Memorable Quotations: William Blake
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William Blake (1757–1827) was an English poet and artist who wielded a great influence on English romanticism. His first book, Poetical Sketches (1783), was the only one published traditionally during his life. With the assistance of his wife, Catherine Boucher, he illustrated and published all his other major poetry himself. Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794), containing “The Lamb,” “The Tyger,” and “London,” are written from a child's point of view. Blake was a visionary and a mystic, and in his “Prophetic Books,” including The Book of Thel (1789), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (c.1790), Milton (1804–8), and Jerusalem (1804–20), he invented his own mythology in which love, energy, and imagination struggle with the forces of reductive rationalism and repression. Blake's paintings and engravings, principally his illustrations of his own works, works by Milton, and the Book of Job, are realistic in their portrayal of human anatomy and other natural forms, but also brilliantly imaginative, often illustrating imaginary creatures in exacting detail. All of Blake's works were disregarded or rejected until long after his death.
Carol Dingle is a former English teacher, USO director, business owner, and world traveler.
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