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Thread: William Blake

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    William Blake

    Hello, I'm a university student currently working on a research paper on William Blake, particularly focusing on The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. I plan to argue against critics who say that Blake is a non-conformist, and would like to get some opinions from people on this discussion group, and possibly some of your favorite critics arguing for or against my opinion (against will make it more fun and interesting).

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    What exactly are you arguing that he conforms to?

    In regards to criticism I have not read much for Blake (though I have read most of Blake himself). Northrop Frye's "Fearful Symmetry" is a great book of criticism on Blake (though I admit I have little to compare it to.) If I remember correctly, he mainly deals with the "Marriage" as a work of Satire in line with/or not in line with the 18th century tradition of satire.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    I'm arguing that The Marriage.. is a documentation of his struggle of being a conformist/non-conformist to societal norms. ( I do realize that this was probably not his actual intentions, but I was challenged by my professor to say something off the wall, and convince him that what I am arguing is plausible).

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I like it. I'm afraid I cannot provide much of a opposition as my relationship with Blake is mostly leisure based. But best of luck to you.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    i too don't have much to offer but please keep me posted about your developments because i also like to explore off-the-wall interpretations of poems and stories and everything literature related.

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    I'm no Blake expert (only a lover of his poems) but that interpretation of the struggle between conformity and non-conformity is interesting... The overall poem, obviously, can be seen as a struggle between contraries-- between passivity (good) and energy ('evil'). Blake struggles to exert control in some sense over the influences of his culture and the constraints imposed by society but also by his own mind. At the same time, his imagination is a loss of control, a loss of limits, that sets him free from his 'mind-forged manacles.'

    I suppose one would have to evaluate and define what 'conformity' really means. Blake kind of isolated himself from society and the world, and did not conform to the norms of his time. But Marriage of Heaven and Hell still sets up guides (almost rules) in the proverbs... so in a sense Blake conforms to these limitations (and are these limitations generally what has been set up by society? balance, the middle way, etc?).
    But then the question is... does he even conform to his own proverbs?

    Good luck with the paper and argument... it will not be any easy case to make, but I commend you for the idea!
    "All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours." -Aldous Huxley

    "Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires." -William Blake

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    Of all the romantics, Blake was the most scientific in many ways. Always experimental, and even when he was the most confused and difficult to read, he had something meaninful to say. I see him as a precursor of postmodernism. He was not a non-conformist in my opinion. He simply was a good critic with a juicy vision of the future. He got a little confused trying to be rational, without realizing completely that reason is a characteristic of animals in general, and it is the standard bearer of the healthy as much as of the insane.

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    Any suggestions on how to get more people to post on this?

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