William Blake lived from 1757 to 1827 and spent his entire life living in Britain. Blake published his poem ‘London’ in the Romantic Era of poetry when violence and rebellion was in high occurrence all throughout Europe. Blake along with other British citizens and early Romantic poets were in support of the French revolution. This was a time in history were people in all parts of the ‘New World’ including the British were fighting for their national identities.
In the poem, Blake dissects the characteristics of the late 18th-century streets of London. He depicts London to be dirty, disorderly, government ruled, sad and confronting filled with powerless and entrapped people in turmoil. There is reference to, sadness is every face on the street, children being forced down chimneys by the church, blood running down Palace walls, prostitution, dysfunction of motherhood and the fairly rapidly failing state of the society before the revolution. This was the decaying, pre-revolutionary identity of the British people. ‘London’ the poem so effectively transports contemporary readers into the moment through the use of endless poetic devices. It’s like the reader is walking in the footsteps of the character, living their life and feeling what they’re feeling; these people were fighting so hard for their identity and for their rights.
‘London’ is made up of 4 stanzas with 4 lines. Blake uses rhythm in the poem to create feelings of uncomfortableness, sadness an...
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...guage was used in that era.
Without poetry we have no way of preserving, in lyrical tone, a history that can reach and connect with the masses.
Poetry will always be the best way to capture a snapshot in the history of a country and preserve the language of a community at a particular point in time and how they felt, survived and their historical identity.
Thank you so much Penelope for having me on the episode tonight I hope everyone listening now has a clear understanding of why written poetry is important and of value in modern society.
Oh that was lovely, thank you so much Lauren for coming in today. How funny to be talking about the contrast between Australian and English language. Well that concludes this episode of ‘Burning Poetry’. Tune in next week for our episode on Modern Literary Theory.
I’m Penelope Winterbottom, toodaloo and good’onya.
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