William Blake - Life and themes
William Blake is a revolutionary artist in all the fields, not just, in art and poetry, but for example also in politics, supporting the independence revolution in France and America. Blake was an innovator, in fact he didn’t just write poems, but he also accompanied them with some engravings, which perfectly represented the poem (he was both an engraver and a poet). He created a relation between the poem and the engraving, none of the two can be read without the other.
His two most famous collections are Songs of Innocence which was published in 1789 and Songs of experience published in 1794. The two collections are strictly connected, in fact they represent the two ways to see the world Blake has before and after the French revolution. Things in those years changed for the worst, in fact after the French revolution there was the coming of the period of Terror, under Robespierre, and the failure of revolutionary ideals. Before these events Blake has an ideal of a nearly perfect world, where everyone is equal and perfect, then everything changes and he loose his confidence in the world. This fact is perfectly represented in Songs of Experience, because not he has lost his confidence the only thing he has is his experience and he’s pessimist. Lots of poems are present in both the collections, even with the same title, but the subject is seen under a more critical and pessimist point of view (e.g. The Tyger; The Lamb).
The image in Blake is very important because the summoning power of them is at the bases of the Blake's poetry.