Blake and the Mad Crew: The Ranters and the Historians

While A L Mor­ton thought Blake may have read the work of the Ranter, Abiez­er Coppe, mod­ern his­tor­i­ans say there is no evid­ence of Blake being famil­i­ar with Ranter texts. How much do Blake’s ideas over­lap with The Ranters? I look at the Jus­ti­fic­a­tion of the Mad Crew (1650) to compare.

Blade Runner’s Fallen Angels

The film Blade Run­ner is hugely suc­cess­ful, but what does it mean? As the makers hint, the key is to watch it through the eyes of Wil­li­am Blake and his myth­o­logy of liberation.

William Blake as a Revolutionary Poet

Few could deny that Wil­li­am Blake sup­por­ted the rad­ic­al polit­ics of his time, yet revolu­tion­ary ideas were not an adjunct to his vis­ion­ary geni­us, but the liv­ing heart of it as a poet.

Aleks McHugh: The Golem Returns

In the wake of the attemp­ted QAn­on putsch, and in the run-up to the inaug­ur­a­tion of Joe Biden, when Trump’s sup­port­ers are expec­ted to take to the streets again, Aleks McHugh con­siders QAn­on hys­teria and social media gen­er­ally as incarn­a­tions of Meyrink’s Golem, as por­trayed in the 1920 film by Paul Wegener.

Serge Arnoux’s Mirror of Blake

An ana­lys­is of the recently dis­covered engrav­ings by Serge Arnoux illus­trat­ing Wil­li­am Blake’s ‘Pro­verbs of Hell’, with a dis­cus­sion of sur­real­ism and Blake, and the impact of Moravi­an­ism on Blake’s idea of faith, sexu­al­ity, free­dom and religion.

Serge Arnoux: le sexaphysique du texte

Images from Serge Arnoux’s le sexaphysique du texte, 1981.

Peachy

Sac­red to Har­po­crates were first fruits of veget­ables, len­tils, and, above all, the peach tree. His moth­er was Isis, of course, and we may note that in the Valentini­an Pler­oma, the prim­al Moth­er, the First Thought of the incom­pre­hens­ible Bythos, is called Sig, ‘silence.’ As the Nag Ham­madi text Eugnos­tos the Blessed relates: “Sophia, his con­sort, who was called ‘Silence,’ because in reflect­ing without a word she per­fec­ted her Greatness.”

Link’s Strategy Guide for Ghosts

Haunto­logy is a dying art. Haha. I’m not famil­i­ar with the social the­ory of the haunto­lo­gist. I just like the atmo­sphere. I won­der if to study haunt­ing, really study it, one has to be a ghost one­self. Study haunt­ing first-hand. Like
see­ing from the future. A ghost in the cob­web-filled cor­ridors. Play on the old piano, rattle some armor. Know all the
secret pas­sage­ways, where lost treas­ures are waiting

Bronowski on Blake and Industry

Although Blake’s know­ledge of industry was uncer­tain, his vis­ion of it was not. It is an aston­ish­ing vis­ion — Jac­ob Bro­nowski on Blake and Industry, and Blake on Jer­u­s­alem and Liberty.

Milton’s L’Allegro on Blake’s Day

To cel­eb­rate Blake’s birth­day, here is one of his illus­tra­tions for Milton’s L’Al­legro, along with the poem itself, which seems suited to the mood fo the day.

Ken Fox: Autoeroticapocalypticum (Exract)

Here’s an extract from Ken Fox’s latest pub­lic­a­tion, Auto­erot­i­ca­po­ca­lyptic­um. Ken’s poetry com­bines the urgency and con­vic­tion of Blake with the steely-eyed sci-fi real­ism of Wil­li­am Bur­roughs. Proph­et­ic, wise and mind-fucked, his work cuts a hot-bladed swathe through…

Fruit Flies Like a Banana

Excerp­ted from the book Faust: Stretch Out Time, an essay about how great music helps us escape Urizen­ic time, dead time. “Out of time, into space” (Wil­li­am Burroughs)

Michael Tencer: The Quarantined Snore: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

Extracts from Michael Ten­cer­’s dream diary as his mind quivers on the edge of the immin­ent US Pres­id­en­tial Elec­tions. What got stirred up?

The Heptones: Mystery Babylon

Thy pur­pose & the pur­pose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trem­bling & fear, ter­ror, con­stric­tion: abject selfishness.
Mine is to teach Men to des­pise death & to go on
In fear­less majesty anni­hil­at­ing Self, laugh­ing to scorn
Thy Laws & terrors

The Blake Bloc

Blake Bloc, con­ceived by Poets, Artists and Pho­to­graph­ers and the ban­ner designed by Artist Mat­thew Couper, brings back vis­ion­ary and poet­ic anarch­ism to the con­ven­tion­al march of protest. Last seen with Blake’s influ­ence, through Gins­berg, on six­ties anti-war demon­stra­tions and incor­por­at­ing the once-proud trade uni­on and suf­fra­gette ban­ners of the nine­teenth cen­tury. Bear­ing Wil­li­am Blake’s images and his immor­tal words — ‘Oppos­i­tion is True Friend­ship’ — this ban­ner isn’t for the bin after­wards with the pile of plac­ards ! It’s a work of art as much as a protest in the Blakean tra­di­tion of Wil­li­am Mor­ris elev­at­ing social­ist ideals.

Peter Linebaugh’s Red Round Globe, Hot, Burning

The Irish Inde­pend­ent Left con­duc­ted an inter­view with the his­tor­i­an Peter Line­baugh about his book, Red Round, Globe Hot, Burn­ing, which dis­cusses Blake at sev­er­al points and makes some excel­lent obser­va­tions about him, Thomas Spence, and oth­ers, and their rel­ev­ance to our times.

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Reflec­tions on Wil­li­am Blake, rad­ic­al theo­logy, polit­ics and surrealism.

Wel­come to The Trav­el­ler in the Even­ing, a site focused on the work of Wil­li­am Blake. But it is a loose focus, because, in the right mouths, the dis­cus­sion of Blake quickly turns to the dis­cus­sion of sur­real­ism, revolu­tion, eso­ter­i­cism and reli­gion. Blake him­self eas­ily com­bined all of these things, well in advance of his age—and ours.
It is… prop­er to state that Blake nev­er had, strictly speak­ing, any influ­ence and that it is extremely prob­able that he nev­er will. The reas­on is that in Blake we behold not so much a foun­tain, a source, as a moun­tain­top.
Phil­lippe Soupault

The Trav­el­ler Hasteth in the Even­ing is an engrav­ing by Blake from 1793, as part of his early col­lec­tion, For the Sexes. Blake’s image shows his trav­el­ler pacing his way toward some unknown des­tin­a­tion. Mor­ton Paley shortened the title to The Trav­el­ler in the Even­ing for his book about Blake’s later works (after Jer­u­s­alem). I bor­rowed Paley’s title for the blog because it reflects my own situ­ation with respect to Blake, and our col­lect­ive situ­ation more gen­er­ally. I’ve been read­ing Blake for years, quietly tak­ing notes. My dream was to find the time and space one day to write a book about what I learned from him. Right now, it doesn’t seem that day is get­ting any closer. At the same time, the world has taken a dark and threat­en­ing turn, with the rise of far-right glob­ally and of author­it­ari­an gov­ern­ments bent on march­ing us head­long toward an envir­on­ment­al cata­strophe we set in train a long time ago. Some days it feels like it is even­ing everywhere. 

The old world is dying, and the old left, in the form of com­mun­ism and social demo­cracy, has per­haps run its course, because it was based too closely on an ideal­isa­tion of production’s ‘Satan­ic mills’. The envir­on­ment­al move­ment is urgently rel­ev­ant, but struggles to paint a coher­ent pic­ture of any altern­at­ive. Social move­ments against oppres­sion tackle the world’s abuses without being able to attack them at the root.To do so would mean com­ing to a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture of who we are in rela­tion to our world. I believe Blake can help point us toward the reversal of per­spect­ives needed, to fan the flames of solid­ar­ity and help to wake us from our long col­lect­ive sleep. The rami­fic­a­tions of his thought would over­turn our deep­est assumptions—hence the need to present this new, and unheard Blake: a pro­found eso­ter­ic thinker and a thor­oughgo­ing sur­real­ist militant.

Author: Andy Wilson

Author: Andy Wilson

Andy Wilson lived in Seaham Har­bour, Peterlee, Hartle­pool, Kings Lynn, Cov­entry, Tor­point, East­leigh, Lee-on-Solent, Port­land, Wey­mouth, Lough­bor­ough, York and Liv­er­pool before finally put­ting down anchor in Hack­ney, Lon­don. He served as an Avion­ics Arti­ficer in the Roy­al Nav­al Fleet Air Arm from 1976 to 1982. Since then he has worked as a polit­ic­al full-timer, a lec­turer in FE and in the Work­ers Edu­ca­tion­al Asso­ci­ation and as a com­puter pro­gram­mer. His main interests lie with Blake, rad­ic­al theo­logy and Surrealism.