A New Interpretation of Four of William Blake's Minor Prophecies: His Use of the "four zoas" as an Organizing Principle

Author: Simmons, Robert E.
This book examines four of Blake's works that use a consistent fourfold imagery and structure based on the four "zoas", or aspects of Albion. Luvah as the zoa of "god" is the state of imgaination in England. Urthona as the zoa of "body" is the physical state of England. Urizen as the zoa of "soul" is the intellectual state of the people of England, and Tharmas as the zoa of "world" is the state of England's relationship to other countries.


"It is the wisdom of half a century of grappling, like Blake's "Laoco├Ân", with the serpents of good and evil in Blake's thought. ... These cover the range of Blake's creative work both early and late, both verbal and visual. They deal with Blake as a Polymath, artist, engraver, printer, thinker and poet." -Prof. G.E. Bentley, University of Toronto

"... provides a clear, systematic account of Blake's conceptual framework and intentions, followed by sample readings, which readers can also use for their own interpretation of Blake's poems and images." -Prof. William Downes, University of Durham

"One of the great pleasures of this book is that it stimulates you [to] keep thinking after you have put it down." - Prof. James D. Benson, University of Toronto

Table of Contents


Foreword by G.E. Bentley


Part One: William Blake's Philosophy and Symbols

Chapter One: Symbol and Structure
Chapter Two: A Metaphysics of the Imagination
Chapter Three: The Symbolism of Eternity
Chapter Four: The Metaphysics of Natural Religion

Part Two: Interpreting Fourfold Texts

Chapter Five: Fall: The Book of Thel (1789)
Chapter Six: Creation: The Book of Urizen (1794)
Chapter Seven: Redemption: "The Mental Traveller" (1803)
Chapter Eight: Judgment: Illustrations of the Book of Job (1826)