If William Blake was, as Northrop Frye described him in his prominent book
Fearful Symmetry, "a mystic enraptured with incommunicable visions, standing
apart, a lonely and isolated figure, out of touch with his own age and without
influence on the following one" (3), time has proved to be the visionary's most
celebrated ally, making him one of the most frequently written about poets of
the English language. William Blake has become, in a sense, an institution.
"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and
Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human Existence," wrote Blake in The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Perhaps his most famous line, these words are the
connecting thread through all of Blake's work, from The Songs of Innocence and
Experience to Jerusalem. But what those words mean has been a point of
contention throughout the years. What does that mean for the Male and the Female
who are at the center of his work? If they are Contraries, then what does the
Female in Blake's work represent? Just what did Blake mean? And from where did
his ideas and perceptions spring?
In 1977 Susan Fox addressed these questions in her well-renowned essay "The
Female as Metaphor in William Blake's Poetry." As the first literary critic to
comment on Blake's inconsistencies in his treatment of the Female, Fox explores
the progression of the extended metaphor throughout the course of his career.
She explains that Blake's vision of the Contraries became more clear to him as
time went on; therefore, the contradiction lies in his earlier views of the
Female, identified with weakness and failure, and his later attempt to rescu...
... middle of paper ...
...cism 34 (1995): 255-270.
Ostriker, Alicia. "Desire Gratified and Ungratified: William Blake and
Sexuality." Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly 16 (1983): 156-165.
Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily
Dickinson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990: 270-299.
Pavy, Jeanne Adele. "A Blakean Model of Reading: Gender and Genre in William
Blake's Poetry." DAI 53 (1993):Emory University.
Storch, Margeret. Sons and Adversaries: Women in William Blake and D. H.
Lawrence. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.
Webster, Brenda. "Blake, Women, and Sexuality." Critical Paths: Blake and the
Argument of Method. Eds. Donald Ault, Mark Bracher, and Dan Miller. Durham and
London: Duke University Press, 1987: 204-224.
Wilkie, Brian. Blake's Thel and Oothoon. B. C. Canada: University of Victoria
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Recalcitrant Rebellion As Art William Blake was an English romantic poet who lived from 1757 to 1827 through both the American and the French revolutions. Although he lived during the Romantic Age, and was clearly part of the movement, Blake was a modern thinker who had a rebellious political spirit. He was the first to turn poetry and art into sociopolitical weapons to be raised rebelliously against the establishment. His poetry exemplified many of the same topics being discussed today. Although he was known as both a madman and a mystic, (Elliott) his poetry is both relevant and radical.... [tags: William Blake]
2117 words (6 pages)
- William Blake’s poems “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence written in 1789 and “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Experience written in 1794 are two poems about Tom Dacre, a young chimneysweeper. Blake wrote these poems during the Romantic Period, which influenced the themes in his work like religion, poverty in London and child labor, which were all prevalent matters at the time. Despite the poems having many similarities, the tone each poem was written in gained different sympathies from the reader through the two different perspectives each poem was written from.... [tags: Chimney sweep, Chimney, William Blake]
818 words (2.3 pages)
- Can changing the mindset the story is told from change the outlook of a story. Can two stories with the same topic, written by the same author make you feel two very different ways. William Blake illustrated this to a perfection with the poems “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence and “The Chimney Sweeper” from the Songs of Experience. The two poems have the same concept but are told from two different perspective. One from an innocent view of the world and one from someone with the experience of the world.... [tags: William Blake]
1184 words (3.4 pages)
- Why did William Blake decide to illustrate his own poems. In 1789, he published Songs of Innocence, and in 1794, he published its partner Songs of Experience. While it is not unusual for authors to publish their poems, Blake’s sets are different because he not only wrote the poems but illustrated and printed them himself. Blake could have done this because he could. He had experience and skills as a printer, but because he created the illustrations himself, it is possible to use them to find a deeper meaning for each poem (Lynch).... [tags: William Blake]
1025 words (2.9 pages)
- During the Romantic Era, William Blake demonstrated a unique way of viewing the world, that was easily separated from the normal way of thinking. His poetry along with the ideas he expressed have influenced a countless number of individuals to see the world as it truly is: beautiful yet corrupted by oppression. William Blake lived his life in poverty, finding his only comfort within the confines of his work; therefore, there is no doubt that his poetry reflected his life and ideals. Through his childhood, obsession with art, and the the various writers he came in contact with influencing him, William Blake conveyed his questioning attitude within the many stanzas he wrote.... [tags: William Blake]
1779 words (5.1 pages)
- There are often two sides to everything: chocolate and vanilla, water and fire, woman and man, innocence and experience. The presence of two opposing items allows for harmony and balance in the world. Without water, fire cannot be put out and without woman there can be no man. William Blake’s poetry collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience draws parallels between poems of “innocence” and poems of “experience”. His poem The Lamb is mirrored by his poem The Tyger. Although Blake’s poem The Tyger revolved around the idea of a ferocious mammal, its illustration of a sheepish tiger complicates and alters Blake’s message in the poem by suggesting that good and evil simultaneously exist.... [tags: Good and evil, God, William Blake, Evil]
1150 words (3.3 pages)
- Late into the hours of the night on a Sunday in August of 1827, William Blake sat in his bed, completing a sketch of his wife Catherine. The sketch was the very last time Blake put pencil to paper, as he died just after (King 228). Until his very last moments, William Blake was a man of intense vision and artistic strength, creating some of the most powerful and recognizable pieces of poetry and art to date. His works were the product of his eccentricity, religious fervor, socio-political progressivism, and the Industrial age London in which he spent his life.... [tags: William Blake]
1717 words (4.9 pages)
- William Blake's "London" Works Cited Not Included William Blake's "London" is a representative of English society as a whole, and the human condition in general that outlines the socio-economic problems of the time and the major communal evils. It condemns authoritative institutions including the military, royalty, new industries, and the Church. Blake's tone creates a feeling of informative bitterness, and is both angry and despondent at the suffering and increasing corruption of London's society.... [tags: William Blake London Poem Poetry Essays]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- William Blake William Blake is one of England’s most famous literary figures. He is remembered and admired for his skill as a painter, engraver, and poet. He was born on Nov. 28, 1757 to a poor Hosier’s family living in or around London. Being of a poor family, Blake received little in the way of comfort or education while growing up. Amazingly, he did not attend school for very long and dropped out shortly after learning to read and write so that he could work in his father’s shop. The life of a hosier however was not the right path for Blake as he exhibited early on a skill for reading and drawing.... [tags: William Blake Essays]
1877 words (5.4 pages)
- William Blake William Blake was born in 1757 during a time when Romanticism was on the rise. Romantic poets of this day and age, living in England, experienced changes from a wealth-centered aristocracy to a modern industrial nation where power shifted to large-scale employers thus leading to the enlargement of the working class. Although Blake is seen as a very skillful writer his greatest successes were his engravings taught to him by a skilled sculpture. Blake differed from other poets in that he never received a formal education.... [tags: Biography William Blake Papers]
2121 words (6.1 pages)