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An Analysis of Blake's Milton

  • Date Submitted: 06/16/2013 12:27 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 47.8 
  • Words: 4693
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INTRODUCTION.
WHEN, in a letter to his friend George Cumberland, written just a year before his departure to Felpham, Blake lightly mentions that he had passed "nearly twenty years in ups and downs" since his first embarkation upon "the ocean of business," he is simply referring to the anxiety with which he had been continually harassed in regard to the means of life. He gives no hint of the terrible mental conflict with which his life was at that time darkened. It was more actually then a question of the existence of his body than of the state of his soul. It is not until several years later that he permits us to realize the full significance of this sombre period in the process of his spiritual development. The new burst of intellectual vision, accompanying his visit to the Truchsessian Picture Gallery in 1804, when all the joy and enthusiasm which had inspired the creations of his youth once more returned to him, gave him courage for the first time to face the past and to reflect upon the course of his deadly struggle with "that spectrous fiend" who had formerly waged war upon his imagination. "Suddenly," he wrote to Hayley on the 23rd 0ctober, "I was again enlightened with the light I enjoyed in my youth, and which has for exactly twenty years been closed from me as by a door and by window-shutters…. He is become my servant who domineered over me, he is even as a brother who was my enemy." The nature of his enemy is made sufficiently clear by the continuation of this remarkable letter, where under some easily discernible symbols the whole matter is briefly and dramatically set forth. His inmost convictions as to the origin and essence of his inspiration had been unceasingly assailed by a host of those secret doubts and fears (the most insidious of all spiritual perils) with which the spectre or reasoning faculty, that "abstract objecting power" which "negatives everything" is for ever seeking to restrain and subdue man's creative energies. This spectre was the...

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