Jacki's Reviews > The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake
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's review
May 13, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: spiritual-religious
Read in July, 2012

This publication is very nice. It gives the original plates written and illustrated by William Blake. They're beautiful, full color prints.

As for the actual text, well, I just don't know. William Blake wrote this as a rebuttal to Swedenborg's theology. From what I've read about Swedenborg (which isn't much), I don't agree with him. I'm sure very few people do anymore. His ideas didn't last long.

But I'm not sure I agree with Blake either. His writing style is flowery and vague. Everything is written in poetry or allegory (and very old English). There were very few times when I was clear about what he was arguing. His stories of Angles and Demons were downright confusing.

I need to read some commentary on this to understand it better. I understood so little of it that I don't know if it was really worth reading the original text.

I've dug up some quotes that I had collected years ago when I first heard of this book and was researching it. I no longer remember the context of these quotes or even what book I got them out of, although it may have been "Modern Critical Interpretations of William Blake's Heaven and Hell" which I wrote down on this tiny piece of paper.

In any case, I don't want to lose these quotes which may, one day, give me a bit of perspective and understanding on the discussion.

Swedenborg says, "In all the heavens there is no other idea of God then that of man."

Blake responds to this by saying, "Man can have no idea of anything greater than man, as a cup cannot contain more than its capaciousness. But God is a man, not because he is so perceived by man, but because he is the creator of man."

I can only agree with Blake only slightly more than Swedenborg on that one.

"Man is only a recipient of life. Form this cause it is, that man, from his own hereditary evil, reacts against God; but so far as he believes that all his life is from God, and every good of life from the action of God, and every evil of life from the reaction of man. Reaction thus becomes correspondent with action and man acts with God as from himself." -Swedenborg

"Good and evil are here both good and the two contraries married." - Blake

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