Book: The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell by William BlakeThe Marriage of Heaven and Hell is a book by the English poet and printmaker William Blake, part of a series of texts written in imitation of biblical books of prophecy, but expressing Blake's own intensely personal Romantic and revolutionary beliefs. Like his other books, it was published as printed sheets from etched plates containing prose, poetry, and illustrations. The plates were then coloured by Blake and his wife Catherine.
The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical ferment and political conflict immediately after the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral structures and his Manichean view of good and evil led Blake to express a deliberately depolarized and unified vision of the cosmos in which the material world and physical desire are equally part of the divine order, hence, a marriage of heaven and hell. The entire book is written in prose, except for the opening "Argument" and the "song of Liberty." The book describes the poet's visit to Hell, a device adopted by Blake from Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost.
Blake's text has been interpreted in many ways. It certainly forms part of the revolutionary culture of the period. The references to the printing house suggest the underground radical printers producing revolutionary pamphlets at the time. Ink-blackened print workers were jokingly referred to as "printing devils," and revolutionary publications were regularly denounced from the pulpits as the work of the devil. In contrast, the book has been interpreted as an anticipation of Freudian and Jungian models of the mind, illustrating a struggle between a repressive superego and an amoral id. It has also been interpreted as an anticipation of Nietzsche's theories about the difference between slave morality and master morality.
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