An MP3 of the talk can be found at my podcast feed, Talks and Thoughts.
An article on Blake’s view of the Christ Child, viewed through his infernal method, can be found here.
Here I discuss how William Blake used his infernal methods subtly to critique Christmas via his illustrations to Milton’s ode, On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity. He sought to reveal how its message of eternity is distorted by worldly vision.
Blake objected to the gentle Jesus, meek and mild, of the stable. He pushed against the humble child, pointing out that Jesus disobeyed and dismayed his parents, not in rebellion, but because his vision was divine.
Blake writes in The Everlasting Gospel:
“If Moral Virtue was Christianity
Christs Pretensions were all Vanity
The Moral Christian is the Cause
Of the Unbeliever & his Laws
For what is Antichrist but those
Who against Sinners Heaven close.”
This meditation with images ponders what Blake objected to, how it applies now, and the nature of his inspired sense of Jesus the divine imagination.
In Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion, he implores:
““Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!
I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine
I am not a God afar off, I am a brother and friend;
Within your bosoms I reside, and you reside in me:
Lo! we are One.”
1:16 Why is Blake wary of Christmas
3:35 Nativity traps: Jesus is born and instantly forgotten
10:05 Shepherds see: the place for divine vision
12:32 How the infinite is enclosed
15:10 How the passions are lost
17:02 How the overthrow of darkness is missed
19:28 The illusory peace of repressed Christianity
21:41 Blake’s Christmas: Was Jesus gentle?
23:35 Blake’s Christianity: overcoming sin or opening paradise?
25:30 Blake’s imperative: rejecting the distant God, separated by sin
26:05 Blake’s Antichrist: Christianity and the wastes of moral law
27:00 “I am not a God afar off. Within your bosoms I reside”
28:50 Knowing Eden/Eternity, transcending Beulah
32:45 Knowing fourfold vision: “realities of intellect, passions emanate, eternal glory”