Ian RifeEnglish 4, Period 8Mrs.
Alford1/16/18William Blake Biography William Blake was a writer and poet who lived and wrote during the Romantic Era in England. During this Era, most of the authors and artists focused on imagination, emotion, nature and freedom. This is quite a jump from the previous era’s, which concentrated more on being moralistic, stressing the ideas of hard work and avoiding mischief in their lives. William Blake disagreed with these past ideas, and believed that people of all ages should enjoy and express their own imagination and creativity. Despite having not attending school, Blake taught himself to read and write in his own home. This caused him to believe strongly that all children should be able to read and write, no matter what. Blake also did not intentionally write for children in general, but many of his works became popular all around the world with children.
This might have been due to his illustrations in these books, which some may call “his works to be forerunners of the picture-book form.” (Contemporary Authors Online). William Blake was born on November 28th, 1757 in London, England to a father named James Blake and a mother, Catherine. He had seven other siblings, in which two of them did not survive past the age of infants. As a child, William was rather strange and had some supernatural things occur to him.
Around the age of nine, Blake began to see visions of spirits. These sightings didn’t stop here, but continued throughout his entire life. He mentions he was visited by many others later in his life, such as Socrates and even Jesus Christ. At age ten, he was sent to a drawing school, but not for longer after his family couldn’t afford him to stay in this school. Instead, he became an apprentice for an engraver at the age of fourteen. During this time, Blake was sent to Westminster Abbey to draw pictures of monuments that his master had to engrave.
While here, this is where many believe that Blake was heavily influenced by the Gothic church which in turn created and molded his imagination and creativity. As the years went by, in 1779 he left his apprenticeship to start out his new job as an engraver. After a very short time in a relationship, William Blake married Catherine Boucher. Even though she couldn’t read and write, Blake taught her himself. In the year of 1789, Blake produced one of his most famous writings called Songs of Innocence. This book he wrote mainly concentrates on a child’s world of happiness and joy. This book was not meant just for children, but for all audiences. A couple years later in 1794, Blake added some of his most famous poems to this writing, and even changed the name of the book to Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
This book was written to express the two sides of the human soul. While the Songs of Innocence concentrate more on children, the Songs of Experience focus more on evil and darkness. This is quite a contrast, but shows both sides equally well. The most well known poems that Blake ever wrote is also contained in this writing.
These poems are “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”. Blake moved to Sussex in 1800 due to being invited to engrave for work but soon after, Blake and his wife moved back to London in the year 1803. While he didn’t receive much work in his hometown of London, he tried to recuperate his imagination and creativity by showing off some of his watercolor artworks. This project backfired in him though, and caused critics to call his works lame and unimpressive. This caused Blake to become a recluse until the year of 1818. This was not the end of his career yet however.
In 1820, Blake painted and illustrated the Book Of Job with watercolors. These works are known around the world as some of his best works. Before Blake was able to complete his last work he was chosen to do, he died on August 12th, 1827. Not until after Blake’s death was he truly recognized by poets and writers all around the world. He finally became known as a renowned writer, and influenced poets years after his death. Till this day, William Blake’s writings influence writers, poets and children all around the world. His works act as the stepping stones for entering literature for people of all ages.
Works Cited William Blake.” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2001. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/H1000009282/LitRC?u=orla71157&sid=LitRC&xid=9addf2f1. Accessed 17 Jan. 2018.
Reinhart, Charles. “William Blake.” British Romantic Poets, 1789-1832: First Series, edited by John R. Greenfield, Gale, 1990. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 93. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.
com/apps/doc/H1200002463/LitRC?u=orla71157&sid=LitRC&xid=982a22c6. Accessed 17 Jan. 2018.