The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' Summary
It opens with an introduction of a short poem "Rintrah roars and shakes his fires in the burden'd air".
William Blake claims that John Milton was a true poet and his epic poem Paradise Lost was "of the Devil's party without knowing it." He also claims that Milton's Satan was truly his Messiah.
The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical ferment and political conflict during the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell, published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake in several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral strictures and his Manichaean view of good and evil led Blake to express a deliberately depolarized and unified vision of the cosmos in which the material world and physical desire are equally part of the divine order; hence, a marriage of heaven and hell. The book is written in prose, except for the opening "Argument" and the "Song of Liberty". The book describes the poet's visit to Hell, a device adopted by Blake from Dante's Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost.
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