Blake's Life: The Life And Life Of William Blake

Satisfactory Essays
William Blake was born in London on November 28, 1757 to James and Catherine Blake. His father, James was a hosier (seller of legwear) in London. Blake had four brothers, James, John, Richard and Robert; and a sister named Catherine (Harris 5). Blake got along best with his younger brother, Robert as they shared an interest in art (Clarke 1). As a young boy, Blake claimed to have had visions of God, spirits, prophets and angels. When he was four he is claimed to have seen God’s head in his window. In his most famous vision, he saw the prophet Ezekiel under a tree and a tree of angels when he was nine (“Early Years”). Though his parents believed he was lying, they took into consideration that their son was “different” and did not believe he would succeed in a traditional school setting (“Poets”). So Blake was home schooled by his mother until he was ten years old. Blake was constantly by himself as a boy “…to seek a world of the imagination without fear of recrimination by others” (Harris 21). As a child, Blake spent his time engraving drawings of the Greek antiquities his father bought for him “(Early Years”). James and Catherine supported and encouraged Blake’s artistic ability and enrolled him in Henry Par’s drawing school in the Strand when Blake was 10 years old, there he first started writing poetry (Harris 5). He enjoyed the works of Shakespeare, Jonson and Spenser and ancient ballads as opposed to current literature at the time (“The Young Artist”). Some of Blake’s favorite artists ranged from Raphael, Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Albrecht Dürer, and Maerten Heemskerck. (Merriman 2)
In 1772, Blake was apprenticed to the engraver James Basire the engraver to the London Society of antiquities, due to the high cost of dra...

... middle of paper ...

...nius during the French Revolution, aware of impending economic change and sick to the bone of ruling hypocrisy …” (Hagstrum 97-98).

Charles Swinburne, Percy Shelly, T.S Elliot and James Joyce all drew their influence from Blake (Profumo 1). William Butler Yeats especially was inspired by his philosophical and poetic ideas and even edited an edition of Blake’s collected works (“Blake and Shelley”). Bob Dylan Alasdair Gray, Jim Morrison, and Allen Ginsberg also have hints of Blake’s poetry (“William Blake in Doors”). More recently his poems have modified by U2, Jah Wobble, Tangerine Dream, Bruce Dickinson, M. Ward and Ulver (Maher 4) . His poems have been inspiration for characters of a number of writers of the twentieth century. Blake has been the muse for comic book writers Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, R. Crumb, and J. M. DeMatteis (Whitson 1).
Get Access