Los astonish’d and terrified, built
Furnaces; he formed an Anvil
A Hammer of adamant then began
The binding of Urizen day and night
So, first off, this is the BOOK of Los; it’s very different from the SONG of Los, which was actually the last review I did in this series. While the Song of Los is an exploration of various religions from birth to spiritual death, the Book of Los is a retelling of the Book of Urizen. This book starts in media res; the narrative here starts at chapter four of the Book of Urizen. This book contains the story of the battle between Los & Urizen for the soul of humanity from the perspective of Los, rather than the perspective of Urizen. It’s an interesting idea and one inspired, as a lot of this mythology was, by Genesis, where the second chapter is a retelling of the first. The raw viscerality of Blake’s writing is just a constant at this point and the fact that we’ve heard this story before does nothing to remove the passion and impact of this poem. Blake’s mythology has more than hits its stride and this is a worthy addition to the pantheon. 4 stars.
tl;dr – retelling of the Book of Urizen features more of Blake’s astonishing poetry and the visceral power of the poem is undeniable. 4 stars.