The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Read by Nick Duncan

(4.4 stars; 69 reviews)

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical foment and political conflict immediately after the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral structures and his Manichean view of good and evil led Blake to express a deliberately depolarized and unified vision of the cosmos in which the material world and physical desire are equally part of the divine order, hence, a marriage of heaven and hell. The book is written in prose, except for the opening "Argument" and the "Song of Liberty". The book describes the poet's visit to Hell, a device adopted by Blake from Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost. (Summary by Wikipedia) (0 hr 41 min)


Marriage of Heaven and Hell 41:30 Read by Nick Duncan



(5 stars)

I have listened to this one a hell of a lot before I found this app. This is one of Blake's best work and Nick Duncan did a fantastic job reading this book. In short, I like all that he reads.

(3 stars)

Easy to listen to and short. The genius of William Blake is in his seemingly effortless writing style. His words glide off the page like ballerinas pirouetting across the stage, harmoniums, graceful, sublime. In this book Blake surreptitiously takes the reader (in)to the realm of equanimity, even though the subject matter is that of the devil, hell, heaven, angels, and angels becoming devils. Despite all this - all is well. As I listened to this recording I slowly lost myself in Blake’s prose. Everything around me become a foggy mirage and incoherent street noises were echoing aimlessly in space around me. For such a short work this book exerted a hypnotic effect on me. I was surprised that it ended so soon and, I craved for more. Now, what do I think of this book? In my opinion this work is dated. There is nothing revolutionary or outrageously sacrilegious about it in today’s world. I recognize that in reference to this book my opinion has little merit, if any. The reason is that William Blake wrote this book in response to Emanuel Swedenborg’s work titled “Heaven and Hell.” I have not read any of Swedenborg’s works therefor my analysis of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is incomplete. Nevertheless, this work is worth reading. The narrator did a superb job presenting this work to the listener. Absolutely superb.

energy is life & soul of the sacred

(5 stars)