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Blake Symposium—Edinburgh

The Blake symposium held at the University of Edinburgh 1-4 May 1974 was attended by about 25 people, who kept discussion going variously during the intervals of eating and sight-seeing.*(Our thanks to David V. Erdman for this item. Eds.) The sights were in the University of Glasgow Library (an exhibition of emblem books and of the work of a 19th-century Scottish follower of Blake, David Scott) and at Pollock House, Glasgow, an Adams mansion now a museum of the fine arts housing six Blake originals, including the painting of The Canterbury Pilgrims and portraits of Adam and of Eve (the latter partly repainted).

The sensation of the conference was a dramatic performance, “Conversations at Mr. Quid’s” (based on An Island in the Moon and, as an imaginative interlude, The Book of Thel), directed by Dr. Roger Savage—a smashing hit, all agreed. A public lecture by E. P. Thompson, who also participated in the seminar, presented some of the evidence of Blake’s doctrinal affinities with such fellow antinomians as the Muggletonians and the radical Swedenborgians.

There were seven seminar papers, each followed by extensive discussion, most of them illustrated by slides. They were:

Heather Glen, “Blake’s Criticism of Moral Thinking in the Songs”
Frank M. Parisi, “The Gates of Paradise and Emblems of Melancholy”
Belinda Humfrey and David Worrall, “Who Shall Bind the Infinite: A Study of Europe”
David V. Erdman, “Milton and The Song of Los: Text and Illuminations”
James B. Ferguson, “Prefaces to Jerusalem”
John Beer, “Blake and the Problems of Influence”
Annette S. Levitt, “Comus, Cloud, and Thel’s ‘Unacted Desires’ ”

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