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William Blake Comic Book: A Memorable Fancy Comic pg 18

Hi, fellows! I'm back to my regular posting schedule after last week's intersection with the used toy and cosplay convention with comics as a minimal afterthought. I'm still reeling after that episode. I had the idea that people were there to see comics, but they were not.

So that raises the question, how to find an audience? The lack of interest in printed comics at a nominal comic convention shows the dimensions of the problem.

This week, we see that the barbarity and savagery of the two previous pages were (as I said) book criticism. You see here, Blake picks up a monkey corpse in the house of brick, but when he leaves the house of brick and enters the mill, the monkey corpse reverts into its true form, e.g. a book by Aristotle.

All of the primates and such in the house of brick were books. What Blake was saying in these images was how books tend to capture knowledge from other books, and assimilate it. The image of the monkey eating its own tail suggests an author writing a treatise on one of his previous works.

Why is Blake so angry at books? It's not the books he was angry at, it was what's in them. Aristotle's "Analytics" was a treatise on deductive reasoning written in 350 BC. So maybe, just maybe, all those different monkeys and apes in the house of brick represented different authors / books all raging at each other about Aristotle's Analytics and the "right" interpretation, the implications of deductive reasoning, etc.

William Blake wrote a lot about reason and imagination, and he saw them at odds with each other. Reason is a set, limited way of looking at things, while imagination allows you to do such things as this:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour


Blake lived in London during the industrial revolution, and saw technological advances brought about by man's reason. He saw the bad things that the revolution brought, e.g. pollution, people living very close to one another, child labor (and others). So he had reasons to mistrust the concept of reason.

Then again, what I'm doing now is I'm analyzing Blake's work in these paragraphs, and even now I get the feeling I'm not describing the work itself. There's more to it than what I've written here. Suffice it to say that the images, and in your reaction to them, that is the work, and the right meaning.

See you cowboys next week! Have a good seven days!

Comic transcript

You're reading a page from a comic book entitled William Blake, Man of Action!! It's based on William Blake's poem "A Memorable Fancy" from his larger work "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell". I'll be posting a page a week, and the first page of A Memorable Fancy is here. Alternately , you can check out the archive to jump to different pages. Please leave a comment if you like it, or don't!

Blake and the Angel are leaving the stinky house of brick where a bunch of primates are all fighting each other and cannibalizing each other. Blake narrates

As the smell terribly annoyd us both we went into the mill & I in my hand brought the skeleton of a body, which in the mill was Aristotle's Analytics.

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