The Notebook of William Blake

Copyright © The British Library Board
Copyright © The British Library Board

Copyright © The British Library Board
Copyright © The British Library Board

N50
“This folio is one of the most closely filled in the notebook. In the centre, we see a naked figure of a man, on the point of stabbing himself with a dagger held in his right hand. In a later emblem in the notebook, Blake suggests that those who take their own lives cannot go to heaven, yet here the man is turning his face towards heaven with a hopeful – and possibly ironic – gaze.”

Copyright © The British Library Board
Copyright © The British Library Board

N99 & N98
“We see workings here of several poems for which the notebook has been rotated to enter fair copies of poems. We see workings here of several poems, including ‘Several Questions Answerd’ in the top left, with lines salvaged from previous drafts in the notebook (see N103). To the right of this poem, ‘Let the Brothels of Paris be opened’ is a strongly felt criticism of the overindulgent French monarchy. The poet’s attack on Marie Antoinette in the final stanza (‘The Queen of France just touchd this Globe And the Pestilence darted from her robe’) distorts Edmund Burke’s romantic description of the French Queen and Court in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790): ‘surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision.'”

Copyright © The British Library Board
Copyright © The British Library Board

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