William Blake

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William Blake William Blake is an English poet renowned for his unconventional poems. He wrote in the Romantic era, a time when the focus was on self-expression and the power of imagination. The poetry that emerged from this period was spontaneous and passionate and the poets tended towards the supernatural and mystical. The poets also revealed that nightmare, hallucination, madness and eroticism are a part of the human psyche. These ideas formed the basis of Freud's explorations in the field of psychoanalytical studies. Blake's personal, social and religious beliefs are based on his view that being able to understand the reality that exists beyond our five senses and scientific reason, you have to trust your imagination. He thought that imagination was the greatest liberator of the human spirit from its earthly confinement. "Man's perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception; he perceives more than sense (tho' never so acute) can discover." William Blake was born on the 28th of November 1757, the second of six children. Throughout his life Blake had visions, people such as Shakespeare, Milton, Dante and Voltaire visited him. His first vision came when he was four years old and he saw God's head in a window. Blake's father encouraged his artistic leanings from a young age. At ten he took drawing lessons. A year later he began work on his first poetical work, Poetical Sketches. In 1782 he married Catherine Boucher. Five years later his brother, Robert, died and Blake claimed to have seen "the released spirit ascend heavenward, clapping its hands for joy." Blake completed his first major work Songs of Innocence in 1789. Five years later he completed the second part, Songs of Experience. In the early 1800's Blake communed with the "daughters of inspiration," that descended from the treetops to talk to him. He also discovered that fairies inhabited the vegetable world. Blake lived the remainder of his life in obscurity and died at Fountain Court on August the 12th 1827. Although he was always poor, Blake derived strength from an exceptionally rich spiritual existence. William Blake's reputation as an unconventional poet partly arose because he wrote using a self made mythological world, inspired by spirits. It was also because the criticism of the time came from an age incapable of comprehending imaginative poetry. This was evident in most critics when they misinterpreted Blake's intellect level as insanity. After reading Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence Wordsworth commented that "there is no doubt 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.

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