God becomes as we are, that we may become as He is.
Decided to get into William Blake; I’ve only read small bits of his bibliography, so I took the plunge with a huge book that contains basically all of his poetry. There’s plenty to talk about, so I’ll be reviewing his books as originally published rather than trying to squeeze everything into a single long review of the collection. This is the first of his illuminated manuscripts in which he used etching to create images that incorporated the text into them; you’ll see a small example in the title page posted above. Most of the images are much more complex however. Anyway, this leads to essentially each page containing one sentence or so since the illustrations take up so much room. So, what was originally book length turns out to only be a couple of pages of text when it’s just printed without the illustrations. I looked up the illustrations later online and they definitely added a lot to the text, though the text has its own interesting ideas. The book is split into two sections. In the first, Blake sets out the argument for a purely rationalist, empirical view of existence; in the second, Blake lays out his argument against this view and argues for a spiritual component to life. Blake was obviously an extremely spiritual person, but he refrains from mocking the empirical view. To the degree, in fact, that some scholars have struggled to decide which perspective Blake is actually arguing for here; anyone familiar with his other writings will see that it’s obviously that he’s arguing for the side of the spiritual and transcendent. Anyway, this one is very short on text, but it makes its points, even without the illustration element. 3 stars.
tl;dr – religious tract becomes very brief without the illustrations included, but it lays out a case for spirituality in place of rationalism with passion. 3 stars.