Thus, the emphasis orthodoxy places upon the denial of bodily urges is a dualistic error born of misapprehension of the relationship between body and soul.
Elsewhere, he describes Satan as the "state of error", and as beyond salvation. Blake opposed the sophistry of theological thought that excuses pain, admits evil and apologises for injustice. He abhorred self-denial,  which he associated with religious repression and particularly sexual repression : . Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.
He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence. He saw the concept of "sin" as a trap to bind men's desires the briars of Garden of Love , and believed that restraint in obedience to a moral code imposed from the outside was against the spirit of life:. He did not hold with the doctrine of God as Lord, an entity separate from and superior to mankind;  this is shown clearly in his words about Jesus Christ: "He is the only God Blake had a complex relationship with Enlightenment philosophy.
His championing of the imagination as the most important element of human existence ran contrary to Enlightenment ideals of rationalism and empiricism. This mindset is reflected in an excerpt from Blake's Jerusalem :. Blake believed the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds , which depict the naturalistic fall of light upon objects, were products entirely of the "vegetative eye", and he saw Locke and Newton as "the true progenitors of Sir Joshua Reynolds' aesthetic".
Blake saw an analogy between this and Newton's particle theory of light. It has been supposed that, despite his opposition to Enlightenment principles, Blake arrived at a linear aesthetic that was in many ways more similar to the Neoclassical engravings of John Flaxman than to the works of the Romantics, with whom he is often classified.
Since his death, William Blake has been claimed by those of various movements who apply his complex and often elusive use of symbolism and allegory to the issues that concern them. The 19th-century "free love" movement was not particularly focused on the idea of multiple partners, but did agree with Wollstonecraft that state-sanctioned marriage was "legal prostitution" and monopolistic in character.
It has somewhat more in common with early feminist movements  particularly with regard to the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, whom Blake admired. Blake was critical of the marriage laws of his day, and generally railed against traditional Christian notions of chastity as a virtue. Poems such as "Why should I be bound to thee, O my lovely Myrtle-tree?
Visions of the Daughters of Albion is widely though not universally read as a tribute to free love since the relationship between Bromion and Oothoon is held together only by laws and not by love. For Blake, law and love are opposed, and he castigates the "frozen marriage-bed". In Visions , Blake writes:. Till she who burns with youth, and knows no fixed lot, is bound In spells of law to one she loathes? In the 19th century, poet and free love advocate Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote a book on Blake drawing attention to the above motifs in which Blake praises "sacred natural love" that is not bound by another's possessive jealousy, the latter characterised by Blake as a "creeping skeleton".
In the early 20th century, Pierre Berger described how Blake's views echo Mary Wollstonecraft's celebration of joyful authentic love rather than love born of duty,  the former being the true measure of purity. As a theological writer, Blake has a sense of human "fallenness". Foster Damon noted that for Blake the major impediments to a free love society were corrupt human nature, not merely the intolerance of society and the jealousy of men, but the inauthentic hypocritical nature of human communication.
Pierre Berger also analyses Blake's early mythological poems such as Ahania as declaring marriage laws to be a consequence of the fallenness of humanity, as these are born from pride and jealousy. Some scholars have noted that Blake's views on "free love" are both qualified and may have undergone shifts and modifications in his late years.
Some poems from this period warn of dangers of predatory sexuality such as The Sick Rose. Blake's later writings show a renewed interest in Christianity, and although he radically reinterprets Christian morality in a way that embraces sensual pleasure, there is little of the emphasis on sexual libertarianism found in several of his early poems, and there is advocacy of "self-denial", though such abnegation must be inspired by love rather than through authoritarian compulsion.
Berger believes the young Blake placed too much emphasis on following impulses,  and that the older Blake had a better formed ideal of a true love that sacrifices self. Some celebration of mystical sensuality remains in the late poems most notably in Blake's denial of the virginity of Jesus's mother.
However, the late poems also place a greater emphasis on forgiveness, redemption, and emotional authenticity as a foundation for relationships. Northrop Frye , commenting on Blake's consistency in strongly held views, notes Blake "himself says that his notes on [Joshua] Reynolds, written at fifty, are 'exactly Similar' to those on Locke and Bacon, written when he was 'very Young'.
Even phrases and lines of verse will reappear as much as forty years later. Consistency in maintaining what he believed to be true was itself one of his leading principles Consistency, then, foolish or otherwise, is one of Blake's chief preoccupations, just as 'self-contradiction' is always one of his most contemptuous comments".
Blake abhorred slavery  and believed in racial and sexual equality. Several of his poems and paintings express a notion of universal humanity: "As all men are alike tho' infinitely various ". In one poem, narrated by a black child, white and black bodies alike are described as shaded groves or clouds, which exist only until one learns "to bear the beams of love":.
When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy: Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear, To lean in joy upon our fathers knee. And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, And be like him and he will then love me.
Blake retained an active interest in social and political events throughout his life, and social and political statements are often present in his mystical symbolism. His views on what he saw as oppression and restriction of rightful freedom extended to the Church. His spiritual beliefs are evident in Songs of Experience , in which he distinguishes between the Old Testament God, whose restrictions he rejected, and the New Testament God whom he saw as a positive influence.
From a young age, William Blake claimed to have seen visions. The first may have occurred as early as the age of four when, according to one anecdote, the young artist "saw God" when God "put his head to the window", causing Blake to break into screaming.
Though all evidence suggests that his parents were largely supportive, his mother seems to have been especially so, and several of Blake's early drawings and poems decorated the walls of her chamber. Blake claimed to experience visions throughout his life.
They were often associated with beautiful religious themes and imagery, and may have inspired him further with spiritual works and pursuits. Certainly, religious concepts and imagery figure centrally in Blake's works.
God and Christianity constituted the intellectual centre of his writings, from which he drew inspiration. Blake believed he was personally instructed and encouraged by Archangels to create his artistic works, which he claimed were actively read and enjoyed by the same Archangels. In a letter of condolence to William Hayley , dated 6 May , four days after the death of Hayley's son,  Blake wrote:. I know that our deceased friends are more really with us than when they were apparent to our mortal part.
Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination.
I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate. I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. Aware of Blake's visions, William Wordsworth commented, "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott. Blake's work was neglected for a generation after his death and almost forgotten by the time Alexander Gilchrist began work on his biography in the s.
The publication of the Life of William Blake rapidly transformed Blake's reputation, in particular as he was taken up by Pre-Raphaelites and associated figures, in particular Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Algernon Charles Swinburne.
In the twentieth century, however, Blake's work was fully appreciated and his influence increased. Important early and mid twentieth-century scholars involved in enhancing Blake's standing in literary and artistic circles included S. Erdman and G. Bentley Jr. While Blake had a significant role to play in the art and poetry of figures such as Rossetti, it was during the Modernist period that this work began to influence a wider set of writers and artists. William Butler Yeats , who edited an edition of Blake's collected works in , drew on him for poetic and philosophical ideas,  while British surrealist art in particular drew on Blake's conceptions of non-mimetic, visionary practice in the painting of artists such as Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland.
Many such as June Singer have argued that Blake's thoughts on human nature greatly anticipate and parallel the thinking of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung. In Jung's own words: "Blake [is] a tantalizing study, since he compiled a lot of half or undigested knowledge in his fantasies. According to my ideas they are an artistic production rather than an authentic representation of unconscious processes.
Blake had an enormous influence on the beat poets of the s and the counterculture of the s , frequently being cited by such seminal figures as beat poet Allen Ginsberg , songwriters Bob Dylan , Jim Morrison ,  Van Morrison ,   and English writer Aldous Huxley. Canadian music composer Kathleen Yearwood is one of many contemporary musicians that have set Blake's poems to music.
After World War II, Blake's role in popular culture came to the fore in a variety of areas such as popular music, film, and the graphic novel , leading Edward Larrissy to assert that "Blake is the Romantic writer who has exerted the most powerful influence on the twentieth century. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 30 January For other people named William Blake, see William Blake disambiguation.
English poet and artist. Blake in a portrait by Thomas Phillips Catherine Boucher m. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: William Blake in popular culture. Blake died in with work on these illustrations still unfinished.
Of the watercolours, 7 had been selected for engraving. Peter Abbs July The London Magazine : 49— Peter Ackroyd Donald Ault Visionary Physics: Blake's Response to Newton. University of Chicago. Station Hill Press. Stephen C. Behrendt Reading William Blake. London: Macmillan Press. Bentley Yale University Press. Blake Records. Second edition.
Blake Books. Clarendon Press. Blake Books Supplement. Harold Bloom Blake's Apocalypse. Jacob Bronowski William Blake and the Age of Revolution. William Blake, — A man without a mask.
Secker and Warburg, London. Reprints: Penguin ; Haskell House Helen P. Bruder William Blake and the Daughters of Albion. Business With Drive Enterprise, businesses only pay for the storage employees use. Learn more. Store any file Keep photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos, and more.
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