rina HoneycuttFrom: Jonah Cali 11/16/17Subject: William Blake CJH1 WilliamBlake: The Purity of lifeIntroductionWilliamBlake not only a poet but an Artist in general is one of England biggestinfluences for literature. William was a middle child basically, and living inthe days where the infancy mortality rate was big. Majority of the informationabout him is portrayed through his writings. Being the regular British kid hewas, he wasn’t exactly a big extrovert. Even though being the middle child,most of his siblings died off so it wasn’t like he didn’t get any attention.Yet again he was different.
He wasn’t really big on studies of the math andsciences, but early along the way pursued the study of fine arts such as paintingand poetry. The more you dig into Williams early past you see that his parentswhere more into the Greek fine arts and lettering, which reveals that hisparents were the initial influence of love for art. He was not a part of astruggling family, for a good amount of time Blake enjoyed wealth. It gave himmore opportunity to span his knowledge of Greek art. His mother and father alsobought a number of books for young William.
Due to the support of his parentsJames and Catharine Blake he was able to develop his skill in the fine arts ata very early age. Blake and his work laid dormant for a generation after hisdeath and was almost lost, it wasn’t until the 1860s when people started towrite biography’s and reports on Blake’s old work and after then it started tospark many influences in literature, plays, and also music. Background/FamilyHistory William Blake wasborn on November 28 1757 in Soho, London, Great Britain to James and CatharineBlake. He was born the third of several children. Two of his siblings died ininfancy. James his father worked as a tailor or a hosier.
His mother taught him from the age of tenbefore that attending school enough to read and write. At the start of Jamescareer, he wasn’t relatively wealthy until William started to grow into histeenage years. Regardless James bought his son canvases, engraving tools andWilliam started to engrave Greek drawings and letters into objects at an earlyage. Blake found himself expose to works of Michel Angelo and other influentialGreek artists and painters.
Later on His mother and father got more money andstarted to see more income and bought Blake a selection of various books.Williams’s family were big Christians as well, getting him baptized at a veryearly age. Blake’s biggest influence would be the bible most of all. He used itas his moral compass for his work and you can clearly see it. Right about whenWilliam turned ten his family started to realize that math and sciences isn’tfor him and he slowly realized it himself, he was about to either go to schoolfor art and poetry or not go at all. He enrolled in drawing classes shortlyafter that at the Pars’s drawing school in Strand. At this point he read onsubject of his own choosing, mostly the bible to Edmund Spencer. Blakeconstantly made more explorations in literature, and in the bible taking biginfluence from the book of psalms.
The more Blake dug deeper into the bible,the more his works encompassed the thought of spirituality and human life. Hewould speak of mystical vison like angels and heaven. Sometime later he took upan apprenticeship with Mr. Basire as an engraver lasting till the age of 21.
Basire sent Blake to copy the Gothic style images from English churches. Thoseexperiences at Westminster Abbey help form the long lasting signature style ofBlake and his art. Blake was sometimes tormented by the boys who can actuallygo into the Abbey but Basire defended him one time knocking one of the boys offa platform. Context/Influence Blakehad a strong cultural influence wasn’t actually started until the late 1800s.When the book “The life of William Blake” was published nobody actually paidany attention to his works. As his name started to his arise his work was fullyappreciated.
Twentieth century artist started to enhance the works of Blake.Artist such as S. Foster Damon, Geoffrey Keynes, Northrop Frye, David V. Erdmanand G.
E. Bentley, Jr. started to use Blake and his style in their works. Oncethe modernist period started to rise it influence even twice as more artistthen the mid twentieth century. Jude Singer a British artist argued thatBlake’s thoughts on human behavior greatly anticipate and parallel the famouspsychoanalyst Carl Jung.
Jung stated”Blake a tantalizing study, since he compiled a lot of half or undigestedknowledge in his fantasies. According to my ideas they are an artisticproduction rather than an authentic representation of unconsciousprocesses.” Blake also had a big influence on beats poets in the1950s. Blake also had a relationshipwith the enlightenment philosophy. He strongly opposed the Newtonian view ofthe universe. Iturn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europeand there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages direWashd by the Water-wheels of Newton.
black the clothIn heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel WorksOf many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannicMoving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: whichWheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace. (Jerusalem 15.14–20,E159)Thisis where his Christian roots kick in. Instead of thinking that science controlsthe world and only science is what we live by is thought to be nonsense byBlake. Blake believe the god and earth are connected and that is how life iscontrolled.
This had a big influence in countering the Newtonian scholars whowere growing back in that time of scientific discovery. Writers such as WilliamButler Yeats are a strong followers of Blake and his works. His works haveinstilled the ideas of rebellion for subjects such as war, and conformity.
Aboutthe Author/Major Works After Williams’s apprenticeship his life starts to pick upand he becomes more independent. Blake married once to Catharine Boucher in1782. Blake’s first collection of poems was printed around 1783.
Following hisfather’s death Blake and one of his former apprentice James Parker opened aprint shop in 1784. Blake illustrated “Original stories from real life” by MaryWollstonecraft and started to share some of the same views on sexual equalityand marriage. Afterword Blake took a strong stance on marriage without love andthe right of women to self fulfilment.
Blake back in his time was more famousfor his engravings. His most famous piece was finished right before his deathcalled “illustrations of the book of Job”. Blake wrote big pieces on religion. In one ofhis writings called “The Everlasting Gospel” Blake portrays Jesus as aSupremely Creative being. If he had been Antichrist CreepingJesus,He’d have done anything to please us:Gone sneaking into SynagoguesAnd not us’d the Elders & Priests like Dogs,But humble as a Lamb or Ass,Obey’d himself to Caiaphas.God wants not Man to Humble himself (55–61, 519–20)Blake constantly refers to Jesus inhis works but instead of directly naming him he makes him a symbol describinghim as the unity between divinity and humanity. Blake did not express strongfeelings towards orthodox Christianity.
He felt as orthodox Christianitydiscouraged earthly joy and creativity. Blake also had works on controversial issues such as slavery andequality. Blake absolutely hated the idea of slavery and created explicitillustrations such as “A Negro Hung Alive by the Rib of a Gallows”. Blake froma young age also had many visons like seeing god or angels causing him to makeillustrations such as “The Ghost of a Flea” Which is a very detailed paintingof an Archangel. Impactof Study/Striking Features Although it wasn’t difficult finding credible sources onWilliam Blake, what I came to learn left me with awe on how the mind and onehuman can influence a whole world of literature and art. It may have taken somepeople generations to find out about William Blake but it is clear that hisworks didn’t let anyone down.
Researching Williams works and especially hisillustrations left me with the thought of what my imagination can spark. Hisworks were super detailed like he actually was witnessing these things happen.Reading up on Blake made me think of how religion can play a big impact onmorals and the way people think and live.
Blake’s ideas shaped a society andalso questioned it. That’s brought me to the realization that without questionin society, where would we be at today, there is always the need for anopposing force to bring question and balance to society or society will bedefiantly bound to one idea. Conclusion Even though Blake’s influence didn’t spark a huge change inliterature it left a lasting effect till this very day. His writing encompassesevery factor of life. He touches on politics, religion, life, and humanity. Hequestions the very existence and what are purpose is on this earth. While inhis illustrations he covers a wide variety of subjects as well showing peoplewhat mostly those controversial topics are. Blake over all plays a big role inquestioning, what religion is, or what is right, what does love entail, andwhat should marriage entail.
Through Blake’s ideals Questioning existence canlead to answers beyond what we thought we could find. BibliographyJames King (1991). WilliamBlake: His Life. St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-07572-3.Saree Makdisi (2003). WilliamBlake and the Impossible History of the 1790s.
University of Chicago Press.R. N. Essick & D. Pearce, eds.(1978).
Blake in his time. Indiana University Press.Michael Ferber, The SocialVision of William Blake. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1985.Jean H. Hagstrom, WilliamBlake.
Poet and Painter. An introduction to the illuminated verse,University of Chicago, 1964.”William Blake.
” Biography.com,A&E Networks Television, 10 Oct. 2017, www.biography.com/people/william-blake-9214491.CJH2