In my last post, we were left wondering what the “P&S.” or “E&S.” written at the bottom of one of the “Pale desire” manuscript pages could mean. (If you haven’t been keeping up, you can find the first and second installments of our saga here and here.) Well, Sandy and I both took a stab at it.
“Pale desire” is full of abstract concepts personified as gods. These generally breed, dwell together, act in concert, etc.–and so there are multiple references to “Conceit & Emulation,” “Scorn & Slander,” and so on. I wondered if “P&S.”/”E&S.” could be an abbreviated reference to the names of two of these gods and perhaps be part of an abandoned addition. (The abbreviation is not deleted, but Blake sometimes abandons additions without bothering to strike them elsewhere in this manuscript.) To run with my theory– on the page in which the abbreviation appears, there are mentions of Slander, Shame, Strife, Scorn, Self love, and Suspicion (to cover “S”); Pride and Policy (to cover “P”); and Emulation (to cover “E”). I thought it likely that the abbreviation would be “P&S.”, since Emulation is only mentioned in tandem with …read more