By Blake, William; Weir, David; Blake, William
Argues that the myths and beliefs of William Blake's poetry have been seriously motivated through the Oriental Renaissance - the British discovery of Hindu literature
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Extra resources for Brahma in the West : William Blake and the Oriental renaissance
This daisy chain linking Blake to Wilkins in the year 1809 does not identify Blake’s informant on the correct mode of Hindu costume definitively, but it is one more piece of suggestive evidence—together with the drawing of Wilkins itself—that can be used to justify the claim that Blake had some understanding of Hindu mythology by the time he was working on Jerusalem. But Blake would not have had to wait until 1809 for India to enter his consciousness. 7 The London Times published regular reports in columns devoted exclusively to news from India, and quite a few British periodicals reviewed and summarized new books about India at some length.
His return to London coincides with the evident decision to revise the grandiose revolutionary narrative of The Four Zoas, with its coded references to the machinery of political and military power, into the more 16 Brahma in the West personal examination of the operations of poetic power that is Milton. It is fairly easy to get from Milton to mysticism, and to argue that the poet’s pilgrimage from revolutionary ardor to aesthetic introspection, and thence to the grand vision of Jerusalem simply follows the track of the times.
But Blake, for all his contradictions, was after all one person who was somehow capable of sustaining continuities among these four traditions that have latterly been transformed into separate, single-minded approaches to the poet. In Blake’s time, and in Blake’s work, the religious, political, literary, and mystical strands were much more tightly interwoven than their subsequent disentanglement suggests. The mythographic tradition of the eighteenth century likewise provided a rich texture of religion, politics, literature, and mysticism, and the infusion of Hinduism into that tradition enlivened and complicated the meaning of mythology just as Blake began his artistic career.