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1974 Blake Seminar

I am pleased the December 1974 MLA Blake Seminar (“Perspectives on Jerusalem”) approved of the general tendency of my “Jerusalem Reversed” paper (see Newsletter 32, Spring 1975, p. 105), though I’d suspect it took a smug dealer in unconscionable paradox to confuse my Vala-Vahlu, Luvah-Lava syllabic reversals and consequent correspondences with the wholesale importing of extraneous readings into Blake’s text that I was (gently) questioning. Another case of the saw posing as a razor’s edge to hack up minute particulars—in lieu of an armed vision to see through them. The reversals are closer to their nominal sources in the text than much Blakean word-play of these and other days (e.g., earth-owner, horizon, lethe—and “lover” [come back to me?]), perhaps even as close as that famous back-formation, Enitharmon. When this generation’s Blakean establishment has been laid to waste, they’ll come glimmering through as well as these. (I shall not promise so much for “nada-nada” as Udan Adan without evidence that a bit of simple Spanish had some currency to Blake.)

It was too bad I could not be at the meeting. I accept the wrist-slapping of its reporter with understanding. But sometimes things close in. Someone should suggest to those running Blake meetings in the future that they really should give an appropriate by-line to the people actually contributing papers. While my reasons for not showing were more substantial than this, I couldn’t tell from any listing in the MLA program that I was really aboard—and so it came to pass. Also—the general carping tone of reported commentary, though in keeping with the spectral self-righteousness of Blakean commentary everywhere evident these days (perhaps contagious—ecce signum), suggests that, with only two of the paper-contributors in absentia, the group had one too many warm bodies to pick at.

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