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ENGLISH 1C06 Lecture Notes - Axis Mundi

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Jeffery Donaldson

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Day 2
January 3/2012
History 1C06
Axis Mundi The Great Chain of Being
Pre-18th century culture/literature: God at the highest
Late 18th Century;
Pre-Romantic Axis Mundi
- William Blake observed that there was a change in foot culturally
- The first writer that wrote about these changes
o The changes of thinking of power and human initiative that operates against them
o The upper world that belongs to the divine order begins to be portrayed more as oppressive
- He understands that the axis mundi was flipping upside down
How can it turn upside down?
- Do we still think of God as above us?
- Powers can ascend from below.
- We begin to discover in the literature (unconsciously) this shift
o We see powers ascending below are seen to be favoured from the powers descending from
o This is a revolutionary initiative
o This begins to be the prized position on the axis
- There is still the possibility of an authority above (but it is seen to be negative now)
o Higher authorities are tended to think of in scepticism
o We now look for our sense of orientation in lower worlds
- The order:
o Higher authority
o The human world (this is where we find ourselves)
o The natural world (the world/environment we know we have neglected)
Post Romantic Axis Mundi
- Alienated world
o Oppressive power over humanity
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