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BLAKE IN THE 21st CENTURY

Blake began as the Blake Newsletter in 1967. “The idea,” wrote Morton Paley in his introduction to the first issue, “seems to have sprung like Leutha from the head of Satan.” The price was $2 for four issues of mimeograph-like pages—56 altogether in that first volume (illus. 1). A second technological phase began in 1970. Morton Paley and Morris Eaves began coediting the Newsletter, and production was moved

Blake Newsletter
	Number 1
	June 15, 1967
	The idea of having a Blake Newsletter seems to have sprung like
	Leutha from the head of Satan; I don’t know who can claim paternity.  The
	need seemed suddenly obvious.  Much help was given in the early stages by
	David Erdman, who called a meeting of Blake scholars at the last MLA
	convention and who also sent out a preliminary announcement.  Gerald E.
	Bentley, Jr. contributed valuable suggestions and prodding.  Robert
	Whitehead sent a list of ongoing Blake projects.  There were encouraging
	letters and contributions from Blake scholars in seven different countries.
	This modest first issue is the result, and it is now up to you whether
	the project deserves to be continued.
	As far as editorial policy is concerned, I think the Newsletter
	should be just that — not an incipient journal.  (Enough are born, even
	too many, without these arts).  It will include announcements, queries,
	controversy, and notes of special interest to Blake scholars — all of an
	informal nature (a “family wall-newspaper,” as David Erdman puts it).
	Regarding work-in-progress, my own inclination is to report on ongoing
	editorial and bibliographical projects, but not on critical or scholarly
	studies before they are completed.  In that way, I hope to avoid the
	suggestion of “reserving” subjects.  However, I’d like to have readers’
	views on this, as well as on other subjects.
	I’ll undertake to publish issues of the Newsletter on October 15,
	January 15, and April 15.  The subscription price will be two dollars,
	which will cover the first four issues, including this one.  New readers
	will receive back issues as part of their subscription — any other
	arrangement would involve book-keeping complications that I’m not able to
	undertake.
	The second issue of the Newsletter will be dedicated to S. Foster
	Damon.  Former students and associates of Professor Damon are especially
	invited to contribute.
	The BLAKE NEWSLETTER is edited by Morton D. Paley, Dept. of English,
	University of California, Berkeley, Calif. 94720.  Subscription price:
	two dollars for one year (four issues).  Please make checks payable to
	Morton D. Paley.
from Berkeley to New Mexico. The first issue from New Mexico was also the first to be printed by offset lithography and hence the first to have pictures (one on the cover and three inside) (illus. 2). The third phase came with the winter issue of 1982-83, when after fifteen years we were finally able to abandon the typewriter for regular (computerized) typesetting (illus. 3). Along with the change in composition came changes in design and format with which we have only fiddled a bit now and then in the years since.

This is all by way of saying that you may have noticed our fourth technological leap, which came along unheralded in the last issue. Until then Blake was produced by the Publications Department of the University of Rochester. It is now produced by PublishEase, a Rochester company that specializes in the latest desktop publishing technology. We’ve taken advantage of the conversion opportunity to change our layout (most obviously in moving from two columns to three per page, which allows us to handle illustrations more flexibly). We’ve also been experimenting with some new technologies: the mechanicals for the first two issues, for example, were produced by a high resolution laser printer (double the 300 dots per inch produced by your standard Hewlett-Packard LaserJet II). Along the way we hope to save enough money to keep quality up—the change has allowed us to shift to a better paper—and keep costs under control (if not down).

The conversion has been remarkably smooth so far, and we’ve been impressed with the expertise of the staff at PublishEase. Our experience has given us the confidence to keep experimenting. We welcome your reactions.

PAGE 156
          	BLAKE AN ILLUSTRATED QUARTERLY
          	WINTER 1982-83
          	
          	Desire Gratified and Ungratified: 
          	William Blake and Sexuality
          	
          	BY ALICIA OSTRIKER
          	
          	To examine Blake on sexuality is to deal with a many-layered 
          	thing. Although we like to suppose that everything in the 
          	canon “not only belongs in a unified scheme but is in accord 
          	with a permanent structure of ideas,” 1 some of Blake’s ideas 
          	clearly change during the course of his career, and some 
          	others may constitute internal inconsistencies powerfully at 
          	work in, and not resolved by, the poet and his poetry. What 
          	I will sketch here is four sets of Blakean attitudes toward sexual 
          	experience and gender relations, each of them coherent 
          	and persuasive if not ultimately “systematic;” for convenience, 
          	and in emulation of the poet’s own method of personifying 
          	ideas and feelings, I will call them four Blakes. 
          	First, the Blake who celebrates sexuality and attacks repression, 
          	whom we may associate with Freud and even more 
          	with Reich. Second, a corollary Blake whom we may associate 
          	with Jung, whose idea of the emanation—the feminine 
          	element within man—parallels Jung’s concept of the anima, 
          	and who depicts sexual life as a complex web of gender 
          	complementarities and interdependencies. Third, a Blake 
          	apparently inconsistent with Blake number one, who sees 
          	sexuality as a tender trap rather than a force of liberation. 
          	Fourth, and corollary to that, the Blake to whom it was necessary, 
          	as it was to his patriarchal precursor Milton, to see the 
          	female principle as subordinate to the male.
          	
          	Blake number one is perhaps the most familiar to the 
          	common reader, although professional Blakeans have 
          	paid little attention to him lately. He is the vigorous, self-confident, 
          	exuberant advocate of gratified desire, writing in 
          	his early and middle thirties (that is, between the fall of the 
          	Bastille and the execution of Louis and the declaration of 
          	war between England and France) the early Notebook 
          	poems, the Songs, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and 
          	the Visions of the Daughters of Albion. A few texts will refresh 
          	the memory. Among the Notebook epigrams we are 
          	told that
          	
          	Love to faults is always blind
          	Always is to joy inclind
          	Lawless wingd and unconfind
          	And breaks all chains from every mind (E 463) 2
          	
          	Abstinence sows sand all over
          	The ruddy limbs & flaming hair
          	
          	
          	But Desire Gratified
          	Plants fruits of life & beauty there (E 465)
          	
          	What is it men in women do require?
          	The lineaments of Gratified Desire
          	What is it Women do in men require?
          	The lineaments of Gratified Desire (E 466)
          	
          	It was probably these lines that converted me to Blake 
          	when I was twenty. They seemed obviously true, splendidly 
          	symmetrical, charmingly cheeky—and nothing else I had read 
          	approached them, although I thought Yeats must have picked 
          	up a brave tone or two here. Only later did I notice that the 
          	epigrams were tiny manifestoes announcing an identity of interest 
          	between sexuality and the human imagination.
          	
          	During these years Blake wrote numerous minidramas illustrating 
          	how possessiveness and jealousy, prudery and hypocrisy 
          	poison the lives of lovers. He pities the chaste (“The 
          	Sunflower”) and depicts the pathos of chastity relinquished 
          	too late (“The Angel”), looks forward to a “future Age” 
          	when “Love! sweet Love!” will no longer be thought a crime, 
          	while protesting its repression by Church and State in his 
          	own time. One of his two major statements about sexual repression 
          	in Songs of Experience is the deceptively simple 
          	“The Garden of Love,” in which the speaker discovers a 
          	Chapel built where he “used to play on the green.” The garden 
          	has a long scriptural and literary ancestry. “A garden 
          	shut up, a fountain sealed, is my sister, my bride,” in The 
          	Song of Solomon. It is the site of the Roman de la Rose. It is 
          	where Dante meets Beatrice, it is Spenser’s garden of Adonis 
          	and Milton’s Paradise—“In narrow room, Nature’s whole 
          	wealth.” The garden is, in brief, at once the earthly paradise 
          	and the body of a woman. Probably Blake saw it so. Later he 
          	would draw the nude torso of a woman with a cathedral 
          	where her genitals should be. The briars at the poem’s close 
          	half-suggest that the speaker is being crowned with something 
          	like thorns, somewhere about the anatomy, and it anticipates 
          	Blake’s outraged demand, near the close of his life, 
          	in the Everlasting Gospel: “Was Jesus chaste? or did he / 
          	Give any lessons of chastity?” Since the design for “The 
          	Garden of Love” depicts a priest and two children kneeling 
          	at an open grave beside a church, the forbidden love may be 
          	a parent as well as a peer, and the speaker might be of either

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