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Gil Dekel. This book offers an important insight into the power of imagination by clearing a prevailing mistake about the English Romantics poets.
The Romantics applied imagination as an effective tool as much as intellect is. Imagination and not intellect is the gate to the spirit world. Imagination operates with material, which is nature. Nature is a symbol of the spiritual. The beauty of nature exemplifies the beauty of the spirit. For imagination to work, one needs to look inside. No tradition or culture can affect the imagination; only an inner look brings imagination to work. To exemplify the act of inner look, the poet stands as an individual, observing inwardly.
The role of the poet in society is to stand as case study. The intellect is a needed tool to communicate and allow one to be critical to the imagination, so not to loose oneself. Here follows a review of this book. The numbers are the page numbers as they appear in the book, for your reference: 2 The Romantics saw the imagination as an experience. The mind is the imagination. Imagination is the source of a spiritual energy, a divine force.
Blake believed that the imagination is Eternity, it is after-life. Imagination is no counterpart to God; they both operate in the human soul. Thus, the creations of the imagination are divine. The Romantics: imagination concerns with a supernatural order. Not in analytical manner, still the poems penetrate life. The English Romantics pursued the imagination as a way to get answers about the spirit.
They wished to convey the mystery through the individual manifestation, thus to show it. Thus, they appealed to the complete self — the intellectual, the senses, the emotions.
Only an individual manifestation of the imagination-experience encompasses the complete self. The poet sought for an immense observation at life, which can be conceived through the singular experience in life. Through the single case we can apprehend something of the vision that the poets had. The spiritual laws differ from the general scientific laws, and need to be introduced through particular examples.
The Romantic poems intended to present moments of visions rendered on single event. They shade new light on nature. All the Romantic poets found initial inspiration in nature, and in nature they found moments when they passed from sight to vision. Imagination operates with material, nature, which at the moment times is mere symbol of the spirit.
At one point, nature will disappear and the spirit will be free to create without it. Until then, man has to take symbols from nature in order to interpret the unseen. The spirit works in all living things. All mundane events have meanings. The seen world and the spirit world are bound. They argued for the oneness of things, as the metaphysics claimed, yet they did not trust in logic but in insight.
Not analytical reason, but a delighted soul, which transcends both the mind and the emotions. Thus they devoted themselves. They were not content to have their own dreams and comforting illusions for themselves, but rather they wanted their creations to be real examples and embodiments of eternal that cannot be presented otherwise than in the individual instances.
Blake believed that the use of allegory and symbols convey the inexpressible super natural world. Poetry itself is not a phenomenal world. The only means to speak of a phenomenal world it is by use of allegory.
The fatherhood of God, to Blake, is equal in rights and privileges. Man lives in God, and God in man. God and imagination are one. Divinity is a creative power of the imagination, of God. Life experiences may be hard, but are needed. The childhood innocence is tested and proved feeble by events in life, which nullify the innocence.
Blake believed that words were dictated to him. Words that come with a force, to which he felt himself in the presence of something larger than man. He indeed took opium but not yet as a habit and only in intervals to get rest and sleep Byron did not believe in transcendental order. Poe thought that imagination can be so concerned with the beyond that is has little to do with actual reality. Dante Gabriel Rossetti searched for other worlds through beauty and love.
Other Romantics in Europe had longing feelings, but not visions. The Romantics did not rely on established traditions, but on inspiration. Maurice Bowra asks: could they exhaust their gifts and then have no tradition to rely upon?
They shed celestial light on objects of the sense and made them an example of the wonderful beyond. In a single moment they saw both the physical object and its eternal significance. They made interpretations of familiar scenes by some everlasting presence, which illuminates and explain it. This defines the English Romantics, and this was achieved through their trust in the imagination that works through the senses to convey something beyond the senses.
The individual physical object or event has a symbol to its unseen timeless life. The transcendental is exemplified in Romantics poetry through the individual physical concrete. Associating the single sensible experience with the undefined superior order. The Romantics wished not to be passive observers, but active agents in this world, making people aware of the higher reality, which sustains the changing visible one.
Dekel leads guided meditations and offers emotional counselling based on the imagination as seen by the Romantics. He completed his PhD research looking at processes of inspiration and creativity, drawing from the English Romantics philosophy and their practical ways of life.
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