Asked • 04/20/19

What are the "dark Satanic mills" in Blake's Jerusalem?

The short poem *Jerusalem* by William Blake - not to be confused with his much longer epic poem of the same title; I'm talking about the "did those feet in ancient times" one - contains the following lines: > And did the Countenance Divine, Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here, Among these dark Satanic Mills? **What are the "dark Satanic Mills"?** The obvious, and most literal, interpretation would be that they're meant to be the industrial mills which were appearing all over England around the time Blake wrote this poem, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. But I've heard other theories, such as that they're meant to represent churches (Blake was a "radical Christian" who had little time for the established church) or even the academic institutions of Oxford and Cambridge. I'm interested in seeing evidence for different interpretations here.

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John C. answered • 07/20/19

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