Life and Work of William Blake
Birth and Education of William Blake
William Blake is a well-known poet in English Literature. He was born in a middle class family of London shopkeepers on 28 November, 1757. His father was not a rich man because he was only an Irish hosier and he did not earn much by this occupation. Blake was admitted to a drawing school, at the age of ten. At the age of seventeen years, he joined apprenticeship as an engraver. Thus he did not get any formal education. During this period he took interest in poetry. He was widely read in philosophy, theology and the theory of art.
Married Life of Blake
William Blake was married to Catherine Boucher at the age of twenty four. He was not happy with in his married life because no child was born to them. He lived a life of isolation and poverty.
Blake’s thoughts as a youth
William Blake rose to be an English poet, painter and engraver. His thoughts were mystic. He developed his own peculiar views about death, heaven, hell etc. He came to believe that there was no eternal punishment after death as was preached by the Christian Church. He also came to believe that death meant a new birth. He did not deny the principles recognised by the authority of the Church. He formed and developed his own mythology. His basic belief was in the oneness of all created things, the lamb and the tiger, the black boy and the white boy.
Black boy ‘Blake’ as a Poet
William Blake had a great interest in poetry from the very beginning of his life. His first collection is consisted of poems that he wrote between twelve and twenty years of age. At first he wrote poems showing ‘reason’ But further he rejected ‘reason’ and adopted “imagination to reach philosophical conclusions. Then he began to write his poems. His poems are simple lyrics but they are difficult to understand because of his personal symbols based on his private mythology and philosophy.
William Blake was a revolutionary poet. He was much ahead of his time. He was one of the pioneers of the romantic revival. Though he was born in the eighteenth century, there is no sign of the influence of Pope on his poetry. Though a Christian, he developed his own personal mythology.
Death of William Blake
Blake, as a poet, spent a life of poverty. His married life was not happy. Being a poor poet, he did not loose his courage and wrote many poems. On 12 August, 1827, he left this world for ever.
Poetic Work of William Blake
William Blake’s earlier poetry is simple, charming and musical. It made him popular all over the world. His short songs and lyrics are contained in three Volumes : Poetical Sketches (1783), Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794). The lyrical quality of Blake’s poetry is best illustrated in these songs. The poems like the marriage of Heaven and Hell, the four Loas, Milton and Jerusalem have common features. They are often called Blake’s prophecies, because in them Blake revealed eternal truths with the help of his powerful imagination.
Blake’s Theory of Imagination-
According to Blake, “The world of imagination is the world of eternity. It is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the vegetated body.” “The real world of the vegetable universe is but a faint shadow of the eternal world.”
William Blake has composed many poems. His main poetic works with the date of their composition are as follows:
- Poetical Sketches (1783)
- Songs of Innocence (1789)
- Book of The Thel (1789)
- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)
- The French Revolution (1791)
- Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793)
- America (1793)
- Songs of Experience (1794)
- Europe- A Prophecy (1794)
- The Book of Urizen (1794)
- The Four Zoas (1795)
- Milton (1804)
- Jerusalem (1804)
- The Ghost Flea (1822)
In this way, we can say that William Blake was a poor man but rich in poetry.
English Literature—Important links
- “Paradise Lost” (Lines 242-272) John Milton | Summary & Analysis
- Critical Appreciation of the poem “Nurse’s Song” (By William Blake)
- Characteristics of John Milton’s Poetry (with reference to Paradise Lost)
- “PARADISE LOST” as an Epic- By John Milton
- Critical appreciation of Paradise Lost- Theme, Styles, Cosmology etc.
- Speeches of Satan in Book I of Paradise Lost (By John Milton)
- Absalom and Achitophel (John Dryden)- Introduction & Summary
- Explanations of Absalom and Achitophel (Line by line analysis)
- Critical appreciation of “The False Achitophel” by John Dryden
- Dryden as a Satirical Poet
- Poetry of Dryden: As Classical Poet, As Versatile Genius etc.
- Alexander Pope’s poetry- Pope as Satirist, Lyricist, Classicist etc.
- “Essay on Man” by Alexander Pope, Epistles II (Complete Explanation)
- Development of English poetry since the age of Shakespeare
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