William Blake

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William Blake (1757-1827) was a British poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books. The best-known are the lyrical Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) and his comments on established religion, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and The Everlasting Gospel. His best-known work is the opening lines to his poem Milton, which were set to music by Parry, ironically titled "Jerusalem," and is one of the most popular English hymns. He illuminated his self-published writings, illustrated Dante and Chaucer, and painted singular oils such as The Ghost of a Flea. [1]

He also wrote and illustrated several long epic poems of his own invented mythology. These are some of the most strikingly original works in English literature and art. His work was so different from that of most poets of his time that it was mainly ignored during his lifetime.

Blake belonged to no particular poetic movement, but is now often felt to be one of the earliest and greatest figures of the Romantic movement which flourished in the first half of the nineteenth century. He proclaimed the supremacy of the imagination over the rationalism and materialism of the 18th-century. He joined for a time the Swedenborgian Church of the New Jerusalem in London and considered Newtonian science to be a limitation on the human imagination. Misunderstanding shadowed his career as a writer and artist and it was left to later generations to recognize his importance. William Blake is far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced. The Guardian, UK. Ibidem

Blake was sometimes called mad because of his unusual views on religion and morality, and because he claimed that his work was inspired by visions. He lived in near-poverty most of his life, and when he died he was buried in a common grave.


Beatrice addressing Dante from the Car.

Beatrice addressing Dante from the Car, ca. 1824–27.


Blake, William The Ancient of Days 1794.jpg

The Ancient of Days, 1794.


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