William Blake and His Literary Works as a Reflection of the Author’s World Outlook
Looking for materials on William Blake (1757-1827), one can find over 70 000 books and articles about this author on Internet, numerous editions of his works on libraries all over the world, innumerable publications in anthologies. What is so remarkable about an author, who a) had been noticed mainly as an engraver and was not praised as an author of literary works like now, b) had been regarded almost mad for his ideas expressed in his literary works during his life and who c) borrowed many ideas of Swedenborg, who, on his turn, had been considered to be even more insane?
William Blake is even mentioned in such an edition as “Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience”, in which we cannot find any of the rest of “Big Six” romanticists (which have been – note! - “Big Five” without Blake initially). If William Blake has appeared among these “Big Six”, then it is mainly a question of development of ideas in all the society, which can understand him better now than during his own lifetime. It means, we need to see, what the poet, engraver, artist William Blake’s – ideas have been, and it can be best done by investigating his works. As a format of a six page essay does not allow to cover all of the author’s contribution, it is more convenient to choose William Blake’s poetry for this purpose.
The most popular of W. Blake’s works are “Songs of Innocence” (1789) and “Songs of Experience” (1994). As we see, a five years long period had passed between publishing of these two works. It would be necessary to mention also other works published during this period: “The Book of Thel” (1789), Tiriel (written and illustrated, though left unpublished – a symbolic narrative of parental tyranny that heralds later work), “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” (about 1793, begun on 1790); first of Lambeth Books: “Visions of the Daughters of Albion” (1793), then “America”, “For Children: The Gates of Paradise” (1793). We should mention also works published before “The Songs of Innocence”, because “There is no Natural Religion” (1788) and “All Religions are One” (1788) already expresses the author’s ideas about religion, the order of world and things, which were developed in W. Blake’s works further. (1; lvi-lviii)…
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