Visionary Theatre—Apocalyptic Images

Susanne M. Sklar

in Blake's Jerusalem As Visionary Theatre

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603145
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731594 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Visionary Theatre—Apocalyptic Images

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The idea of Visionary Theatre arises from seventeenth century approaches to the Book of Revelation, which has affinities with Blake's Jerusalem. This chapter considers what visionary theatre is, and how Blake's poem become more comprehensible when placed in the context of other examples of visionary theatre. John's Apocalypse, esoteric alchemical texts, the writings of Jacob Boehme, and the songs and rituals of the Freemasons help to illuminate the nature of Jerusalem's structure and imagery. Like Masonic initiates, Jerusalem's readers are enjoined to enter into what Blake calls ‘a Sublime Allegory’—and be changed by this. We can be like actors, participating imaginatively in the world of the poem.

Keywords: actor; alchemy; allegory; Book of Revelation; Jacob Boehme; Freemason; visionary theatre

Chapter.  11839 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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