Allen Ginsberg’s Blake Vision | Shamsad Mortuza

Allen Ginsberg’s Blake Vision | Shamsad Mortuza

Allen Ginsberg’s Blake Vision
Shamsad Mortuza

Abstract: Allen Ginsberg famously had an auditory hallucination after reading William Blake’s “Ah Sunflower,” “Little Girl Lost,” and “Sick Rose.” He was at Columbia University when he had this “Blake Vision” in the 1940s. Around this time, he befriended William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac and started a poetic circuit called “New Vision.” Members of this group eventually contributed to the emergence of the Beat movement. The purpose of this paper is to identify the mutual influence of these writers who eventually forged a community and looked for new poetic language and expression. While Ginsberg’s interaction with the San Francisco based poets was real, his attachment with Blake remained imaginary. The paper purports to show how Ginsberg appropriated the Romantic Blake as well as negotiated with an intellectual community in his pursuit of “true art.” In other words, the paper revisits the theme of language, literature and community keeping Blake and Ginsberg at its focus.

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Published in December 2015

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