Flexible design : revisionary poetics in Blake's Vala or The by Pierce, John Benjamin; Blake, William

By Pierce, John Benjamin; Blake, William

Vala or "The 4 Zoas" is one among Blake's few surviving manuscripts and gives a chance to ascertain an important evolution in his poetic perform. whereas the poem itself shows a constant thematic curiosity, the modes and strategies of representing those pursuits underwent a thorough switch within the ten or extra years during which Blake wrote and remodeled the poem. this article bargains a longer and special therapy of the sluggish shift that came about in Blake's poetics through the composition, transcription and revision of "Vala" or "The 4 Zoas"

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I. THE PHASES OF TRANSCRIPTION As we trace Blake's progress through these groups of pages, it appears that he began sometime around 1797 to transcribe the first portion of his poem in the fine copperplate hand, but then for some unknown reason changed to his usual hand and the Night Thoughts sheets for his remaining drafts after 1802. The copperplate text has a relatively small cast of characters: Los, Luvah, Urizen, Enion, Enitharmon, Vala, and Ahania. There is also an Ancient or Eternal Man and a host of Elemental Spirits.

The copperplate text has a relatively small cast of characters: Los, Luvah, Urizen, Enion, Enitharmon, Vala, and Ahania. There is also an Ancient or Eternal Man and a host of Elemental Spirits. Tharmas, his Spectre, the Spectres of Urthona, the Daughters of Beulah, the Lamb of God, and the host of biblical characters are absent from the initial transcription of these pages. The rather limited cast of characters and the more intensive focus on developing each pair of male and female characters reflect the early stages of Blake's poem: as he continued to transcribe the work, Blake expanded his central group of characters and developed in intricate detail the complicated interrelationship of each figure with all the others.

The mixture of early copperplate text and later additions in the usual hand is clearly visible here. Plate 6 Facing pages 44 and 45. A good example of Blake's usual hand, with sketchy portraits of a female and a male figure on page 44. The male figure is a conscious echo of the figure on page 45, from the Night Thoughts proofs. The sharpness of Blake's engraved figures there contrasts strikingly with the sketchiness of such figures as those on page 44. Plate 7 Page 59. An example of the usual hand transcribed on the proofs for Young's Night Thoughts.

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