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Tuesday, 07 April 2009

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Ahistoricality

I'm reminded of Shel Silverstein, whose pictures often do add significant layers of meaning (sometimes even reversals, if memory serves) to his verses.

I have a question, though: did Blake believe (and would it have affected his presentation) that his poem would always be reproduced with the image?

SEK

did Blake believe (and would it have affected his presentation) that his poem would always be reproduced with the image?

That I don't know. I can't assume he did, though, because he insisted he was the only one able to reproduce his technique . . . but since the freshmen anthology wasn't an extant artifact when he wrote the poem, I'm assuming he thought the image would be preserved somehow, or intended it to at least. I don't know. Are there any Blake scholars in the house?

Rich Puchalsky

Occam's Razor: perhaps Blake couldn't draw tigers very well.

SEK

perhaps Blake couldn't draw tigers very well

He could manage a fair approximation of Michelangelo . . . in relief etching. By which I mean, he could've drawn himself a fine and fulsome tiger had he desired to do so. But he didn't. (I can't link directly to the British Museum because of, well, I don't know why, but it has something to do with JavaScript. Point being, if you google "Blake" and "British Museum," you'll be taken to Blake's very skilled anatomies, which point to Occam slicing unjustly in this instance.)

Sisyphus

I never did like that tiger image. I'm probably heretical but I like Tiger Number 2 better.

If you're reading Blake's Tiger, don't you have to read it alongside his lamb poem?

Vance Maverick

Is your concern here mainly pedagogy? If not, I wonder (still) how widely you want to cast your net. You're still only scratching the surface of the history of text/image sequences (viz.).

Vance Maverick

If the warp and woof of Blake's poem evokes the bottom tiger

Big if, Dr. Rhetoric.

Kav

Just because one can draw (or etch) a person it does not follow that one could draw a tiger. Some can, some cannot. I can do portraiture very well, but even then my ability drops away when working from memory or imagination; I work best with a model (be it person or image). Similarly I can reproduce animals relatively well but fail completely if I try to do it from memory.

Thus your assertion that since he was able to etch Michelangelo (which by the way the top half was drawn by Fuseli) he was capable of a tiger does not follow. More evidence please :-)

P.T. Smith

Just because one can draw (or etch) a person it does not follow that one could draw a tiger.

But if you're allowing that he does indeed draw people very well, then look at the tiger's face. Forget the rest of the drawing and notice the wide eyes, tiny pupils, the worry lines that extend backwards, and the downturned mouth. They are all typical, simplistic, human facial expressions or worry, sorrow, general whimpering.

I'm still trying to understand the association between the two, as somehow I've always read "The Tyger" as less fierce, and somehow more melancholy but had never seen the drawing before.

JPool

Man, I do not like that poem, carzy bow-legged Daniel-Stripped aside.

JPRS

Europeans are just nervous nellies--they freaked out over Beethoven and that train movie, too, and those aren't really scary.

nk

Was Blake attempting to illustrate a tiger? Or was he, instead, attempting to illustrate the poem's allusion that the act of Creation was an act of corruption?

And when the poet threw down his brush
And went out for an all night bash
Did he get a chance to see
The serving wench's dimpled knee?

joXn

Ha. "Likable Wilma" is an even better parody than I had thought! (c.f. http://www.modernhumorist.com/mh/0006/anagram2/ )

Annie

The two books of Songs of Innocence and Experience have to be read consequtively in order to put the Tyger into context. Songs of Experience are contrasting to those of Innocence. Blakes 'Experience' is once the veil of Innocence is corrupted by environment, by carnal knowledge, by cynicism, suspicion and society. The 'innocent' would have depicted the Tyger below, its ideal of what a Tyger looks like. The top Tyger being a metaphor for the ravages of life and effect on a creature normally portrayed as magnificent. As you quite rightly said, his etchings were always intended to be presented with his verse as a signifyer.

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