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From: "Daniel Fusch" <dfusch@hotmail.com>
Subject: (urth) Blake
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 12:17:46 PDT

That's interesting; I hadn't thought about connections between Wolfe and 

The most obvious link, I think, would be Blake's "desire of raising other 
men into perception of the infinite" (from his Marriage of Heaven and Hell). 
"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as 
it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things 
thro' narrow chinks of his cavern." Also, from "Auguries of Innocence":

To see a World in a grain of Sand
Or a Heav'n in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand
And Eternity in an Hour.

Also, again from Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "For every thing that lives is 

This perspective is what Severian achieves as he walks along the beach of 
the ocean in The Citadel of the Autarch. He sees through the material into 
the infinite, "the doors of perception are cleansed," he sees that the 
entire beach is holy and has been dropped from the hand of the Infinite, and 
he tosses away his boots that he might not walk shod on holy ground.

The other tenets of William Blake's vision are:

1) The Standard of Energy (see Northrop Frye's book "Fearful Symmetry" and 
Martin Price's essay "Blake's Standard of Energy") -- "Energy is Eternal 
Delight" / "Exuberance is Beauty"; the energetic, passionate, unrestrained 
are good, while the passive, limited, and confined is harmful. "The cistern 
contains / The fountain overflows." Also: "Sooner murder an infant in its 
cradle than nurse unacted desires."

2) Wisdom can not be defined or expressed by one mode, one art form, one 
law, or one perspective. (This later becomes a tenet of modernism.) Thus, 
"One Law for the Lion & Ox is Oppression" and "Everything possible to be 
believed is an image of truth."

3) The observation of truth is achieved through a constant dialectic. 
"Without Contraries is no Progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and 
Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence."

4) "All deities reside in the human breast"; divinity consists of the 
"Poetic Genius," or the transcendent, divine inspiration and 
prophetic/poetic vision of humanity. The Poetic Genius cleanses the doors of 
perception and sees eternity; the Poetic Genius alone can frame the "fearful 
symmetry" of the Tyger in Blake's "Tyger, Tyger" by framing it within a 
poem. (By writing a poem--especially a poem that begins and ends with the 
same stanza--the Poetic Genius frames the suffering of the world and allows 
us to see it, draw meaning from it, etc.)

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