Joined: Aug. 2004
||Posted: May 17 2008, 13:22
|Quote (nightspore @ May 17 2008, 16:53)|
|Amusingly, the composer Vaughan Williams had a similar antipathy to the Songs of Innocence. He referred to the "Little Lamb Who Made Thee?" poem as "That beastly little lamb - a poem I hate". He was dismayed when he was commissioned to set the poems to music!|
I'm not surprised. If someone ripped a single Song of Innocence out of its context and somehow was able to present it to me without my recognising it, I'd probably feel the same. It has to be considered as a component of a whole - including the way it integrates and interacts with its illuminated page (not just as a piece of printed text - Blake didn't intend us to see only text), with the other poems in the series, and also with the Songs of Experience. Blake's is a truly composite art - the individual parts tend to fade or die if you isolate them (as people often unwisely do) - but I do feel we're now moving a million miles away from the Millennium Bell, really.
|Such is Derridean textual theory that it's possible to perceive "resonances" in the telephone directory, if you feel so inclined. Yes, established opinion says they're present in the Songs of Innocence, and when you argue with the establishment you obviously have the cards stacked in your favour|
Well, Derrida is probably more responsible than any other human being for the death of the love of literature in modern academic circles, so I certainly wouldn't want to seem allied to him in any way. My comments aren't based on established opinion, but on the personal experience of a near-lifetime's fascination with, and delight in, Blake's art - pursued purely for kicks, really, and to heck with established opinion. Blake's been one of my great personal mentors for decades. I can easily understand why people might glance at a couple of Songs and dismiss them - but they'll fascinate, mystify, move, and delight me, on and off, for the rest of my life. I know I'll never get to the bottom of them. The Millennium Bell (see how I'm desperately trying to stay on topic here), so far, hasn't come very close to having that kind of impact. But then, few things have.
|I guess we'll just have to conclude that I like "Peace on Earth" and you don't.|
Well, that is what it comes down to in the end, I guess. But as I said earlier when I mentioned the PreRaphaelites, I'm pretty sure the difference mostly arises because we have different tolerances in this particular area. One person's poignancy is another person's mawkishness. I'm not saying it's a bad piece of music - my personal response to it is too negative for me to be able to judge it fairly, really. I'm aware that I can't see it clearly because of my own baggage getting in the way, if you like. I think that's mostly what I've been trying (but taking a rather roundabout route) to explain.