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The Different Faces of God: An Analysis of Poetry by William Blake

Uploaded by bigtrina on Oct 16, 2001

As a child Blake had no formal schooling. He was apprenticed at the age of fourteen by engraver James Basire. In 1779 he began studies at The Royal Academy of Arts, but it was as a journeyman engraver that he was to make his living. When Blake was engraving his own designs, the general public envied him because they were not as creative as he was. Most of Blake’s support came from a small group of artists and friends. Throughout his life booksellers employed Blake to engrave illustrations for a wide variety of publications. Blake printed much of his poetry himself by using engraving methods he created. His method was to produce the text and illustrations for his books on copper plates. His greatest work as an engraver was his series of twenty-one illustrations to the Book of Job that was commissioned by his friend John Linnell. During the twentieth century Blake was one of the greatest engravers since the Renaissance.

During his lifetime, Blake’s work received very little attention, and most of his poetry was never published. When his work was noticed the readers viewed Blake as weird, confused, or mad. One of the purposes of Blake’s art was to change the way people “ see “ and to open up new worlds to them “one continued vision” of what had once been ordinary and common, but would become “imagination itself”. To Kathleen Raine “William Blake is the only English poet whose central theme is the confrontation of imagination”. Blake’s most famous statement about his art is “ I will create a system or be enslaved by another man ‘s”. Blake also provided illustrations for most of his poems. William Blake first published the Songs of Innocence in 1789. In 1794, these songs and the Songs of Experience were issued together in one volume, with a title page promising a demonstration of “ the two Contrary States of the Human Soul”. According to Blake’s nineteenth-century biographer Alexander Gilchrist, “ the poet and his wife did everything in making the book ( Songs of Innocence)- writng, designing, printing, engraving- everything except manufacturing the paper...Never before surely was a man so literally the author of his own book” (Gilchrist). The state of “Innocence” is of genuine love and naive trust toward all humankind, accompanied by unquestioned belief in Christian doctrine. The state of “Experience” is the profound disillusionment with human nature and...

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Uploaded by:   bigtrina

Date:   10/16/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   14 pages (3,222 words)

Views:   1939

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