« William Blake es uno de los hombres más extraños de la literatura.
Fue el menos contemporáneo de los hombres. »
J. L. Borges
The striving of humans towards God the father is eternal. He deceives. And we believe in it. He disappears. He is restored to the heart of being, in politics. At best, one can just as well bypass it, on the condition that one make use of it. At worst, the nostalgia for patriarchy ends up generating nationalism and racism, for which the direction of feminine jouissance, “outside the machinery of the Oedipus” represents the paradigm. God, Father, Patriarchy, Fatherland, “an ocean of functions, dysfunctions, functionaries and criminals”. Identity and Woke. Nation and Borders. Manipulation of Law and the lawless. Power and War. Mafia and Pope. Silence and Church. We are in the midst of dystopian productions. And Blade Runner will be obsolete, as it was already in 1982, if we think of the debt Ridley Scott owes not only to Milton and Mary Shelley, but also to Blake. From the book America a Prophecy, the poem Fiery the angels rose, transposed into Fiery the angels fell, serves as the film’s incipit. A new world: for Blake’s Puritans, America; for the Americans of the dystopia of 2019, the colonies to come. Blake inspires the Beat generation. Patti Smith sings Tyger. Allen Ginsberg reads it at a frenetic pace. And here is the tiger, an emblem of human cynicism, to whom Blake asks who had the strength to forge “thy fearful symmetry?”
In opposition to the propaganda of the elegant culture of Oxford and Cambridge, Blake did not participate in the rationalist dissent that went from trinitarianism to deism. Other counter-Enlightenment impulses directed him towards “anti-rationalism, which took the form of illumination, Masonic rituals”. Atypical genius, choleric, melancholic, a mystical rebellious spirit as portrayed by Daniel Thierry, his parents realised that he would not be able to follow an ordinary school education. Opposed to capitalism and the possessiveness of marriage, he advocated women’s rights and conceived of love ties on the basis of emotions and drives. This “Liberty boy, […] faithful Son of Liberty”, asserts that “those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained”. His masters: Dürer and Michelangelo.
An avid scholar of the Old and New Testaments, Blake abhorred the moralism of the Church: “Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion”. His God is Satan, more an evil torturer than a killer. A jealous God who abandons: “No father was there” – and whose works and names he traces. Urizen is thus one of the names of the “divine architect”; a name with various etymological hypotheses: your reason; horizon, from the Greek horizein, bound or limit: “Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy”. This is Blake’s cyclical vision of existence, where the shadows of generative Experience encumber luminous innocence and where human reality is an apocalyptic union between infinities and contraries, of which God is the unity.
As a poet and engraver, he splices together writing and drawing in an equilibrium between the word and the image. He does not represent what he sees, but he represents “with, not through, the eye” as a result of terrifying visions since he was a child. “His faculty of seeing, or rather his inability to see anything earthly except as a symbol of a spiritual reality, would have [a] hereditary explanation” the visionary nature of the Celtic grandmother. His brother Robert also contributed to this. In death he speaks to him at night. He is indebted to him in his metaphysics: “I hear his advice and even now I write down what he tells me”.
To nobodaddy. A babbonemo, as translated (in Italian) by Ungaretti, who dedicated “seven lustres” to Blake, and who, quoting Eliot, says: “Blake’s poetry has the unpleasantness of great poetry”. Unrivalled as to the “miracle of the word”, Blake not only sets himself against the philosophy and empirical science of Newton and Locke but subverts established language with neologisms and puns. Nobodaddy appears more than once in his work: in The Little Boy Lost, The Little Boy Found, in the Songs of Innocence and Experience, and in the Rossetti Manuscript, his notebooks: “Then old Nobodaddy aloft Farted and belched and coughed. And said ‘I love hanging and drawing and quartering, Every bit as well as war and slaughtering’”. Blake also makes numerous references to biblical text: For example, Job 26:11: “The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke”. Revelation 6:12: “I watched as he opened the sixth seal.the whole moon turned blood red”. Revelation 9:2: “When he opened the Abyss”… Revelation 9:11: “the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer)”. Abaddòn becomes Nobadada… and in the end: Nobodaddy.
On 12 October 1968, Lacan states: “the scar, left behind by the father’s disappearance under the heading and general notion of segregation […] characterises our century […] that only manages to generate more and more barriers”. The clinic confronts us today with such a scar. A mother points out a star to her child as performing the function of the father: it is too complicated to explain to the child that a cryopreserved spermatozoon has migrated into the ovary. An unprecedented real in the face of which, even if not-all must be left to science, we set ourselves up as repositories of knowledge, as fathers or godfathers, but “docile” to the possible versions of daddy, a daddy nobody, without a body. A wager, provided we know that “nous n’avons plus aucune espèce d’idée, de ce qui pour nous tracerait la voie du Bien”, and that the patria is to be invented sinthomatically.
Blake is not a contemporary. Like psychoanalysts, he is transgenerational.
 Cf. Lacan J., Le Séminaire, Livre XXIII, Le Sinthome, texte établi par J.-A. Miller, Paris, Seuil, 2005, p. 136.
English (trans. Adrian Price, p. 116)
 Miller J.-A., « L’orientation lacanienne. L’Être et l’Un », enseignement prononcé dans le cadre du département de psychanalyse de l’université Paris 8, cours du 2 mars 2011, inédit. Our translation.
 Ceronetti G., Per le strade della Vergine, Adelphi, Milano, 2016. Our translation « un mare di
funzioni, di disfunzioni, di funzionari e di criminali ».
 Blake W., Tyger.
 Thompson E.P., Apocalisse e rivoluzione, R. Cortina, Milano, 1996, p. 176. Our translation. « l’antirazionalismo che prendeva le forme dell’illuminazione, dei rituali massonici ».
 « William Blake (1757-1827), le génie mystique », France culture, 11 décembre 2022, disponible sur internet : https://www.radiofrance.fr/franceculture/podcasts/l-art-est-la-matiere/william-blake-1757-1827-le-genie-mystique-1308237. Our translation.
 Gilchrist A., in Thompson E. P., op. cit., p. 176. Our translation.
 Blake W., The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
 Blake W., Proverbs of Hell.
 Blake W., The Little Boy Lost.
 Blake W., The Voice of the Devil.
 Dodsworth E., Blake W., Il matrimonio del cielo e dell’inferno. Canti d’innocenza e altri poemi, Carabba, Editore, Lanciano, 2011, p. 5.
 Ivi, p. 8-9.
 Blake W., A babbonemo, in Ungaretti G., op. cit., p. 65.
 Ungaretti G., Visioni di William Blake, op. cit., p. 9.
 Blake W., Nobodaddy.
 Nobodaddy : Through the Bottomless Pit, Darkly, By L. Edwin Folsom, https://bq.blakearchieve.org/9.2.folsom.
 All bible references taken from the New International Version.
 Lacan J., “Note sur le père”, La Cause du désir, n°89, 2015, p. 8. Translation by Russell Grigg, The Lacanian Review, “Segregation’s, Desire as Subversion of Identity”, n°3, Spring, 2017, p. 11.
 Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre XXI, « Les non-dupes errent », leçon du 15 janvier 1974, inédit.
Translation: Robyn Adler
Proofreading: Massimo Grassano
Picture : @ Frédéric Swoboda