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The Romantic Period of William Blake

William Blake was an English poet, painter, and engraver. He was almost unrecognized during his lifetime, but today Blake is thought an important figure in the history of poetry and visual arts of the Romantic era.

Blake’s critics noted expression and philosophical and mystical depth of his works. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as romantic or as a pre-romantic. He was the follower of the Bible, but the opponent of the Church of England. The ideals of the French and American revolutions influenced Blake. Although he later became disillusioned in many of these political views; he maintained friendly relations with the political activist Thomas Payne and also has been influenced by the philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg.

William Blake is considered the founder of Romanticism in English literature. His poems were published posthumously. The first edition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience refers to 1839. In the 60s of the 19th century, interest to the poetry of Blake arose again in the literary circles.

There is an obvious connection with the educational literature in the works of Blake. This is reflected in the statement of the human’s right to happiness and the recognition of the powerful impact of ideas on human consciousness. But a new romantic beginning is seen in condemning the rectilinear-rationalist approach to reality.

Romantic poetry of Blake contains large philosophical generalizations covering the fate of the world. Angered by social injustice the poet requires an active attitude to life. The poetry of Blake is boiling passions and feelings.

Exposer of the official church, Blake was not, however, an atheist. Criticizing both the Christian religion and deism, he preached the religion of humanity. Blake has been associated with the London Correspondent Society and talked with the leaders of the progressive movement.

Radical sentiments of the poet are expressed in the folk ballad King Gwin. The theme of the ballad is a popular uprising against the tyranny of King Gwin. Ballad sounds as a stern warning to all kings.

During the French Revolution, Blake created his best collections of poetry Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Blake considered these collections as a part of a single cycle, as the image of two opposite states of the human soul.

Songs of Innocence reveal the poetic nature of the direct and trusting perception of life. The main characters of this collection are children. The poems are imbued with the mood of joy and happiness. Bright emotions of Songs of Innocence are confronted with sad and bitter feelings of Songs of Experience, opening the other side of existence.

William Blake was an English poet, painter, and engraver. He was almost unrecognized during his lifetime, but today Blake is thought an important figure in the history of poetry and visual arts of the Romantic era.

Blake’s critics noted expression and philosophical and mystical depth of his works. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as romantic or as a pre-romantic.

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CREATED ON
3 September 2016
COMPLETED ON
5 September 2016
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