William Blake, The Book of Urizen

David Punter (University of Bristol)
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The First Book of Urizen

, as its title suggests, can be seen as the first book of Blake's “Infernal Bible”. In it he offers an alternative view of creation in a rewriting of the biblical Book of Genesis. According to this view, creation itself needs to be seen as an evil act because it follows from a command; it is the despotism of the god of reason and law, Urizen, that has called the world into being, and this is why it has automatically assumed a fallen form. In the poem, Urizen, having created the fallen world, is then drawn down into it himself, finding himself bafflingly and chaotically embroiled in his own nets and webs. The god Los, standing for the imaginative power, has been set to watch over Urizen, but instead he too gets drawn into the general collapse. The end of the…

251 words

Citation: Punter, David. "The Book of Urizen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1402, accessed 05 March 2024.]

1402 The Book of Urizen 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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