This is the eighth of fifteen parts of The Last War in Albion Chapter Nine, focusing on Alan Moore’s work on V for Vendetta for Warrior (in effect, Books One and Two of the DC Comics collection). An omnibus of all fifteen parts can be purchased at Smashwords. If you purchased serialization via the Kickstarter, check your Kickstarter messages for a free download code.
The stories discussed in this chapter are currently available in a collected edition, along with the eventual completion of the story. UK-based readers can buy it here.
Previously in The Last War in Albion:
One of the major themes of V for Vendetta
is the idea of anarchism, a philosophical movement Moore eventually described in some detail in an essay for Dodgem Logic
, in which he listed various historical forms of the concept.
“Sounds like a wishful past, all jungled over, a heroic run and the what-for of everything fuck simple.” -Alan Moore, Crossed +100
|Figure 613: William Godwin
He turns also to Mikhail Bakunin’s Collectivist Anarchism, with was an important predecessor to Marxism, along with Peter Kropotkin’s rejection of private property, and, more contemporarily, Hakim Bey (who in addition to being an anarchist and pedophilia advocate was an open sorcerer, defining the concept as “the systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness and its deployment in the world of deeds and objects to bring about desired results”). But for the purposes of understanding Blake, perhaps the most important thinker Moore touches upon is William Godwin, whose Political Justice, in Moore’s account, advocated “that the individual act according to his or her individual judgement while allowing every single other individual the same liberty.”
|Figure 614: One of Blake’s illustrations
for Mary Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories
from Real Life. (1791)
Political Justice, more properly titled Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, was published in 1793, the same year as America a Prophecy, and Godwin and Blake traveled in similar circles – Blake did a series of illustrations for Godwin’s future wife Mary Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories from Real Life in 1791, for instance. (Godwin and Wollstonecraft’s daughter, also named Mary, would go on to have a significant career of her own, largely under her married name, acquired from “Ozymandias” poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.) Blake followed Godwin no more than he did any other man, but the intellectual similarities are clear enough.
|Figure 615: The cover for the third issue
of The Northampton Arts Group Magazine,
featuring an iteration of Alan Moore’s concept
for “the Doll.” (c. 1973)
For Moore’s part, at least in terms of V for Vendetta, the most obvious anarchist to mention is Colin Ward, whose Anarchy in Action was first published in 1973, when Moore was working with the Northampton Arts Group, putting out zines while writing spoken word pieces like “Old Gangsters Never Die,” submitting a doomed proposal for “a freakish terrorist in white-face make-up who traded under the name of the Doll and waged war upon a totalitarian state sometime in the late 1980s” to future Starblazer publisher DC Thomson, dreaming up his sci-fi epic Sun Dodgers and the character of Five, “a mental patient of undefined but unusual abilities who had been kept in a particular room, room five,” and meeting Phyllis Dixon, who he quickly married the next year.