An ark or a phantom, a housing for divinity or a ghost of the earth, such are the alternative visions that Blake presents for humanity. An alternative and also a warning, ‘remember Uzzah’, which may well be directed at Lavater’s own moral inquiries whose human policy risks transforming man into a phantom:

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 […] 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. (Aphorisms, §533)


Human Nature Moral Code Moral Inquiry Final Plate Constituent Feature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Frank M. Parisi, ‘Emblems of Melancholy: For Children: The Gates of Paradise’, in Interpreting Blake, ed. Michael Phillips (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), pp. 70–110 (p. 75).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Erdman suggests the sibylline connection in his examination of the sketch of this emblem found in Blake’s notebook (David V. Erdman and D.K. Moore, The Notebook of William Blake (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 21).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Robert Lowth, Isaiah: A New Translation, 2nd edn (London: J. Dodsley and T. Cadell, 1779).Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Oothoon not only defines and defends her own sexuality […] and not only attacks patriarchal ideology root and branch, but outflanks everyone in her poem for intellectuality and spirituality, and is intellectual and spiritual precisely because she is erotic. (Alicia Ostriker, ‘Desire Gratified and Ungratified: William Blake and Sexuality’, in Critical Essays on William Blake, ed. Hazard Adams (Boston, MA: Hall, 1991), pp. 90–110 (p. 94))Google Scholar
  5. Bruder similarly emphasises Oothoon’s sensuality, rejecting ‘the idea that she should be the passive object of male desire and instead claims the right to be the subject of her own libidinous inclination’ (Helen P. Bruder, William Blake and the Daughters of Albion (London: Macmillan, 1997), p. 74).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 10.
    Saree Makdisi, Romantic Imperialism: Universal Empire and the Culture of Modernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 171–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 12.
    Beer, ‘Blake, Coleridge, and Wordsworth: Some Cross-Currents and Parallels, 1789–1805’, in William Blake: Essays in Honour of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, ed. Morton D. Paley and Michael Phillips (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), pp. 231–59 (pp. 246–53).Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    John Casper Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy, Designed to Promote the Knowledge and the Love of Mankind, trans. Henry Hunter, Vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1789), p. 20. This work consists of three volumes with a complicated production history and multiple title pages, each with differing publication details (Bentley, Blake Books, pp. 593–5). All of Blake’s engravings, or at least all which have been signed by him, occur in Volume 1 (ibid., p. 594). This is the only volume that I have cited and my reference follows the publication details given on its title page. The edition I have used corresponds to ‘A’ in Bentley and is housed in the British Library.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    George Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline, Sculpture, and the System that Guided the Ancient Artists in Composing Their Figures and Groupes (London: Robinson, 1796), pp. 47–8.Google Scholar
  10. 25.
    William Robson, Grammigraphia; Or the Grammar of Drawing (London: the author, 1794), p. 147.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Matthew JA Green 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. A. Green

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations