters, including the sense that we are persistently confronted with the ''bookishness'' of the very book in our hands, for example, and thus are made aware of ourselves reading as we read. Consider also Blake's use of contraries as a mode of producing knowledge and meaning that does not necessarily synthesize contradictions or

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    halt because of them. These elements coalesce in that most important of parallels between the two authors: their insistent anti-systematicity. 195 It is possible to overstate the parallel however. Edward Soja, writing in Thirdspace, comments on the structure of Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space: "the fugue for1ned some protection for Lefebvre against the canonization of his ideas into rigidly authoritative protocols" (9). Importantly, even while trying to identify how Lefebvre 's work attempts to protect itself from systematization, Soja must admit that only some protection is available. And the metaphor of the fugue is an ambivalent one. It does highlight the incommensurability of that which is repeated but also different from its previous iterations. Yet the fugue, though Soja invokes it as a mode which resists closure, is in fact a highly organized musical fortn, one made particularly famous by composers (like Bach, for example) who worked within a system of rigid musical rules. It may thus seem a particular stretch to suggest, by way of a concluding chapter, that there is a political dimension shared by both Lefebvre's Produ c tion of Space and work by Blake. Granted, both authors struggle against the systematization of their own work, while at the same time mounting a critique of systematicity in that work itself Yet there is again the crucial difference to note Blake's work invokes textual and material instabilities as part of its critique. Lefebvre's The Production of Space however, is a much more ''traditional'' text, at least as far as its textual and material presentation are concerned. Lefebvre's book participates in all the kinds of orderly bookishness I have explored in previous chapters : it is bound in a front and back cover and typeset (in 12 point Sabon); it is divided into titled chapters; pages are numbered consecutively; it has

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    196 an index and contents page; and it has an ''Afterword'' by David Harvey which functions in part to situate The Production of Space in relation to Lefebvre's life and other work-the ''Afterword'' ends with a chronological list (of all hyper-orderly mechanisms) of books by Lefebvre. Further, it circulates as a mass produced text with likely little, if any, variation among the many that have been produced. Soja's metaphor of the fugue is thus revealing, since it at once tries to identify and represent the anti-system impulse in Lefebvre' s work, but at the same time cannot help but reveal the degree to which that work still participates in various kinds of orderly systems (not least being its conventional book fonn). What Blake's marginalia can show is the degree to which texts are open to revision and recontextualization by other writers, and the degree to which the act of annotation can participate in resistance to finality and closure. Soja's Thirdspace, which tries to explicate much of what goes on in Lefebvre's The Production of Space, and which I return to frequently, operates as a kind of marginal gloss on Lefebvre, though it does not occupy the literal margins of Lefebvre' s book. It does, however provoke a certain kind of reading of Lefebvre's work, one which tries to highlight the resistance in Lefebvre's text to ideas being read as though they were in final form. So while I want to suggest some intersections between the anti-system critiques mounted by Blake and by Lefebvre, I do so with the caveat that Blake's critique operates in a much more textually intense way, for it emerges not just from the ''content'' of Blake's work, but from the very materiality of that work itself. Reading instabilities in Lefebvre is to suggest the way in which, in a postmodern context, an anti-system

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    197 argument can be mounted despite Lefebvre not having access to the same possibilities for radical textual disruption that Blake did (because Lefebvre was not the same kind of artist as Blake was). Disorder In order to suggest the ways in which Lefebvre 's work and Blake's work can speak to each other, and again to broaden the scope of my intervention to suggest more varied cultural possibilities, I introduce ideas of disorder, energy, and entropy as they derive specifically from the fields of information and thermodynamic theory ( or ''chaos theory'' in general terms). At stake is roughly this: disorder, in its common usages, generally carries a negative valence (N. Katherine Hayles writes that in the predominating binary logic of the West, ''if order is good, chaos is bad''(Chaos arid Order 3).) But as a technical ter1n from infor1nation theory, disorder denotes a condition of possibility, and from ther1nodynamic theory, a condition of potential energy. How do these senses of disorder (and its correlate, entropy) play out as ways of negotiating work by Blake and by Lefebvre, in particular the politically charged anti-system aspect of their work? There are a number of diverse ideas and texts in motion here: some by Blake ; Lefebvre's Prodi,ction o.f Space; Soja's Thirdspac e; and the instrumental metaphors of disorder, entropy, and energy. The purpose is in large part to engage in an analysis that forces a variety of texts/ideas to gloss one another, to move fluidly from the margin to the centre to the margin and back again. To put it in more conventional terms, the whole is to be more than just the sum of the parts

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    198 As has been the case in the chapters up to this point, my focus will remain more on formal issues and less on content analysis or explication. The distinction between fonn and content is not a perfect one of course, and perhaps confuses more than it clarifies But my approach admittedly avoids certain kinds of critical gestures. By ''for1nal '' analysi s, I mean to focus on something like the 'fugal'' structure as Edward Soja calls it in Lefebvre s work, whereby particular ideas are circulated and re-circulated in the fugal mode of theme and variation (this represents an aspect of what I am calling disorder in Lefebvre's work and is a product of his insistence that his own work not become systematized or dogmatic ; though again the fugue metaphor that Soja deploys is an ambivalent one for the fugue, while it does allow for repetition and development is itself a highly organized compositional structure ) My attention though is on flows and movements and formal arrangements within Lefebvre's work. I will not attempt to assimilate Lefebvre's ''ideas' with the substantial t1 adition(s) within which he is working (including but not limited to Marxi s m s tructuralism, poststructuralism, philosophy linguistics, history) Soja s reading of Lefebvre draws out and distills many of the key arguments in Lefebvre s work. Though by reading Soja, who is writing on Lefebvre s work, in the explicit te11ns of Soja '' glo ss ing'' Lefebvre I hope to highlight the way in which glossing, even when it does not take the Ii teral form of commentary in the margins can work against stability and closure. Soja's Thirdspace is thus admittedly an argumentative convenience for me but more importantly it functions as an example of ''annotating'' a work beyond making literal additions to a ' host'' text.

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    199 To develop the idea of disorder as a technical term, I look to work by writers like Claude Shannon and A. B. <;ambel, and primarily to N. Katherine Hayles. Hayles' Chaos Bound not only illuminates important te1ms like disorder and entropy (as both scientifically and culturally informative), but also shows how interdisciplinary studies of ''science'' and ''literature," so -called can yield profoundly insightful results by virtue of exposing such categories as mere rubrics under which knowledge tends to be organized in very similar ways, and which are inf or1ned by similar instrumental metaphors (''disorder'' for example) which make it possible to link otherwise seemingly disparate things: like the work of Lefebvre and Blake. N. Katherine Hayles describes this linking: Suppose an island breaks through the surface of the water, then another and another, until the sea is dotted with islands. Each has its own ecology, terrain, and morphology. One can recognize these distinctions and at the same time wonder whether they are all part of an emerging mountain range, connected both through substrata they share and through larger forces that brought them into being. (Cliaos Bound 3) Infor1r1ational and thermodynamic theories of entropy provide ways whereby the disordered spaces in communication and in dynamic models can be read for a certain positive energy. Disorder does not describe a state of randomness, but rather a condition in which energy remains to alter the model or system, often into a more complex state. Hayles remarks that ''An important turning point in the science of chaos occurred when complex systems were conceptualized as systems rich in inf or1nation rather than poor in order'' ( CJiaos and Order 6). The general parallel then between cultural studies, for

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    200 example, and chaos theory, can be drawn in ter1r1s of the order and uniformity of state apparatuses or capitalist production models (as subjects for cultural analysis) and their tendency towards maximum entropy (a condition of no potential energy for change, usually coded in ter1ns of maximum ''efficiency''), and the contrasting energy required for critique which must come from disordering otherwise ordered sites. If there is positive energy in chaotic systems, disorderly but potentially productive, then the disorder of critical deconstruction need not be seen as the afte11nath of destruction, but rather as a state of potential energy (perhaps even a necessary state) from which new critique (or spaces of analysis) might arise. Further, and more specifically, reading the annotated page ''through'' (or itself glossed by) the instrumental metaphor of disorder as a positive condition, helps to show how the instability, or even the ''disorganization'' that results from annotation can function positively. Valuing disorder positively rather than negatively allows us to see the annotated page, a site of conceptual and textual instability, in terms of the positive energy it embodies. Entropy: Some Definitions There are two forces in the world, entropy and energy. One leads into blessed quietude, to happy equilibrium, the other to the destruction of equilibrium ... We, Evgenii Zamyatin (153-154) Zamyatin's 1924 dystopic vision We imagines a world in which the state, specifically the ''United State," has crushed all c1itical voices that could ever rise against it by imposing its rationality: the rightness of rule under the ''Well-Doer." The main character, identified by his number, D-503, finds himself tom between the iron, yet

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    201 satisfying rationality he's known all his life, the rationality of ''equations in everything," and his love for a woman he meets whose facial features form ''a strange irritating X'' (5,8). It is through her that D-503 begins to sense something more to life than slavish adherence to the United State. It is the unsolvable X, the unknown, which suggests to D503 something beyond the equations (the explanations, the predictable link between cause and effect) upon which he so depends. Zamyatin elsewhere formulates this crisis in more general ter111s: ''The habitual, the banal is of course simpler, pleasanter, more comfortable," whereas ''A new for111 is not intelligible to all; for many it is difficult'' (''On Literature, Revolution and Entropy," quoted in Russian Themes, 292). Zamyatin's forrnulation of entropy and energy as cultural concepts is extremely useful, for it situates them at the crux of a broad politics of power and the possibility (or impossibility) for meaningful human agency. The concept of entropy itself is slippery, having numerous definitions and thus applications. As Hayles points out, [entropy] has undergone so many changes in meaning that it actually encompasses several concepts" (Chaos Bound 38). This is partly why it is so useful a concept to relate otherwise localized contexts; even in the sciences, it speaks across a number of disciplinary lines. Louis de Broglie, a physicist who received the Nobel prize for showing how particles can behave like waves, said, "Nothing is more misleading than a clear and distinct idea" (quoted in <;ambel 128). The clear and distinct idea represents a fixed condition, an immobility, within a body of knowledge whereby the potential for self-reflexivity, change, growth, or reconsideration is suppressed. Michel Foucault envisioned "the moment of new mobility and new displacement," in response to

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    202 an assertion by Bernard-Henri Levy that at certain points within the critical process would come ''the time to stop, the moment of reflection and regaining equilibrium'' (120). What seems to characterize many critical projects (in both broad and specific te1 ms) is what Peter Hitchcock has called "restless inquiry" in Oscillate Wildly (3). Notably, de Broglie, Hitchcock, and Foucault, thinkers from diverse fields, are expressing a conceptually similar theme in their concern for mobility versus immobility. As A. B. <;ambel points out in Applied Cliaos Theory, there are many "entropies;" definitions include "the ability to reach equilibrium," "a measure of chaos," or "an indication of transmitting infortnation" (130-131). N. Katherine Hayles calls entropy a "statistical measure of disorder," yet "so rich in significance is the statistical view of entropy that its full implications are still being explored" (Chaos Bound 42). Webster's New Compact Dictionary gives us something slightly different: "entropy: ... measure of the unavailable energy of a system: an ultimate state of inert unifor1nity" (135). Entropy in thermodynamic systems measures, in one sense, the disorder of bodies in a system. Molecules (bodies) in a cup of tea are considered disordered if you have just poured milk in. There are pockets of ''hot'' and ''cold'' molecules; that is, molecules with more or less energy. But the cup will tend towards unifonnity (a process aided by your stirring) in which energy passes from areas of hot to areas of cold; entropy increases. Finally, the cup of tea reaches, more or less, a state of unifonn heat distribution, at which point entropy is high, since the clisorderly molecules have become ordered. In ten11s of disorder and entropy, the measure is inverse.

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    203 Heat death, a concept deeply tied to entropy, is when the universe ( or a working model) has run out of energy, in that its particles (molecules, for example) have reached a state of completely uniform distribution. There are no differences which can generate energy (or generate energy transf e r since, technically, energy is never created). True or total "heat death" does not really happen in the tea cup because it is not a perfectly closed system. The tea is in contact with the cup which is in contact with your hand the air etc. But for the purposes of the model, heat death is that point at which the system has reached ther1nodynamic uniformity, and there is no energy available unless it comes from "outside" the system (you add more hot water or cold milk or you spill the whole cup in your lap, in which case there is a sudden burst of energy). The broad parallel I want to install is between the metaphor of heat death, which describes the condition of no energy and the completely stabilized page (both the page as textual site and ' the page '' as representative of the conceptual ideas printed thereon) as one in which no energy remain s for change or difference. Disorder in infor1nation theory is slightly different since it is a measure, not of bodies, but of immaterial potential. In information theory, entropy measures the number of possibl e fonn s a message can take In his "Mathematical Theory of Communication Claude Shannon p1 oposed this formula: E=/{S,N). That is, signal (E) is a function of the transmitted signal (S) and noise (N ) Shannon writes "noise is considered to be a chance variable" which can be treated by a s uitable stochastic process (34). Noise, for Shannon represents breakdown or malfunction in the communication system since (E) will no longer correspond exactly to (S ): ' the received signal is not necessarily the same as that

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    204 sent out by the transmitter'' (34). That noise is treated negatively by Shannon (i.e. a problem to be overcome) is perhaps not surprising, given that he was working out of Bell Telephone Laboratories at the time, trying to find a way to theorize communication and mathematics together such that what seemed the uncontrollable interference of noise in communication systems could be calculated and thereby predicted and controlled. In Shannon's for1nulation, the orderly signal is that which is received exactly as it is transmitted. Importantly, the media of transmission disappears entirely, and the myth of textual transparency is once again invoked. Perfect communication, however, is an ideal (for Shannon at least); but transmitting media do affect transmissions, a condition that Blake confronts through the persistent textual instability of his work. There is no access to meaning in Blake's work that is not mediated by textuality. Without the textual instabilities that Blake was able to integrate into his work ( or that emerge from his work whether he consciously integrated them or not), Lefebvre's The Production of Space is itself prone to allowing readers the false sense of arriving at meaning without negotiating the textual or material aspects that make the book possible. That is, even the disorderly (''fugal'') presentation of often semi-contradictory ideas, occurs in Lefebvre on the conceptual level, not the textual level. My reading of Soja and Lefebvre, as the former annotating the latter, in conjunction with the literal practice of annotating by Blake (though in an entirely different context), is in part to salvage Lefebvre's anti-system critique from the otherwise overly stable textual system of his own book. Soja s Thirdspace, as gloss on Lefebvre's The Production of Space, works in part to destabilize Lefebvre's text (even as it celebrates it) by highlighting certain sections while ignoring

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    205 others, by extracting otherwise disparate moments and presenting them in closer proximity through quotation, and by suggesting moments in The Production of Space that resonate with moments in other of Lefebvre' s works. The fugal structure internal to Lefebvre's work might have provided ''some'' protection against the systematization of the text itself, but Soja's own Thirdspace in fact provides much more, by operating on Lefebvre's text from the outside It cannot disrupt Lefebvre's work on the textual level (although I'm sure Soja's copy of The Production of Space is full of marginal annotations), but it certainly works to disrupt The Production of Space on the conceptual level. It is important to see this disruption, this non-textual disordering of Lefebvre's work, as a positive force-a condition, as suggested by info1 mation and thermodynamic theory, in which disorder connotes energy and potential. Disorder, the result of noise, creates potential and possibility in terms of what signal might be received Entropy is highest when E corresponds exactly to S. However, entropy decreases as (N) increases in the formulation E=fiS,N). It is important to note, then, that entropy in communication systems is an inverse measure of potential or possibility. For Shannon this posed a problem, since the message somebody sent suffered the possibility of change along the way. Low entropy suggests a high number of potential messages that might be received based on the originally transmitted signal. As Shannon notes, ''If the channel is noisy it is not in general possible to reconstruct the original message ... with certainty by any operation on the received signal'' (35). And he continues, ''There are, however, ways of transmitting the inf or1nation which are optimal in combat[t]ing noise'' (35).

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    206 At its most basic, reading the space of Blake's page through the concept of entropy depends upon the fundamental assumption which underlies Shannon's formula: noise (that is, the ''channel," the media of transmission) can function to change a transmitted signal Yet it is important to note that where Shannon reads noise as a stochastic phenomenon, the noise of artistic disorder, as I am reading it here, is not random. That is it is not meaningless. Rather, it is better defined as chaotic, in the true sense that chaotic systems are not entirely predictable (and thus are often confused with random systems) but that causes initiated in a chaotic system do have effects predictable within a certain range The relationship between cause and effect need not be linear, since small causes can have big effects. Thus the potential for creating new spaces (or art or ana l yses), by retaining a certain degree of disorder or openness, is made that much more significant by the possibility that those spaces will be truly revolutionary in creating change beyond the local contexts in which they occur. The fixed and finished page might represent the situation where disorder is low, entropy is high, but as such, the possibility for difference (for something new) is also low, perhaps even nonexistent Certainly Blake himself would not have put it in these te11ns, but in many ways the instabilities that often make reading his work so difficult function to keep a level of disorder operating on the page and thus retain the conditions under which new possibilities can develop. The page as a space of potential (a space open to differences, to multiple readings to re-readings) functioned as a crucial part of Blake 's opposition to the forces of abstraction and presumed universality which make tyranny possible. Where the possibility for dialogue or multivocality is repressed is where the

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    207 marginal will be made powerless. As Blake's marginalia show, however, the margins are not ineffectual. They are a space of radical potential. Blake's introduction of marginalia functions to open up play within the page. The message which had been previously "complete," is opened to new possibilities. The ideas of one author, which had been linked in one way, are often unlinked and then re-linked in different ways by Blake's hand. And the materiality of the ''channels'' of communication is shown, sometimes dramatically, to affect how meaning is produced (even to constitute meaning in and of itself). A book like The Book of Urizen is perpetually open because of its textual, and in some cases material, instabilities. Despite Urizen' s insistent attempts to control his own books (in The Book of Urizen and elsewhere), the book's own indeterminacy functions to under1nine pretensions to stability and control. Blake's marginalia force new possibilities in the texts he's annotating, and reveal the for1nal, textual, and material devices of control at work in the type-set book; the marginalia participate as deeply in Blake's anti-systemic project as do any of his more ''central'' works Postmodern The kinds of explicit and implicit political critiques in Blake's work, initiated as part of his anti-Newtonianism, persist in many postmodern theoretical works. Though it persists not necessarily as part of a critique of Newtonianism per se, but rather as part of a more general critique of systematicity and its relation to such issues as globalization, cultural hegemony, social tyranny, and postindustrialization.

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    Soja writes that Lefebvre's The Production of Space operates unlike a conventional academic text with arguments developed in a neat linear sequence from beginning to middle to end ... perhaps Lefebvre was presenting The Production of Space as a musical composition ... a polyphonic fugue that assertively introduced its keynote themes eru.ly on and then changed them intentionally in contrapuntal variations that took radically different forms and hartnonies. (Soja 8-9) 208 In his Preface to Lefebvre's Critique of Everyday Life, Michel Trebitsch describes Lefebvre's style: ''between flexibility and vagueness, where thinking is like strolling, where thinking is rhapsodic [his italics], as opposed to more permanent constructions, with their monolithic, reinforced, reassuring arguments, painstakingly built upon structures and models'' (ix). And Lefebvre himself, in the Foreword to the second edition of Critique of Everyday Life notes his opposition to the idea that ''Marxism is a completed system and that philosophy's role and function are at an end.'' ''Such arguments," writes Lefebvre, ''must be deemed dogmatic and false." (4-5).) Lefebvre himself is quite clear to avoid a "THE END," even given the practical constraints of book form. He complicates his conclusions by titling his last chapter "Openings and Conclusions." Lefebvre opens his final conclusion: ''we are concerned with not}iing that even remotely resembles a system'' (423, my italics). And so Lefebvre, in his study of spaces, is careful to leave the project open beyond the end of the material book, such that new spaces of study might develop. The disorder of the fugal form (that is, its resistance to ideas presented in argumentative forms which depend on empirical proof and freedom from internal contradiction) provides the energy by which Lefebvre's work opposes the tendency towards closure, and entropic heat death, that always seems a

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    209 dangerous possibility. Soja comments on Lefebvre's text: ''Lefebvre modifies his descriptions as he moves along, and in subsequent chapters seems either to ignore his earlier formulations or to push them to their limits, ever ready to move on to something else'' (65-66). "What can we learn beyond this?" is the question latent in each of Lefebvre's approximations, energized by the disorder in The Production of Space. Lefebvre himself employs the idea of entropy as a cultural metaphor: The state is consolidating on a world scale It weighs down on society (on all societies) in full force; it plans and organizes society 'rationally', with the help of knowledge and technology, imposing analogous, if not homologous, measures irrespective of political ideology, historical background, or the class origins of those in power. The state crushes time by reducing differences to repetitions or circularities (dubbed 'equilibrium', 'feedback', 'self regulation', and so on) ... This modem state promotes and imposes itself as a stable centre-definitively-of (national) societies and spaces. As both the end and the meaning of history-just as Hegel had forecast-it flattens the social and 'cultural' spheres It enforces a logic that puts an end to conflicts and contradictions. It neutralizes whatever resists it by castration or crushing. Is this social entropy? Whatever the answer, the results lie before us. (23) Interestingly, Lefebvre edges toward the universalizing he so dislikes in his treatment of the State, not a State, as though they were all homologous. Lefebvre might avoid particularities in this case, in order to maintain theoretical breadth. However, other writers favour the parochial. For example, Meaghan Morris, in Too Soon, Too Late, writes, "I have been less interested in the morphology of ... places ('the' motel, 'the' mall) ... than in those individuating intensities ('this' motel, 'this' mall)'' (124). However, the broad generalizing Lefebvre practices here-itself a kind of systematic flattening-is countered in his text by the fugal structure Edward Soja notes. The return of certain

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    210 refrains with slight variation helps to keep an openness, or a "qualified-ness," to many of Lefebvre's otherwise closed assertions. Thus, he is quite difficult to "quote," since each of the text's parts is conditioned and qualified by other parts. Turning to Soja writing about (or glossing) Lefebvre provides the opportunity to consider how Lefebvre's work can be kept open, despite the material ending of The Production of Space itself, and thus how a system-resistant project can work (again, a project that is conceptually akin to Blake's but that does not take the textually disruptive form that Blake's does). Notably, both Blake and Lefebvre can appear deceptively easy to quote, in that each provides (almost playfully it seems) statements which appear comprehensive and irreducible; however, consider the example of Blake writing what seems the definitively quotable platitude: ''To generalize is to be an idiot'' (641; quoted, ironically, from the annotations to Reynolds' Discourses). This is itself, of course, a generalization. Variation (sometimes even contradiction) in the face of what seem irreducible statements pervades The Production of Space. For example, at one point Lefebvre associates capitalism with chaos, while he elsewhere aligns capitalism with the State-a powerlully unchaotic force-especially as capitalism and national, or State, identity, are so intertwined. He writes, "might not the spatial chaos engendered by capitalism ... turn out to be the system's Achilles' heel?" (63). One statement regarding State stability is qualified (perhaps "glossed") by a later statement on capitalist instability, and each of these problematized as Lefebvre links capitalism and the State. Lefebvre works profoundly against the logic that puts an end to conflicts and contradictions. In fact, he introduces contradictions and slippages. As Soja notes, ''The

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    Production of Space is a bewildering book, filled with unruly textual practices, bold assertions that seem to get tossed aside as the arguments develop, and perplexing inconsistencies and apparent self-contradictions'' (8). Soja calls Lefebvre's logic a "both/and also" logic which works against the binary logic of either/or choices and the closures they imply (3). Lefebvre's "radically open perspective" (as Soja calls it) produces disorder from unresolved conflicts and contradictions (5). 211 Tripartite structures, for example are key to the proliferating perspectives Lefebvre opens up Soja describes Lefebvre's penchant for thinking in threes as ''trialectical thinking," and writes that it is ''disorderly, unruly, constantly evolving, unfixed, never presentable in perrnanent constructions'' (Soja 70) On page 33 of The Production of Spac e, Lefebvre introduces spatial practice, representations of space and representational spaces as three parts in a "conceptual triad [a trialectic] .. to which we will be returning over and over again" (33). The triad returns on page 38, though it is complicated by a second triad: perceived, conceived and lived spaces. Spatial practice is that space of the perceived, representations of space are those of the conceived, and representational spaces are those of the lived Each part of each triad is distinct from, yet involved with, each other part. The Production of Space is, in many ways, a continuous reworking of the se triads whereby definitions change with new contexts. In this wa y, Lefebvre can begin to construct his science of space without arriving at reductive generalizations which for him signal the conceptual uniforrnity beyond which critique is no longer possible and from which nothing else can be learned. In his final paragraph, Lefebvre recalls the recurring tripartite series of perceived, conceived and lived spaces,

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    212 though here they describe the kind of orientation Lefebvre is looking for, not the spaces he's exploring. The perceived-conceived-lived triad appears in modified form, neither completely like nor completely different from its earlier uses, inviting the reader, even as the author concludes, to assimilate this variation on the theme, and thereby complicating what might have otherwise seemed to have become stable terms. The very use of the tri partite structures, in which any combination of two is always complicated by another term, suggests Lefebvre's concern with the easy simplicity with which binary opposites can be used to order and classify, and which gird the dominant logic Lefebvre is trying to work against. As Soja puts it, ''there is always an-Other te11n'' as part of Lefebvre's ''insistent disordering'' (7) Disordering, thinking in threes, contradiction, theme and variation: these all mark ways in which Lefebvre is able to instantiate, every time a reader confronts The Production of Space, the very critique he is trying to mount against the modem state's efforts to impose itself as a stable centre, to flatten the social and cultural spheres, to neutralize whatever resists it by castration and crushing, to reduce differences to repetitions and circularities, and to achieve social entropy with itself as the final systematic f ortn. Openings and Conclusions The task of commentary can never, by definition, be completed. Foucault (The Order of Things 41) It seems fitting to close the final chapter with a quotation I had included in the Preface, not to provide a sense of closed circularity, but to remind rather that the spectre

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    213 of incompletability has haunted the present work from beginning to end. There is no shortage of things that are left incomplete here, and still more that have been omitted entirely. Sometimes incompleteness has been a result of too little room and time to pursue every suggestion to its fullest. But more often, it has resulted from the in s istent urge to move towards a 'something else ' that has always seemed to be just w i thin reach suggested by but not fully articulated by what had come before. Certainly the marginalia are an undi s covered country in the field of Blake studies and there remain numerous areas for further research. I have not even attempted an extended explication of the marginalia since it has been my purpose to explore a very different dimension of them: not so much what they mean, but how they mean especially in the context of often very complicated force s at work throughout Blake s art Often I have been trying to de s cribe that which can only be sensed as one actively participat es in reading and when one confronts the page s of Blake 's work in their full visual and v e rbal dimensions. ( Nelson Hilton write s of '' the particular naked intensity we often sense rather than grasp in Blake'' (1) ) If there i s the sense of circling around possibilities here it stems from that longing ache to '' argue ' the phenomenology of myself as reader, instantiating every time I read new pressure s on what I thought I understood about writing, language printing reading, meaning and authority There is at least one basic question worth addressing directly as part of my conclu s ion : why Blake?

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    Stuart Peterfreund writes that Many of the eighteenth-century writers active before the 1790s, when Blake crune to intellectual and artistic maturity, recognized the rhetorical and ontological status of Newtonian argument as argument, and they evinced a shared concern about the full significance of that argument and the limits to which it might be made, by analogy, to serve in other fields of inquiry ... Addison, Pope, Desaguliers, Johnson, and others may have disagreed over the extent to which Newtonian physics could, by argument from analogy, be used to help see the ''subjective'' aspects of the Universe in an orderly manner. But these and other writers of the eighteenth century were of one mind concerning the ''objective'' truth of Newtonian physics per se. (21) 214 What sets Blake apart from the general sense of unease some writers felt with the spread of Newtonianism, is that Blake went so far as to challenge the assumed objectivity of Newtonian physics, and in doing so ( or in order to do so) Blake created an art that forced and allowed a different temporal and spatial experience of reading. There could be contradiction. There could be just a sense of things. There could be openness, fluidity, and changeability. There could also be compassion in the face of difference. There could be a way of being in the world that was neither deterministic and rule-bound nor chaotic disorganized, abysmal, and nihilistic. In this sense, I think Blake comes close to making possible change to the human condition on that most basic level that Lefebvre identifies as lived experience. And it is in this lived experienced, these ''spaces of representation'' that Lefebvre located the possibility for counterspaces, or what Soja describes as ''spaces of resistance to the dominant order arising precisely from their subordinate, peripheral or marginalized

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    215 positioning'' (68 ) Of course the present study has been not just of Blake's vision itself as marginal in relation to the dominant culture, but of the literally 'marginal' within Blake's work. These metaphoric and literal marginalizations make what might be learned.fr o m th e margins ( as one could inhabit the margin and study it) that much more crucial since it is that which might otherwise go totally unnoticed. Blake's challenge was one that presented not only the ''mental fight' he calls f or in Milton (Plate I: 13) but it took the material form of a new kind of page a new approach to the material book, and a deeply self-reflexive theorization of what it meant to make and to read a book a text and meaning In thi s final chapter, I have tried to identify a critique against systems a critique like Blake's but one that does not operate through textual or material disruption in the way that Blake's does. In order to s uggest how the idea of marginalizing can still function, though in the conceptual, not the textual sense, I have introduced multiple texts and ideas, each glossing the other. I have not introduced Lefebvre as one '' central ' text against which to juxtapose Blake as another 'central ' text. Rather, Blake's work conditions how I read Lefebvre and how I position Soja writing on (as glossing ) Lefebvre. Thermodynamic and information theory provides metaphors which gloss both Blake s work and Lefebvre s. And reading each author's work as glossed in this way suggests further possibilities for how such instrumental metaphors can be used to access and to re-evaluate other literary and critical project s And The Production of Spa ce itself works to condition my reading ( and re-reading) of Blake s work, in terms of how important change can be when it occur s on the level of the lived experience.

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    Lefebvre's conclusion is worth quoting again at length: On the horizon, then, at the furthest edge of the possible, it is a matter of producing the space of the human species-the collective (generic) work of the species-on the model of what used to be called 'art': indeed, it is still so called, but art no longer has any meaning at the level of an 'object' isolated for and by the individual. The creation (or production) of a planet-wide space as the social foundation of a transformed everyday life open to myriad possibilities-such is the dawn now beginning to break far on the horizon ... I speak of an orientation advisedly. We are concerned with nothing more or less than that. We are concerned with what might be called a 'sense': an organ that perceives, a direction that may be conceived, and a directly lived movement progressing towards the horizon. And we are concerned with nothing that even remotely resembles a system. ( 422-423) Tearing the book reveals the page as a site for contesting the forces that make 216 oppression possible, for imagining towards, but never arriving at, a horizon. An appropriate way to close here is perhaps just to say that there is considerable work left to be done.

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    WORKSCflED Ackroyd, Peter. Blake London: Minerva, 1996. Ackroyd, Peter, Marilyn Butler Robin Hamlyn, and Michael Phillips. William Blak e. William Blake Exhibition Catalogue London: Tate Gallery Publishing Limited, 2000. Adams, Hazard. Critical Theory Since Plato. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971. Ault, Donald. ''Unreading 'London ." Approaches to Teacliing Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Eds. Robert Gleckner and Mark Greenberg New York: Modem Language Association of America, 1989. 132-136. _ Narrative Unbound: Re-Visioning William Blake's The Four Zoas. Barrytown New York: Station Hill Press, 1987 __ "Blake and Newton." Epochen der Naturmystik: Hermetische Tradition im Wiss e nschaftlichen Fortschritt. Eds. Antoine Favre and Rolf Christian Zimmer111an. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 1979. 364-380. __ "Incommensurability and Interconnection in Blake's Anti-Newtonian Text." Essential Articles for the Study of William Blake, 1970-1984. Ed. Nelson Hilton. Hamden, Connecticut: Atchon Books, 1986. 141-174. __ Visionary Physics: Blake's Response to N e wton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Bacon, Francis. Essays Moral, Economical, and Political. With annotations by William Blake. London, 1798 (Keynes collection, University Library, Cambridge, Keynes U.4.20). Barthes, Roland. The Rustle of Languag e Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Hill and Wang, 1986. _ SIZ. Trans. Richard Miller New York: Hill and Wang, 1974. 217

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    Bentley, G. E., Jr. Blake Books Supplemerit. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. __ Blake Books. London: Oxford University Press, 1977. __ ''A Collection of Prosaic William Blakes." Notes and Queries. Vol. 210 (continuous numbering), N.S. 12. May 1965. 172-178. Bentley, G. E., Jr., ed. Blake Records. Oxford: Clarendon, 1969. Berkeley, George, Lord Bishop of Cloyne. Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries. With annotations by William Blake. Dublin, 1744. (Trinity College, Cambridge, RW 35-24). Bindman, David. Review of the Tate Britain Blake Exhibition. The Burlington Magazine. March, 2000. 174. Bindman, David, ed. William Blake: The Complete illuminated Books. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000. Blake, William. All annotated volumes are indexed by original author. __ ''America: A Prophecy." Blake's 'America: A Prophecy' and 'Europe: A Prophecy: Facsimile Reproductions. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1983. __ ''The Book of Urizen." The Book of Urizen. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1997. __ ''Descriptive Catalogue." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''The First Book of Urizen.'' The Urizen Books. Ed. David Worrall. William Blake Trust. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1995. __ ''The [First] Book of Urizen." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''The Four Zoas." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''Jerusalem." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. 218

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    __ Laocoon. 14 Aug. 2001. The Betatesters Group. 1 Oct. 2001. www .betatesters.com/penn __ ''Letter to Thomas Butts, 1802.'' Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''Marriage of I-leaven and Hell." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''Milton." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman New York: Doubleday 1988. __ Newton. Tate Britain, London. __ ''The Song of Los." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''Songs of Innocence and of Experience." Complete Poetry and Prose of Willian1 Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. 219 __ ''There Is No Natural Religion." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988 __ ''Vision of the Last Judgement." Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Ed. David Erdman. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ ''Visions of the Daughters of Albion." Copy 0. British Museum __ ''Works by William Blake London, 1876. (British Ljbrary call number, LR 404c3). Bloom Harold. Blake's Apocalypse. Garden City, New Jersey: Doubleday, 1963. Butlin, Martin. The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake. New Haven: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, 1981. Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. 2 Vols. Trans. John Allen. London: T Tegg & Sons, 1838. Calvino, Italo. Th e Uses of Literature. Trans. Patrick Creagh. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986.

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    (;ambel, A. B. Applied Chaos Theory. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993. Chambers, Ross. Loiterature. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Cohen, Philip, ed. Texts and Textuality. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. Damon, S. Foster. A Blake Dictionary. Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1965. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minnesota: Minnesota UP, 1987. 220 Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter. The Jarius Faces of Genius: The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Dortort, Fred. The Dialectic of Vision: A Contrary Reading of William Blake's Jerusalem. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Arts, 1998. Eco, Umberto. Serendipities: La,nguage and Lunacy. Trans. William Weaver. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Erdman, David. Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. New York: Doubleday, 1988. __ The Illuminated Blake. New York: Anchor, 1974. Essick, Robert. Letter from William Blake to William Parsons, May 12 th 1806. Personal collection. __ ''Blake in the Marketplace, 1999." Blake/An fllustrated Quarterly Vol. 33 Number 4 (Spring 2000) 100-134. __ The Works of William Blake in the Huntington Collections. San Marino, California: The Huntington Library, 1985. Fish, Stanley. ls There a Text In This Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1980. Foucault, Michel. Interview with Bernard-Henri Levy. Trans. David J. Parent. Michel Foucault: Politics, Philosophy, Culture. Interviews and Other Writings 19771984. Ed. Lawrence Kritzman. New York: Routledge, 1988.

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    __ The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Pantheon Book, 1970. 221 Frye, Northrop. Fearful Symmetry. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1947 Gilchrist, Alexander. The Life of William Blake. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1922. Gleckner, Robert. "Point of View and Context in Blake's Songs." Blake: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Northrop Frye. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1966. 8-14. Glen, Heather. Vision and Disenchantment: Blake's "Songs" and Wordsworth's "Lyrical Ballads." New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Hagstrom, Jean. "William Blake Rejects the Enlightenment." Blake: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Northrop Frye. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1966. 142-155. Harrison, John R. The Library of Isaac Newton. New York: Cambridge University Press 1978. Hatch, Robert. Personal email correspondence. August, 2000. Hayles, N. Katherine. Chaos Bound. London: Cornell, 1990. __ ed. Chaos and Order: Complex Dynamics in Literature and Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. Hilton, Nelson. Literal Imagination: Blake's Vision of Words. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Hilton, Nelson and Thomas Vogler, eds. Unnam'd Forms: Blake and Textuality. Berkeley: University of Califo1rua Press, 1986. Hitchcock, Peter. Oscillate Wildly. Minnesota: Minnesota UP, 1999. Howard, Richard. ''A Note on S/Z. ' SIZ. Roland Barthes. Trans. Richard Miller. New York: Hill and Wang, 1974. ix-xii. James, G. lngli, ed. William Blake: Annotations to Richard Watson. Regency Reprints m. Cardiff: University College Cardiff Press, 1984.

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    222 John, Donald. ''William Blake and Forgiveness." The Wordsworth Circle Vol. XVII No. 2 (Spring), 1986:74-80. Johnson, Mary Lynn and John Grant. Blake's Poetry and Designs. New York: Norton, 1979 Keats, John. ''Ode on a Grecian Um." Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. 2. Ed. M.H. Abrams. 6 th edition. New York: Norton, 1996. 336. Kellert, Stephen. In the Wake of Chaos: Unpredictable Order in Dynamical Systems Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. Keynes, Sir Geoffrey. Complete Writings of William Blake. London: Oxford University Press, 1966. __ Drawings of William Blake. New York: Dover Publications, 1970. __ Unpublished correspondence. University Library, Cambridge University. 1947. King James Version. The Holy Bible. New York: American Bible Society, 1970. Koyre, Alexandre. Newtonian Studies. Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 1965. Kuhn, Thomas. Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1970. La Belle, Jenijoy. Review of Aphorisnis 011 Man: A Facsimile Reproduction. in Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly 62 Vol. 16 No.2, Fall 1982. 126-128 Lavater, John Caspar. Aphorisms on Man: Translated [by Henry Fuseli] from the Original Manuscript. With annotations by William Blake. London: J. Johnson, 1788. Huntington Library call number, 57431. Leader, Zachary. Revision and Romantic Authorship. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. __ Writer's Block. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. __ Reading Blake's Songs. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981. Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. London: Blackwell, 1991.

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    223 __ The Critique of Ev e ryday Life Vol. 1. Trans John Moore. London : Verso 1991 Lister, Raymond. Infernal Methods. London: Cambridge University Press, 1975 de Luca, V. A. ''A Wall of Words : The Sublime as Text." Unnam'd Forms: Blake and Textuality Eds. Nelson Hilton and Thomas Vogler. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. 218-241. Mann Paul Rev of Narrative Unbound, by Donald Ault. Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly Fall, 1989 80-87. Manuel, Frank. A Portrait of Isaa c Newt o n Cambridge, Massachusetts: Balknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968. Markley, Robert Fallen Languages: Cris e s of Representation in Newtonian England 1660-1740 Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1993. McFarland, Thomas ''Synecdochic Structure in Blake's Marginalia." Europ ea n Romantic Review. I (1990): 75-90. McGann, Jerome. Towards a Lit e rature of Knowledg e. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. __ Tlie Romaritic Ideology Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1983. Miller, Perry. "Bentley and Newton." Isaac Newton 's Papers and Letters on Natural Philosoph y Ed. I. Bernard. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1958. Milton, John Paradise Lost Ed Scott Elledge New York: Norton, 1975. Mitchell W. J. T. ''Chaosthetics: Blake's Sense of Form." Huntington Library Quart e rly Vol. 58 Numbers 3 & 4. 441-458. __ Picture Th eory : Essa ys on Verbal and Visual Representation Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1994 __ Blake's Composite Art. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1978 Morris, Meaghan. Too Soon Too Late. Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1998.

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    224 Newton, Sir Isaac. The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philo s ophy Trans. I. Bernard Cohen and Anne Whit.mas. Berkeley: University of California Press 1999. __ Letter to the Royal Society, 1672 Philosophical Transactions (Royal Society of London) No 80, 19 February 1671/72. 3081 3085. Ong, Walter J. Orality and Lit e ra cy. London : Routledge, 1982. Paley, Morton To Defend the Bible in Thi s Year 1798 Would Cost a Man His Life .' Blak e /An illu s trated Quart e rly (Fall 1998): 32-42. P e nguin Dictioriary o f Art and Artists. Ed s. Peter Murray and Linda Murray. London : Penguin, 1991. Peterfreund, Stuart. Blake in a N e wtonian W o rld Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press 1998 Phillips, Michael. William Blak e : Th e Cr e ati o n of th e Songs from Manuscript to Illuminat e d Printing. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000 Prigogine Ilya and Isabelle Stengers Ord e r Out o f Chaos: Man's N e w Dialo g u e With Natur e Toronto: Bantam Books 1984 Rajan, Tilottama Supplem e nt o f R e adiri g: Fi g ur e s o f Und e rstanding in Romanti c Theory and Pra c ti ce. Ithaca: Cornell Univer s ity Press 1990. Reynolds, Sir Joshua. [Discourses] Th e W o rks of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Vol. I. With annotations by William Blake The second edition corrected. 3 Vols. London, 1798 British Library s helf mark, c45e18. Rothenberg, Molly Anne R e thinking Blak e' s Textuality Columbia: University of Missouri Press 1993. Rowland William Lit e ratur e and th e Mark e tpla ce. Lincoln: University of Nebra s ka Press 1996 Said, Edward Cultur e and Imp e riali s m. London: Chatto and Windu s, 1993 Salinger J. D. Cat c h e r in th e R ye Bo s ton : Little Brown Books, 1991.

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    Santa Cruz Blake Study Group. ''Wha t Type of Blake?'' Essential Articles for the Study of William Blake Ed. Nelson Hilton Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1986: 301-333. 225 Shannon, Claude. "The Mathematical Theory of Communication." Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1949. Shaviro, Steven. ''Striving With Systems Essential Articles for the Study of William Blake, 1970-1984. Ed. Nelson Hilton. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1986. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Defence of Poetry. Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. 2, Ed. M.H. Abrams. 7 th edition New York: Norton, 2000. 790-802. Shroyer, R. J. Aphorisms on Man ( 1788): A Facsimile Reproduction of William Blake's Copy of the First English Edition. New York: Scholars Facsimiles and Reprints, 1980. Soja, Edward. Thirdspace. New York: Routledge, 1996. Swedenborg, Emmanuel. The Wisdom of Angels, concerning Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. Translated [by N. Tucker] from the Original Latin With annotations by William Blake. London, 1788. British Library, shelf mark, c45el. Swedenborg, Emmanuel A Treatise Concerning Heaven and Hell. With annotations by William Blake. Trans. William Cookworthy and Thomas Hartley. 2 nd edition. London: Printed by R. Hindmarsh, 1784. With annotations by William Blake. (Houghton Library, Harvard.) Thackray, Arnold. Atoms and Powers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1970. Thornton, Robert John. The Lord's Prayer, Newly Translated. With annotations by William Blake. London, 1827. Huntington Library, San Marino, California (call number, 113086). Toffler, Alvin. Forewo1d to Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue With Nature. Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1984. Xl-XXXl. Trebitsch, Michel. Preface to The Critique of Everyday Life Vol. 1. Henri Lefebvre Trans. John Moore. London:Verso, 1991. ix-xxviii.

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    226 Valery, Paul The Collected Works of Paul Valery. Ed. Jackson Matthews. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1956-75. Visconti, Joseph. Blake a1zd the Idea of tlie Book. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993. Vogler, Thomas A .. ''Hearing the Songs." Approaches to Teaching Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Eds Robert G]eckner and Mark Greenberg. New York: Modem Language Association of America, 1989. 127-131. Wark, Robert. ''Introd uction. Discourses On Art: Sir Joshua Reynolds. London: Yale University Press, 1997 xiii-xxxiii. Watson, Richard. An Apology for the Bible, in a series of Letters, Addressed to Tho,nas Paine With annotations by William Blake. Eight h edition. London: T Evans, 1797. Huntington Library, San Marino, California (call number, 110260) Webster's New Compact Dictionary New York : Book Essentials, 1986. Westfal], Richaid. Never at Rest. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980. White, Michael Isaac N ewto n: Th e Last Sorcerer. Reading, Massachusetts: AddisonWesley, 1997. Whitney, Geffrey A Choice of Emblems. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. Worrall, David, ed. The Uri ze n Books. William B]ake Trust. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1995. Wu, Duncan ed Roma,iticism: An Anthology Oxford: Blackwell, 1994. Zamyatin, Evgenii. We. Trans. Gregory Zilboorg. Boston: Gregg Press, 1975. Zamyatin, Evgenii ''On Literature Revolution, and Entropy." Russian Themes. Mihajlo Mihajlov. Trans. Marija Mihajlov. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968.

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    BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Before attending the University of Florida, Jason Snart attended the University of Alberta where he received his bachelor's and master s degrees in English. He ha s published in the fields of Blake studies and Romanticism, in addition to fields like classroom and teaching pedagogy He is currently working on publishing a photographic facsimile edition of William Blake's marginalia. He will also be a part of the project to incorporate Blake s marginalia into the online William Blake Archive 227

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    I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it confom1s to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Donald D. Ault, Chairman Professor of English I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforn1s to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philo~phy. 2. Richard E. Brantley Professor of English I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Phillip E. Wegner Associate Professor of English I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it confonr1s to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Phil sophy. 2 Rob rt A. Hatch Associate Professor of History This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Dean, Graduate School May 2002

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    J LD 1780 2Q DJ ,54>b9 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA II I II 11111 1 Ill I l l 11 1 111 1 111 I I 1 11 1 111 1 11 II 11 1 111 1 1 1 1111 1 111 1 Ill I I 3 1262 08556 6411