ABSTRACT. Jerusalem (1804–1820), an epic poem of four thousand lines, known to exist in six copies, is by common consent William Blake’s masterpiece, a magnificent complex of epic poetry and illuminated painting (water-colours). This verbal-visual poem contains the fullest account of the personal mythology developed by the British poet, painter and mystic. A Romanian translation has long been due, and we offer it here, together with a critical apparatus (introductory study: Some aspects of William Blake’s cosmogony; and Notes, clarifying both the literary, philosophical, historical, religious-spiritual and scientific context as well as matters of translation) that is necessary in order to make sense of the poetic labyrinth that Blake created here. That no translator has ventured so far to attempt a translation into Romanian is understandable, since the text itself constitutes something of a “linguistic inferno.” This aspect of extreme linguistic difficulty is true also for the other two poems making up Blake’s Prophetic Books, namely Vala, or The Four Zoas (1796–1807) and Milton (1804–1808). We offered already a translation of Vala and of Milton in 2006, at around the bicentennial of their being written (a first version of the translation into Romanian of Vala we published in 1998). We repeat this here and now (although our translation was ready by 2012), with this critical bilingual edition of Jerusalem, published in 2021, so at the time of the bicentennial of Blake’s having finished writing his undisputed masterpiece.

Key words: Romanian translation; epic poetry; prophecy; myth; Druidism; system; romanticism

Stroe MA (2021) William Blake in Romanian translation: Jerusalem – a critical bilingual edition. Creativity 4(2): 247–552. doi:10.22381/C4220217

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University of Bucharest,
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
English Department;
Bucharest, Romania

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