"In Love with the Productions of Time": A Study of the Treatment of Time and Eternity in William Blake's Prophetic Works
Summary, in English
Eternity and time are central concepts within the Prophetic Works. In the Prophetic universe, eternity is defined as a positive state of infinite potentiality, whereas time is depicted as a state founded on the exclusion of possibilities; hence, the existence of the human mind in time rather than in eternity severely limits the sum of his existence. Viewed as a whole, the Prophetic cycle can be seen as an extended attempt to reconciliate man’s awareness of his nature as an “eternal” being with his actual existence as a body in time. Within the poems, this conflict can be discerned on a symbolical, philosophical, as well as a linguistic level, and has repercussions in the Prophetic universe that are felt in almost every area of life. Throughout the majority of the cycle, the aforementioned conflict manifests itself as a struggle against the constraints of time and an attempt to reinstate the conditions of eternity to the greatest degree possible. By the end of the cycle, however, the goal has shifted to become the creation of a necessary synthesis between the two.