Sociological Criticism of William Blake’s Poetry

analytical Essay
1509 words
1509 words

Sociological criticism analyzes the political, economic, and cultural aspects of literature. To examine literature from the perspective of Marxist social theory is a quintessential form of sociological criticism, as Marxism primarily deals with political and economic ideas of communism and social inequality. William Blake, a Romantic poet, frequently wrote on the topic of class oppression and his opposition to the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. Blake’s ideology and preference towards an equalitarian society quite closely mirror the theories of Karl Marx. Analyzing Blake’s poetry from a Marxist perspective paints a clearer picture of the motives behind Blake’s anger towards social inequality. Poems such as “The Chimney Sweeper” and “London” from his poetry collections Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience illustrate Blake’s despair regarding the unjust and unequal society of 18th century England. In “The Chimney Sweeper,” Blake expresses his anger at the late 18th and 19th century's use of child labor in urban England. In “London,” Blake illustrates the depressing class oppression prevalent in the streets of the city.

Often considered by scholars as the greatest pioneer of the Romantic movement in English literature, Blake's poetry consistently embraces the idea of rebellion against the abuse of class power. In his lifetime, Blake encountered both the American and French revolutions and the sense of liberation in both revolutions influenced him heavily. The negative effects of the Industrial Revolution, which further polarized the income distribution among the rich and the poor, further concerned Blake. The British Marxist historian E.P. Thompson classified Blake as having many similar beliefs as Karl M...

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"William Blake's London - 21st Century Socialism." 21st Century Socialism - 21st Century Socialism. Web. 07 July 2011.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how blake uses the color black to represent sin against innocence. he illustrates his opposition to atrocity within london at the time.
  • Analyzes how blake describes the 18th century london as a place of despair. blake criticizes the negative consequences produced by the industrial revolution through vivid narrations of the city.
  • Opines that william blake's london - 21st century socialism.
  • Analyzes the political, economic, and cultural aspects of literature from the perspective of marxist social theory.
  • Analyzes how blake uses imagery to visualize the hardship and cruelty of the time in the city of london.
  • Explains that william blake's "the chimney sweeper" is available on ebsco.
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