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Images of Nineteenth Century London in the Poetry of William Blake

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  1. Introduction
  2. About William Blake
  3. The social context
  4. Imagery in Blake's works
  5. Blake and the Industrial revolution
  6. Conclusion

Every era produces a number of inventive minds and creative talent. A question that often arises is: what defines a great artist? Is it the popularity of his work? An artist's success or failure largely depends on the reception of his creations. There are many defining characteristics of a true artist, but one of the most important is his ability to reflect the times in which he lives. A poet's task, in particular, is to take the everyday ordinary and create beauty from it. The work of William Blake accomplishes this better than any other poet of his time. Blake's poetry reveals the nature of nineteenth century London by displaying through images, words and symbols the social and economic struggles wrought by Revolution. Various references to the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution appear either directly or in symbol throughout Blake's work. His reaction to such circumstances is evident as he, along with other artists of the era, retreats from the cold realities of daily life into lands of romantic-style contemplation. He does however, manage to keep things in perspective and never turn a blind eye to reality.

William Blake was a passionate radical. He believed in peace and equality for all. Black people living in Britain at the time suffered a good deal of discrimination. As far back as the seventeenth century, anything dark in color, including people, was associated with evil. Well into the twentieth century, schoolchildren were taught that black people were inferior, ignorant, and utterly dependent.

[...] Images of Nineteenth Century London in the Poetry of William Blake Every era produces a number of inventive minds and creative talent. A question that often arises is: what defines a great artist? Is it the popularity of his work? An artist's success or failure largely depends on the reception of his creations. There are many defining characteristics of a true artist, but one of the most important is his ability to reflect the times in which he lives. A poet's task, in particular, is to take the everyday ordinary and create beauty from it. [...]


[...] "Themes of Rebellion in William Blake and Arthur Rimbaud." French Review (1973): 750-761. Web Apr Punter, David. "Blake and the Shapes of London." Criticism (1981): 23. Web Apr "Racist Ideas." Port Cities Bristol. Britol City Council, n.d. Web April 2013. [...]


[...] King of Norway? from this set employs a Norse ruler and setting to re-tell the story of the French Revolution. The greedy, corrupted King Gwin and other nobles laze about on their thrones while mercilessly leeching off their subjects and exploiting them for selfish benefit. As a result, the people band together to dethrone the tyrant. Blake describes the farmers, merchants, and other townspeople who lay down their tools of trade to join in battles filled with blood, bodies, and rivers of gore and fight in the name of liberty. [...]

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