Blake’s Prophetic Psychology by Brenda Webster

By Brenda Webster

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Sample text

Anger is expressed metaphorically as spreading filth or disease. Similarly, guilt over sadistic impulses is expressed by images of dirt and unworthiness. Blake does not concentrate on only one stage of development, however, but moves between them describing similar tendencies in the language of earlier or later stages of development: the sadism expressed in images of surgical cutting is related to the earlier anger of the biting infant as well as to later homosexual desires to penetrate another man.

But this extreme aggressiveness arouses guilt and fears of retaliation. In the second part, Blake sets up Flaxman as a father with whom it is dangerous to identify for the converse reason, because he is self-castrating and subservient to the female. Blake sketches out her seductive and threatening nature in his misogynistic song and then shows his male characters retreating from dangerous heterosexuality into homosexual jesting. The comic images of kissing or kicking posteriors continue in sexual terms the earlier vacillation between cutting and being cut.

1m hangd if I dont get up to morrow morning by four 0 clock & work Sir Joshua - Before ten years are at an end said Quid how I will work these poor milk sop devils. (IM 7, E 446) Suction functions in part as a mirror of Quid-Blake - even their words run together making it difficult to tell them apart - but several things clearly differentiate him as a younger brother. His name suggests his volatile oral character, and his impulsiveness contrasts with Milton's lack of feeling. If Milton's feelings are overcontrolled, Suction's lack control: 'do all by your feelings and never think at all about it' (IM 7, E 446).

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