Thinking Allegorically, Imaging Symbolically

  • John Beer
Part of the Literary Lives book series (LL)


In reading Blake’s work one is sometimes struck by the sense of an underlying wonderment, or even perplexity, on his part: it is as if it were difficult for him fully to understand the world in which he found himself. Endowed with marvellous visionary powers, he could not easily comprehend how his fellow human beings, while betraying signs of possessing similar powers in themselves, could so rarely live in accor¬dance with them but stumbled through their lives harming one another and themselves, completely disregarding the rich imaginative powers at their disposal — which instead were neglected to their own hurt.


Goat Skin Human Sacrifice Canterbury Tale Heroic Journey Christian Orthodoxy 
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  1. 6.
    The Poetical Works of Gray and Collins, ed. Austin Lane Poole (1917) p. 78.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    See e.g. the reproduction constituting endpapers to William Blake’s Engravings, edited with an introduction by Geoffrey Keynes (1950).Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    See E 144; K 620; Northrop Frye, ‘Notes for a Commentary on Milton’, The Divine Vision, ed. Vivian De Sola Pinto (1957) p. 131.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    See illustrations V–VII (followed by more elaborated forms in VIII and XII): Andrew Wright, Blake’s Job: A Commentary (Oxford, 1972).Google Scholar
  5. 22.
    See his letter to Roger Gale, quoted in Hutchinson’s History of Cumberland (1794) I, 241–2, and in my Coleridge the Visionary (1959), p. 69.Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    William Stukeley, Stonehenge: a Temple Restored to the British Druids (1740) p. 54.Google Scholar

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© John Beer 2005

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  • John Beer

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