Essay on The Dark Satanic Mills, By Nathaniel Hawthorne
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England 's green and pleasant land. (Blake preface.33-44)
During the industrial revolution, the world was going through rapid changes. Some, like William Blake did not just blindly accept the new changes and technologies. Instead, Blake holds this advancement to a higher standard. Namely, he juxtaposes the “Satanic mills” to the resplendent purity of Jerusalem and finds those mills lacking (Preface. 33-44). Blake desires England, his home, to be rid of the unrestrained “Satanic mills” and become more like holy Jerusalem (Preface.36).
Indeed, it is this very denunciation of unbridled and ultimately destructive scientific advance that the American author Nathaniel Hawthorne argues against. He refuses to naïvely accept the enlightenment’s shift to a purely “scientific” worldview. As an article in the journal The New Atlantic puts it:
“… Hawthorne brought… moral imagination to bear on the modern scientific enterprise – its ends, its means, its animating impulses. With the Industrial Revolution well underway, science and technology seemed to have near-limitless potential. While some of his contemporaries worried about soulless mechanization, Hawthorne detected that science had not entirely escaped the clouds of sorcery that had clung…