21. blake

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21. blake

  1. 1. William Blake (1757-1827)William Blake in a portrait by Thomas Phillips.
  2. 2. William Blake 1. Life • Born into a family of humble origin in 1757. • Trained as an engraver, he practised this craft until he died. • Deeply aware of the great William Blake, Portrait of Newton, 1795 political and social issues of his age. Only Connect ... New Directions
  3. 3. William Blake 1. Life • A political freethinker, he supported the French Revolution and remained a radical throughout his life. • Strong sense of religion. William Blake, Portrait of Newton, 1795 Only Connect ... New Directions
  4. 4. William Blake 1. Life • The most important literary influence in his life was the Bible. • He claimed he had visions. • Died in 1827. William Blake, Portrait of Newton, 1795 Only Connect ... New Directions 4
  5. 5. William Blake 2. Blake the poet • An individual poet, both in terms of his personal vision and technique. • Contemporary of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. Only Connect ... New Directions
  6. 6. William Blake 2. Blake the poet • Explored the timeless struggle between the role of law and reason and the powers of love and imagination. • Used symbols as part of a deliberate attempt to avoid any kind of realism  it is the “real” world that prevents man from perceiving the greater Reality that lies behind him. Only Connect ... New Directions 6
  7. 7. William Blake 3. Blake the artist • Studied the works of Raphael and Michelangelo  from the latter he learnt the technique of representing exaggerated muscular bodies. • Studied the monuments in the old churches of London, particularly Westminster Abbey. • Later he studied at the Royal Academy of Art. Westminster Abbey Only Connect ... New Directions
  8. 8. William Blake 3. Blake the artist • Connected visual arts and writing, creating “illuminated printing”, a combination of picture and poetic text. He considered the two aspects as a counterpart of each other. • Also made many illustrations for other authors’ works, such as Milton’s Paradise Lost. William Blake, Blossom, 1789 Only Connect ... New Directions
  9. 9. William Blake 3. Blake the artist • Many of his paintings dealt with religious subjects. • Also drew illustrations for the Bible and a cycle of drawings inspired by Dante’s Divine William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job refer Comedy. to a series of 22 engraved prints illustrating the biblical book of Job (published in 1826). Only Connect ... New Directions
  10. 10. William Blake 3. Blake the artist The Ancient of Days The colours are bright and God is represented in an unusual position. His action of measuring the sky means the act of creation, and the clouds and the rays of light that start from Him are symbols of the Divine act. The light is the symbol of energy and divine power. William Blake, The Ancient of Days, 1794 Only Connect ... New Directions
  11. 11. William Blake 3. Blake the artist The Whirlwind of Lovers The subject is taken from Dante’s Commedia: there is pathos and a dramatic representation of the dead souls. The colours are duller and darker than those of the previous picture, and the dynamism of the painting is no longer positive and lively, but pitiful and sad. William Blake, The Whirlwind of Lovers, 1824-1826 Blake’s style in the two pictures is allegorical; he mainly employs curved lines in order to create a dynamic and active sensation. Only Connect ... New Directions
  12. 12. William Blake 4. Blake the prophet • Blake wrote some prophetic books (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, America and Europe). • These books express Blake’s own personal Romantic and revolutionary beliefs. William Blake,Vision of the Daughters of Albion, 1793, London, Tate Gallery. Only Connect ... New Directions
  13. 13. William Blake 4. Blake the prophet • They were published as printed sheets from engraved plates containing prose, poetry and illustrations. The plates were then coloured by Blake himself. William Blake,Vision of the Daughters of Albion, 1793, London, Tate Gallery. Only Connect ... New Directions 13
  14. 14. William Blake 5. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793) • The book describes the poet’s visit to Hell, a device adopted by Blake from Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost. • Unlike that of Milton or Dante, Blake’s Hell is not as a place of punishment, but contrasts with the authoritarian and regulated Heaven. William Blake, Title page of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1794. Only Connect ... New Directions
  15. 15. William Blake 5. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793) • Blake’s purpose was to reveal to his readers the repressive nature of conventional morality and institutional religion. • In the most famous part of the book, the Proverbs of Hell, wisdom is conveyed through provocative and paradoxical proverbs. Their purpose is to energise thought. William Blake, Title page of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1794. Only Connect ... New Directions
  16. 16. William Blake 5. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793) • The book ends with a series of revolutionary prophecies and exhortations urging the different peoples of the world to rebel against religious and political oppression. William Blake, Title page of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1794. Only Connect ... New Directions
  17. 17. William Blake 6. Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) • The central narrative is focused on the female character Oothoon, and on her sexual experience. In this work Blake might have been influenced by Mary Wollstonecrafts A Vindication of the Rights of Women, published in 1792. William Blake, Title page of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1793. Only Connect ... New Directions
  18. 18. William Blake 6. Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) • Oothoon is torn between two men Theotormon, who represents the chaste man, and Bromion, who represents the passionate man, filled with lust. He suddenly rapes Oothoon. William Blake, Title page of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1793. Only Connect ... New Directions
  19. 19. William Blake 6. Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) • The three characters are all imprisoned by the expectations of society. If Theotormon had realized that sex is not illicit, he may have had a happy relationship with Oothoon. Bromion is enslaved by his violent act. William Blake, Title page of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1793. Only Connect ... New Directions
  20. 20. William Blake 6. Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) • Blake has the Daughters of Albion look to the west, to America, because he believed that there was a promise in America that would one day end all forms of discrimination. It was to be in America, that races would live in harmony, and women would be able to claim their own sexuality. William Blake, Title page of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1793. Only Connect ... New Directions
  21. 21. William Blake 7. Complementary opposites Blake believed in the reality of a spiritual world but he thought that “Good and evil, Christianity was responsible for male and female, the fragmentation of reason and consciousness and the dualism imagination, cruelty and kindness” characterising man’s life. So he had a vision made up of complementary opposites. Only Connect ... New Directions
  22. 22. William Blake 7. Complementary opposites “Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love He stated: “without Contraries and Hate are there is no Progression”. necessary to Human Existence” The possibility of progress is situated in the tension between contraries. “The Creator can be The two states coexist in the human at the same time the being and in the Creator. God of love and innocence and the God of energy and violence” Only Connect ... New Directions
  23. 23. William Blake 8. Blake’s Imagination • Blake considered imagination as the means through which Man can know the world. • He did not believe in man’s rationality. For him the representatives of a rationalistic and materialistic philosophy were great heretics, since they denied the value of faith and intuition. Only Connect ... New Directions
  24. 24. William Blake 8. Blake’s Imagination • For him, faith and intuition were the only source of true knowledge and he denied the truth of sensory experience. • The internal mind really builds the external world that man sees. Only Connect ... New Directions
  25. 25. William Blake 9. The poet The poet becomes a sort of prophet who can see more deeply into reality and who also tries to warn man against the evils of society. William Blake in a portrait by Thomas Phillips. Only Connect ... New Directions
  26. 26. William Blake 10. Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) • Songs of Innocence is written in the pastoral mode with simple imagery. It deals with childhood as the symbol of innocence. Cover engraving from the 1826 edition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Only Connect ... New Directions
  27. 27. William Blake 10. Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) • Songs of Experience is more complex and pessimistic. The poems pair those of Songs of Innocence. Cover engraving from the 1826 edition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Only Connect ... New Directions 27
  28. 28. William Blake 10. Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) • The world of innocence is full of joy and happiness, while the world of experience is full of cruelty and injustice. Cover engraving from the 1826 edition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Only Connect ... New Directions 28
  29. 29. William Blake 10. Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) • The child becomes the object of Blake’s poetry because he is closer than the adult to the original state of harmony with nature. Cover engraving from the 1826 edition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Only Connect ... New Directions 29
  30. 30. William Blake 11. Blake’s style Blake uses complex symbolism To him a lamb or a tiger, a chimney sweeper or a However, his language and syntax London street were symbols are simple. He often adopts an of a supra-natural reality; apparently naive style, using a they were never to be taken plain, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary, as at their face value. well as repetitions, refrains and Child  innocence regular stress patterns which are Father  experience typical of ballads and children’s Christ  higher innocence songs and hymns. Only Connect ... New Directions
  31. 31. William Blake 12. The Chimney Sweeper Theme  The exploitation of children. Key images  The cry “weep”, darkness, the Angel. Devices  Symbols of innocence (lamb, happy, dance, sing). Contrast (black/white). Irony to criticize the institution. William Blake, The Chimney Sweeper, in Songs of Innocence and of Experience, 1794. Only Connect ... New Directions
  32. 32. William Blake 13. London Theme  the causes of man’s lack of freedom. Key images  “The mind-forg’d manacles”; three victims: the chimney-sweeper, the soldier and the prostitute. Devices: •Repetitions: “(in) every” and “mark(s)”; •Metaphors: “blackening” contrasts with “appals” (makes pale); •Hyperbole: “runs down in palace walls”. William Blake, London, in Songs of Experience, 1794. Only Connect ... New Directions
  33. 33. William Blake 14. The Lamb Theme  Innocence and the Creation. Key-images  The Lamb, the child, Christ. Devices: •Repeated questions, directed to the Lamb. •Answers given in the second stanza. •Idyllic setting of “stream and mead”. •Image of God like both the “Good shepherd” and “The Lamb of God”. William Blake, The Lamb, in Songs of Innocence, 1789. Only Connect ... New Directions
  34. 34. William Blake 15. The Tyger Theme  God’s power in creation. Key images  The tiger as seen by Blake’s poetic imagination: “fearful symmetry”; “burning bright… fire of thine eyes”. William Blake, The Tyger, 1794, London, British Museum. Only Connect ... New Directions
  35. 35. William Blake 15. The Tyger Devices: •Repeated (rhetorical) questions. •Hammering rhythm (like casting a spell). •Creator presented as a blacksmith. Reference to myth  Icarus and Prometheus. William Blake, The Tyger, 1794, London, British Museum. Only Connect ... New Directions

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