Volume 8 · Issue 4

Spring 1975

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Blake Newsletter 32


Newsletter Subscriptions
An Exhibition, Golgonooza[e]
Newsletter Reprints
Donald Ault,[e] Blake at the 1974 MLA Seminar
Blake Poster
MLA Blake Seminar 1975
Blake Conference at Santa Barbara
Works in Progress
Thomas A. Vogler, on The Incarnate Word by Cary Nelson
Irene Chayes, on The Awakening of Albion by Thomas Frosch
Karl Kroeber, on Blake’s Night by David Wagenknecht
W. J. T. Mitchell, on Blake’s Human Form Divine by Anne Kostelanetz Mellor
Simone Pignard, on William Blake, émerveillement et profanation by Jacques Blondel
Claude Jannoud, on Pierre Leyris’ translation of Blake’s poetry into French [from Le Figaro, translated by Katharyn Gabriella]
Paul Miner, on the festschrift for Sir Geoffrey Keynes edited by Morton Paley and Michael Phillips, and the 2nd ed. of Keynes’ Blake Studies
G. E. Bentley, Jr., on William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job by Bo Lindberg
Florence Sandler, on Milton’s Poetry of Choice and Its Romantic Heirs by Leslie Brisman
David V. Erdman, on Visionary Physics by Donald Ault
Thomas L. Minnick, on The Visionary Hand: Essays for the Study of William Blake’s Art and Aesthetics edited by Robert N. Essick
Robert N. Essick, on The Notebook of William Blake edited by David Erdman with the assistance of Donald Moore
Alicia Ostriker, on William Blake by D. G. Gillham
Michael J. Tolley, on The “Heaven” and “Hell” of William Blake by G. R. Sabri-Tabrizi
Morris Eaves, on Adrian Mitchell on William Blake produced by London Weekend Television, and The Clouded Hills: Selections from William Blake edited by Catharine Hughes
Joseph A. Wittreich, Jr., on Fearful Joy: Papers from The Thomas Gray Bicentenary Conference at Carleton University edited by James Downey and Ben Jones
Jean H. Hagstrum, on Blake and Visionary Art and The Romantic Rebellion by Kenneth Clark, and British Romantic Art by Raymond Lister
A Checklist of Recent Blake Scholarship, compiled by Ron Taylor

On the cover is a drawing by Bo Lindberg of the Blakes in Abo, Finland, in 1824. Lindberg had this to say about the drawing:

In 1974 the oldest surviving Finnish newspaper, Abo Underrättelser (published in Swedish, formerly the language of the Finnish intelligensia, and still spoken by many Finns), celebrated its 150th anniversary. The editor asked me to make a drawing of Abo in 1824, showing people reading the first copies of the Abo Underrättelser, and, in the background, the Cathedral, the old town center, and the bridge across the River Aura with the small kiosk on it—from this kiosk the newspaper was sold. None of the buildings except the Gothic Cathedral survived the great fire of 1827.
The Abo of the early 19th century was “a most infamous pit, a pestified place, having a poisoned atmosphere, poor pavements and the worst ‘esprit public’ in the world,” wrote Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt about 1800. Since Blake was in the habit of visiting infamous places such as Babylon and Hell, he must have made a spiritual journey to Abo—and, since a spirit is not a cloudy vapour or a nothing, his spirit must have had a solid body, resembling his mortal body. Further, it is well known that Catherine partook in her husband’s visions. Therefore I put William Blake and his wife among the readers of the first issue of Abo Underrättelser. Their clothes are more or less right for 1824.

Lindberg had this to say about himself:

Name. Bo Lindberg, called Ossian. I’m an artist, ethnological draughtsman and art historian, born in Abo in 1937, at present working at the University of Lund, Sweden. In 1973 my Ph.D. thesis, William Blake’s Illustrations to the Book of Job, was published in the Acta Academiae Aboensis. I’ve published a few papers about Blake, Bosch, the Cathedral of Abo, etc. I’ve translated part of Blake’s poetry into Swedish, but so far only The Mental Traveller has appeared in print.
I’ve modernised Satan’s Holy Trinity: Darwin, Marx and Einstein, and the prophet of the tripartite God is Freud. I believe that art and science are the foundation of empire. Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, etc., attend upon and follow scientists, writers and prophets like Darwin, Marx, Einstein, etc., which shows that Blake was right again.
I like Blake because his philosophy is too complicated and too truthful for political, economic and bureaucratic leaders to use it and misuse it. In this world it is a great merit merely to be harmless.

Most of the illustrations in this issue are from Blake’s contributions to the extra-illustrated Shakespeare folio complied by the Rev. Joseph Thomas. The volume was sold by his descendants to Alexander Macmillan in 1880, from whose family it was acquired by the British Museum in 1880. The pictures are reproduced here by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum.

Cover: Blakes in Abo, Finland, around 1824, a drawing by Bo Lindberg. See description elsewhere on these pages. Pp. 108-09: detail from p. 112, below. P. 112: Richard III and Ghosts (undated), 8″ × 5 ⅞.″ Richard III. P. 115: detail from p. 112, above. P. 116: Queen Katherine’s Dream (1809), 8 ¾″ × 6 ⅛.″ Henry VIII. P. 119: Allegorical subject (?) or, The Horse of Inspiration (1809), 9″ × 6 ¾.″ Pp. 120-21: detail from cover. P. 124: Caesar’s Ghost Appearing to Brutus (1806), 10″ × 6 ½.″ Julius Caesar. P. 126: from Blake’s Job illustrations. P. 128: detail from p. 112, above. P. 130: detail from p. 124, above. P. 131: detail from p. 124, above. P. 133: see caption. P. 137: detail from p. 112, above. P. 138: detail from p. 119, above. P. 142: detail from p. 119, above. P. 144: detail from p. 116, above. P. 145: detail from p. 116, above. Pp. 146-47: detail from p. 116, above.

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The Blake Newsletter, An Illustrated Quarterly, is published four times a year under the sponsorship of the Department of English of the University of New Mexico.

Editors: Morris Eaves, Univ. of New Mexico, and Morton D. Paley, Univ. of California, Berkeley.

Associate Editor for Great Britain: Frances A. Carey, Asst. Curator, Dept. of Prints & Drawings, British Museum.

Bibliographer: Ron Taylor, Univ. of California, Berkeley.

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Design and layout for this issue: David Schnur and Sharon Stell, University of New Mexico.

Copyright ©1975 by Morris Eaves and Morton D. Paley

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