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Mythology must be "what Eternally Exists"

Tuesday, 1 Feb 2022

Vision of Last Judgement by a leader in thought and art on Dr John Dunn. Blake's previous take on the Last Judgement (1808) which may have similarities to the lost artwork, The Vision of the Last Judgement (1810)

Mythology must be "what Eternally Exists"

In weirdly ungrammatical comments upon his lost artwork, A Vision of the Last Judgement, Blake makes the point that “it is not Fable or Allegory but Vision Fable or Allegory are a totally distinct & inferior kind of Poetry”.

He throws emphasis upon the visionary and imaginative elements of his Last Judgement, which are “totally distinct” from Vision Fable or Allegory, the two latter being an “inferior kind of poetry”.

For Blake, vision and imagination represent “what Eternally Exists. Really and Unchangeably”.

He seems to be arguing by implication that fable and allegory deal in dead matter,i.e.are formed from the “Daughters of Memory”. They are drawing upon what is recollected and previously experienced; they are drawing upon presuppositions. The imaginative, creative and inspirational element is thus limited in an allegorical work, such as Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.

Imagination on the other hand deals in living matter. It is a product of the “daughters of Inspiration who in the aggregate are called Jerusalem”. Imagination lives and in its creative force is itself Divine; it is what “Eternally Exists”. He cites the Bible as an example. For Blake the Bible is “not Allegory but Eternal Vision or Imagination of All that Exists”.

© John Dunn.

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