Blake's language in poetic form

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In the Fifth chamber were Unnam’d forms, which cast the metals into the expanse. There they were reciev’d by Men who occupied the sixth chamber, and took the forms of books & were arranged in libraries (“A Memorable Fancy,” The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)0026 From Unnam’d forms to the forms of books Is “Blake's language” and “poetic form” an un-Blakean conjunction? In the wake of eighteenth-century political revolutions, Blake broadcast a revolutionary poetics, seemingly anti-formalist in its determination: To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration That it no longer shall dare to mock with the aspersion of Madness Cast on the Inspired, by the tame high finisher of paltry Blots, Indefinite, or paltry Rhymes; or paltry Harmonies. As these inspired lines from Milton (pl. 41 [48], E 142) demonstrate, the sneer at poetic finishing includes not just rhymes but even blank-verse harmonies, the measure Milton advertised in his note on “The Verse” to Paradise Lost as “ancient liberty” recovered from the “modern bondage” of having to rhyme heroic verse. But if Milton tropes blank verse as political liberation, Blake saw him still constrained by the “uniform systems of execution owned by the culture, or by poetic tradition.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to William Blake
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780511999130
ISBN (Print)0521786770, 9780521781473
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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