Andy Wilson: The Bril­liant New Her­cules: A Blake Reader
Hard­cov­er : 210 pages
ISBN-13 : 978–0992650933
Product dimen­sions : 17.78 x 1.75 x 25.4 cm
Pub­lish­er : Unkant Pub­lish­ers (24 Jan. 2015)
Lan­guage : English
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Two years after invent­ing relief etch­ing, the print­ing meth­od best suited to record­ing late 18th cen­tury revolu­tion­ary free improv vis­ions, Wil­li­am Blake & his wife Cath­er­ine moved to 13 Her­cules Build­ings, Lam­beth, Lon­don. For the next ten years at the Her­cules, accord­ing to James Joyce;

“Ele­ment­al beings and spir­its of dead great men often came to the poet’s room at night to speak with him about art and the ima­gin­a­tion. Then Blake would leap out of bed, and, seiz­ing his pen­cil, remain long hours in the cold Lon­don night draw­ing the limbs and lin­ea­ments of the vis­ions, while his wife, curled up beside his easy chair, held his hand lov­ingly and kept quiet so as not to dis­turb the vis­ion­ary ecstasy of the seer. When the vis­ion had gone, about day­break his wife would get back into bed, and Blake, radi­ant with joy and bene­vol­ence, would quickly begin to light the fire and get break­fast for the both of them. We are amazed that the sym­bol­ic beings Los and Urizen and Vala and Tir­i­el and Enithar­mon and the shades of Milton and Homer came from their ideal world to a poor Lon­don room, and no oth­er incense greeted their com­ing than the smell of East Indi­an tea and eggs fried in lard.” 

Andy Wilson, who also smells decidedly unlike incense along­side an also exceed­ingly patient wife, now revis­its Blake’s vis­ion­ary work through the blood­shot eye­s­capes of 21st cen­tury Lon­don. Armed with tech­niques for revolu­tion­ary free improv vis­ions developed since Blake’s time (Marx­ism, psy­cho­ana­lys­is, LSD, Pho­toshop), Wilson rereads Blake’s eso­ter­i­cism as a prac­tic­al pro­gramme for lib­er­a­tion, unit­ing oth­er­wise trivi­al frag­ments of soci­ety’s detrit­us into anim­ated, throb­bing life as only someone kicked out of both the SWP & the Brit­ish mil­it­ary can.

Wilson’s col­lages coagu­late into a renewed myth­o­poeia, tran­scrib­ing Blake’s vis­ions onto the death throes of late cap­it­al­ism, where rad­ic­al sub­jectiv­ity ren­dez­vous with object­ive chance & explodes in kal­eido­scop­ic class war­fare. Full col­our. “The most admir­able thing about the fant­ast­ic is that the fant­ast­ic does­n’t exist, everything is real.” (André Breton)