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William Blake

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Danny Rosenberg

on 21 February 2013

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Transcript of William Blake

Sophia Hill and
Danny Rosenberg 1757 – 1827 Romantic Age in England Earth raised up her head
From the darkness dread and drear,
Her light fled,
Stony, dread,
And her locks covered with grey despair.

'Prisoned on watery shore,
Starry jealousy does keep my den
Cold and hoar;
Weeping o're,
I hear the father of the ancient men.

'Selfish father of men!
Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!
Can delight,
Chained in night,
The virgins of youth and morning bear? Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past & Future sees,
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk'd among the ancient trees,

Calling the lapsed Soul,
And weeping in the evening dew,
That might controll
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!

'O Earth, O Earth return!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.

'Turn away no more.
Why wilt thou turn away?

The starry floor,
The wat'ry shore,
Is giv'n thee till the break of day.' "Introduction" "Earth's Answer" William Blake November 28, 1757 – August 12, 1827
No formal schooling as a child
Enrolled at the age of 10 in Pars' drawing school
Began writing poetry at the age of 12
Studied engraving and eventually became a professional engraver
Blake often used a medieval technique called "illuminated writing." Blake produced his text and design on a copper plate that he then dipped in acid. The plate could be used to print on paper. He would hand color his final copies. Illuminated Writing Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience two poem series
title page announces that the poems show "the two Contrary States of the Human Soul."
"Songs of Innocence" focuses on pleasure, while "Songs of Experience" focuses on troubles and the importance of wisdom
Uses frequent and simple rhyming
Simple language, significant subject matters
Short lines, nursery rhyme quality

politics, revolution, philosophy
the faults of organized religion Blake "neither wrote nor drew for the many, hardly for work'y-day men at all, rather for children and angels; himself 'a divine child,' whose playthings were sun, moon, and stars, the heavens and the earth."
-Alexander Gilchrist , "Life of William Blake" early life Earth raised up her head
From the darkness dread and drear,
Her light fled,
Stony, dread,
And her locks covered with grey despair.

'Prisoned on watery shore,
Starry jealousy does keep my den
Cold and hoar;
Weeping o're,
I hear the father of the ancient men.

'Selfish father of men!
Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!
Can delight,
Chained in night,
The virgins of youth and morning bear?


'Does spring hide its joy,
When buds and blossoms grow?
Does the sower
Sow by night,
Or the plowman in darkness plough?

'Break this heavy chain,
That does freeze my bones around!
Selfish, vain,
Eternal bane,
That free love with bondage bound.'

-William Blake personification of Earth as female: "Mother Earth," also evokes sympathy
alliteration, assonance. Earth's light has been replaced by darkness

short lines emphasize "stony" and "dread," gives a slow feeling
devoid of color and vitality

Earth has no power, but is rather imprisoned in a materialistic world
"jealousy" is source of misery. Earth becomes a "my," a speaker
hoar: grayish white; gray with age; frosty

"father of the ancient men" is God

apostrophe

Selfishness and sins stifle delight, creativity, and youth
"chained" goes with "'prisoned," used earlier
"youth" and "morning" are synonymous


Spring, like everything in the natural world, has no boundaries, no reason to be repressed. The Earth argues that something as natural as sex should not be hidden away, but freely and openly embraced.



Unnatural ideals and beliefs of society



Love has both sexual and spiritual meanings; jealousy is the "bondage" a
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contrast of night and darkness v. day night is stifling, evil. day is youthful, optimistic.
imprisonment - Earth is vulnerable and is imprisoned by God.
religion - allusions to Garden of Eden, sin, disobedience of God, Adam and Eve.
Political Context
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "The Social Contract"
French Revolution and American War of Independence
Tom Paine,"The Rights of Man" Possibly a reference to Rousseau's "The Social Contract:" ‘Man was born free but everywhere is found in chains.’ Earth's Answer Romanticism
Artistic/Literary Movement, End of 18th Century
Revolt against social norms of the Age of Enlightenment
Liberalism, Radicalism, and Nationalism
Emphasis on strong emotions Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, by Caspar David Friedrich, 1818. German artist Caspar David Friedrich was a quintessential Romantic artist, and this is a quintessential Romantic painting. It conveys both the infinite potential and possibilities of man and the awesome, mysterious grandeur of nature. Wanderer Above Sea of Fog, Casper David Friedrich, 1818 Blake's Style Subjects of Poetry The End! 'Does spring hide its joy,
When buds and blossoms grow?
Does the sower
Sow by night,
Or the plowman in darkness plough?

'Break this heavy chain,
That does freeze my bones around!
Selfish, vain,
Eternal bane,
That free love with bondage bound.'

-William Blake Songs of Experience "Shall I call him Artist or Genius or Mystic or Madman? Probably he is all."
- Henry Crabbe Robinson, journalist Lived in London in poverty for almost his entire life
Poet, painter, printmaker - Romanticism
Married Catherine Boucher in 1782
Strongly influenced by society and revolution
Considered insane by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views
Later Life Sandel, Adam. "Blake's Religious Outlook." Cross-ref-it Information. Reference Information, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Adams, Hazard. William Blake: A Reading of the Shorter Poems. Seattle: U of Washington. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.


Bloom, Harold, Blake's Apocalypse: A Study in Poetic Argument. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.


Frye, Northrop. "Blake's Introduction to Experience" William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience." Web. 20 Feb. 2013.


Gleckner, Robert F. The Piper and the Bard: A Study of William Blake. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.



Bibliography
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