This is in response to frightenedinmate2’s post, and I am going to try to answer the question of why self-sacrifice is necessary.

On page 202, lines 25-27, he says “These are the Sexual Garments, the Abomination of Desolation/ Hiding the Human lineaments as with an Ark & Curtains/Which Jesus rent: & now shall wholly purge away with Fire…” And earlier, in line 1 and 6-7: “To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human” and “To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination/To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration.”

We talked about this some at the end of last class, but that self-annihilation is necessary in order to do the most sublime act of putting others before oneself.  There is a lot of emphasis on taking off clothing–which Blake will eventually do–but I think self-annihilation is for the self, but also, as in plate 48/41 (p. 202) for the good of others.  It is about getting to the essence of what is really Human, casting aside such material things as clothing and “sexual garments” which I have been wondering what those actually are–do they indicate labels that define sexuality?

Self-annihilation seems to be why Blake’s illustrations are so precise, and why he draws a lot of naked people; emphasis on “human lineaments.”  Garments will be replaced with Imagination (which is the only reality as we discussed last class), and to create poetry in its purest form.  All that is not inspiration I believe for Blake means copying, or ripping from others what is not yours.

I think as we continue reading Milton, the reasoning behind self-sacrifice becomes clearer, as though the curtains that keep us from understanding Blake are slowly lifted!

 

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