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Thread: William Blake and Romanticism

  1. #1

    William Blake and Romanticism

    Hi...i have to do an essay on William Blake and Romanticism but because this is a broad topic i really don't know what to focus on. if anyone can provide me with some help, guidelines, or maybe just point me in the right direction i would really apreciate it.

    i thnk i will perhaps look at how his work The Marriage of Heaven and Hell portrays the romantic ideals emerging in that time. does this make any sense?
    any comment would help, please.
    Last edited by Phynx; 03-11-2007 at 12:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Try to focus on Blake's attempt to preserve the innocent state of the child in most of his "Innocence" poems. Blake saw a need for change and "revolution" in his poetry like most Romantic writers. Blake sought to expose hypocrites and the conventions along with institutions set by the church.

  3. #3


    thank you for your help.brucehopson2000
    i read from some sources that Blake is sometimes seen as not always being a Romantic writer. what do you think? was he or was he not?
    Last edited by Phynx; 04-14-2007 at 04:13 PM.

  4. #4
    No, he wasn't a "real" romantic writer. Probably the best way thinking of him as a transition between classicism and romanticism (see Hölderlin in Germany). Anyway Blake's poetry is a pretty unique thing. Not to mention his paintings...

  5. #5
    thanks for your help
    if i had to show that blake was a romantic as his works have similar characteristics common to other romantic writers. what works do you suggest i should focus on.
    Last edited by Phynx; 04-07-2007 at 11:29 AM.

  6. #6
    I think try to focus on the following pieces of art: "Tiger", "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", "Milton".
    And here's a useful link:

  7. #7
    i'll take your advice and focus on art from "marriage of heaven and Hell'
    but since i aslo have to discuss his literary works i will try to show how some of the elements of his works in "marriage of heaven and hell" and 'songs of innocence and experience" assciate with the main elements of romanticism

    for example, i i take the general appeal the romantics have for nature, emotion, and spirituality and show where Blake uses there concepts in his works.
    is this good? what do you think?

    also, though it is off topic,GothMan, i noticed on your profile that you are interested in mysticism. i am also doing a essay on the mideaval view of Christian mysticism as seen through the works of the mystics of that time. i will be focusing on Meister Eckhart in my essay.
    have you any insight on which oparts of his written works will be intersting to look at?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Phynx View Post
    for example, i i take the general appeal the romantics have for nature, emotion, and spirituality and show where Blake uses there concepts in his works.
    is this good? what do you think?
    Yes, I think you're right. Blake's art is full of rebellion, mystical approach of religion, longing for Unity, etc., so a lot of things which were not tipical of the Classicist peers.

    Meister Eckhart is my favourite mystic! I suggest you to take a look at his German sermons, because his Latin texts are somehow "just" typical scholastic works.

  9. #9
    Thanks so much for all your help GothMan
    i'm sure i can write a great essay now.

    if anyone has anything else to add, feal free to do so

  10. #10
    thank you for your topic

  11. #11
    I do not find Blake to be a Romantic poet, I mean obviously the literary time line will define him as one, but his works definitely do not correspond with the Romantic movement.
    Nature worship- no much in Blake
    Lack of individual- ie. Promethus- Shelly, Byron...wrote about brave individuals- but Blake focuses on social realism, espesicaly evident through pomes like London, Chimney sweeper... poems which are about his times and what was happening in these times.
    Lack of imagination- the Romantics thought that the imagination was a great power...yet Blake does not exploit that in his poetry...albeit SOME poems using the imagination....most do not...can they if they are focused on social realism - surely if they did than it cannot be realism.
    Blake was a idiosyncratic poet...he once said "i Must create a system or be enslaved by another mans"...displaying that he is a non-conformist....and thus cannot conform to the romantic movement or infact ANY movement.
    Blake's poetic vision was far more poltical, social and religious than that of the traditional Romantics [would be worth looking at some of them to compare him to them] and so Blake was not so much a Romantic.....he has his own movement of Blakian poetry...invented by his own idiosyncrasy.

    just to add... well he was quite poor, and most Romantics weren't- this divide in social class again differentiates him from his contemporaries.

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