Art and Images in Psychiatry |

The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60(3):229. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.60.3.229.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


WILLIAM BLAKE'S (1757-1827) last and perhaps most beautiful illustrations were his 102 drawings and 9 etchings for Dante's Divine Comedy. Blake was commissioned to do them after finishing his engravings of The Book of Job.1 Blake's illustrations, rather than his poems, may be his most enduring legacy. At age 67 years, he taught himself medieval Italian in preparation for illustrating The Divine Comedy. Blake is mostly true to Dante's story, although he is in dialogue with him and brings his own religious views to the task, shown by his marginal notes on the illustrations.2,3 Because Blake reported religious visions, those who did not know him well sometimes questioned his sanity; his defenders, however, thought the visions were the products of an active imagination. Indeed, Blake saw the imagination as the spiritual sense.

Figures in this Article


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview


Place holder to copy figure label and caption

William Blake (1757-1827), English. The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides, 1824-1827. Illustration to Hell, Canto 13 of Dante's Divine Comedy. Watercolor. Copyright Tate Gallery, London/Art Resource, NY.

Graphic Jump Location




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Related Topics