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Strikingly Original Essay

948 words - 4 pages

William Blake, “The earliest and greatest figures of Romanticism,” (Blake 269) was born on November 28, 1757 in London. Blake’s father was a hosier, and Blake was the second of five children. Blake’s education was very little. He attended Henry Pars’ drawing school and was an apprentice for seven years to an engraver. William Blake was an English poet, artist, and philosophers. He combined writing and art together through “illuminated printing” creating original pieces.
William Blake despite very little education went on to create very beautiful pieces. His only grammar school education was Henry Pars’ drawing school he attended at the age of ten. He taught himself to read and write. Blake was an apprentice for seven years under James Basire. Because of Blake’s querulous actions with the other apprentices, he was sent to draw the monuments in Westminster Abbey. After his apprenticeship, Blake attended the Royal Academy as an engraving student. While there he did not like many of the professors, because he felt as if his talent was being wasted. Blake did meet and become friends with John Flaxman, Thomas Stothard, and Henry Fuseli all of who were young artists. With no formal training in writing, Blake published his first collection of poems called Poetical Sketches, poems which contained “a freshness, a purity of vision, and a lyric intensity unequal to English poetry” (Blake 269). Shortly before Blake published his first collection, he married Catherine Boucher, “an illiterate daughter of a market gardener” (Keynes 245). Catherine Boucher was the perfect wife for Blake even though she was childless.

William Blake’s poetry is known for its unique form called “illuminated printing.” This is where the poems are engraved on a metal plate and then hand colored (Shilstone 397). Most of Blake’s poetry was produced in this way except for his first collection, Poetical Sketches. Blake’s poems can be divided into two categories lyrical, and mystical or philosophical. Blake’s first pieces to be produced in this way were There is No Natural Religion and All Religions are One. These two tracts also served as the development of his thoughts for his other poems and writings. In these tracts he challenges the contemporary theories from Locke and the rationalistic-materialistic philosophy and manifests the superiority of imagination. These tracts led to The Book of Thel, The French Revolution, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, and the Songs of Innocence and Experience. Songs of Innocence an Experience, the first “masterpiece of ‘illuminated printing’” (Blake 269). This double collection shows two opposite states of innocence and experience. The Songs of Experience gives ironic answers to the Songs of Innocence. “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are one of the most famous from the songs. “The Lamb” from the Songs of Innocence and “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience...

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