William Blake


William Blake was born in London in 1715. He was an engraver and he remained poor all his life. He was very interested at the political and social questions of his age, and he supported the French Revolution. The most important literary influence in his life was the Bible, because it presented a complete vision of the world and its history. He had very few intimate friends such as his wife, Catherine Boucher, that assisted him in the production of his works. When Blake was ten years, his father sent him to a drawing school, where he was influenced from Raphael and Michelangelo. After completing his apprenticeship, he studied at Royal Academy of Art. Blake created a new kind of art in wichh it gives precedence to power of imagination and he combined picture and poetic text called 'illuminated printing'. Blake rejected the neoclassical literary, style and themes, because he stressed the importance of imagination over reason. He wrote two collections of short lyrical verses: 'Song of Innocent'(1789) and 'Song of Experience'(1794). The first is in the pastoral mode and the narrator is a sheperd who received inspiration from a child. In this work childhood as the symbol of innocence, state of the soul connected with happiness, freedom and imagination. The language is simple and musical; in the second there is a more pessimistic view of life and 'experience' is identified with adulthood and coexist with 'innocence'. Blake created a complex personal mythology and invented his symbolic characters to reflect his social interests. The most famous was 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'(1790), a prose work, a mixture of aphorisms and proverbs, in which Hell and Satan represents liberty and energy, and the Heaven is the place of lawgiving. Blake regarded Christianity and the Church as responsible for the fergmentation of consciousness and the dualism characterizing man's life. The poet was consider a sort of prophet who can see more deeply into reality. Blake supported the abolition of slavery and he believed in revolution as purifying violence, necessary for the redemption of man. Blake's poems presents a very simple structure and an individual use of symbols; his verses is linear and rhythmical and he use the frequent repetition.
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