WILLIAM BLAKE:an introduction 20/10/2019
BORN LONDON 1857 1774: apprentice engraver 1789 Songs of Innocence//French Revolution 1794 Songs of Experience 1827 Dies WILLIAM BLAKE:
His Life: • No formal schooling • Married 1782, no children • A “dissenting” Christian: he refused to follow the laws laid down by the Church of England, whilst remaining a Christian. • A supporter of both American independence and the French Revolution. • Not so much anti-monarchist as a supporter of freedom wherever he found it.
Historical Context • 1776: America wins independence • 1789: French Revolution starts • Blake is drawn to write in protest against the state of England and in support of the revolutionaries. At one stage he was tried for treason. Though acquitted it sets the tone for his life. • The Industrial Revolution led to a rise of wage-slavery and a break down of a traditional way of life throughout the country. • Romanticism is developed allowing the voice of the individual artist to be heard and to show genuine emotion.
Education: • Self-taught, his major sources are the Bible and the works of Milton. • Despised “official art” and classicism:
Innocence and experience • Innocence: for children or child-like? • Experience: adulthood? Reality?