William Blake, Again

b0c7a2d1-f388-478b-87d2-38e221712746-680x1020In a comment, lief just reminded me that earlier this week, @RCArmitage favorited a link to a Guardian article, titled Me and William Blake.

When he was working as Lucas North on Spooks, Richard Armitage disclosed in an interview by Vulpes Libris, that he was  currently reading Peter Ackroyd’s  biography of William Blake.  Published 10 years earlier, Armitage’s choice might have been driven by his Spooks character, whose chest was tattooed with the same image as shown in Blake’s painting,  Ancient of Days, above. I wrote about this early on  https://armitageagonistes.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/that-darn-tat-the-lucas-northwilliam-blake-case-revisited/.Lucas North Ancient of Days Tatoo

TheGuardian article was occasioned by a gallery showing of Blake’s fine art, but the writer, Philip Pullman, focuses on Blake’s literary works, not his art, and specifically how the author’s life and view of himself altered when he discovered William Blake. He opens,

Sometimes we find a poet, or a painter, or a musician who functions like a key that unlocks a part of ourselves we never knew was there.  .     .       .     .   It’s a more visceral, physical sensation than that, and it comes most powerfully when we’re young. Something awakes that was asleep, doors open that were closed, lights come on in all the windows of a palace inside us, the existence of which we never suspected.

Philip Pullman asserts that it is mostly in youth when we’re struck by some artist, whether writer, painter or musician, who has a life changing affect on us – but his words called to mind a large group of non-youths I “know,” who all claim to have been unlocked, awakened, sent through, by a certain actor, who once sported a William Blake on his chest.

And who, if anyone, was the “key” for that certain actor, I wonder?

8 thoughts on “William Blake, Again

  1. Fascinating! One of my fandom preoccupations is compiling a list of books My Guy is known to have read. The Hindsian Library is a fairly substantial one, and I believe that it provides precious clues to his personality. Does Mr. Armitage often mention what he’s been reading?

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    • Beyond what’s mentioned in the Vulpes Libris interview that Perry links to, he’s also talked about his love of Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita (not surprising since it’s full of the good vs evil he seems to like). I thought it was funny that he spoke of The Goldfinch since his buddy Lee Pace had just tweeted about reading that 2-3 months ago…wondered if Pace had recommended it (though obviously it’s been quite popular anyway).

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  2. I was hugely disappointed in The Goldfinch. It took me forever to get through it. Descriptive parts of it reminded me of Catcher in the Rye, and Big Lights, Big City – and that, I liked. I thought some of the character sketches and small subplots were catching. In terms of plot, I’ve found that I like stories using a a painting or other objet d’art as connective tissue or a symbolic element ( Proust, The Source, (Michener) The World to Come ( Dara Horn), even People of the Book – though mediocre, – but The Goldfinch left me cold and annoyed – in part – because I was was confused between the real and the surreal, and I’m not sure the surreal was intended.

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    • Not that I go by the opinions of others, esp when it comes to books, but so many of my “book friends” whose views I respect disliked The Goldfinch – to my surprise given how popular it is – that I haven’t bothered with it. But many are quite taken with it, so there you go. I note that RA mentioned the book again in the French Twitter interview today.

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  3. Pingback: Francis Dolarhyde: Butt Pinch | Armitage Agonistes

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