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William Blake (1757-1827) 1. Biography:Born and brought up in London. His father, an Irishman, carried on a small hosiery (袜子类,卫生衣类) business. Showing.

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Presentation on theme: "William Blake (1757-1827) 1. Biography:Born and brought up in London. His father, an Irishman, carried on a small hosiery (袜子类,卫生衣类) business. Showing."— Presentation transcript:

1 William Blake ( ) 1. Biography:Born and brought up in London. His father, an Irishman, carried on a small hosiery (袜子类,卫生衣类) business. Showing a precocious talent for painting as a child, Blake was sent to a, drawing school; then at the of age of 14 he was apprenticed to James Basire, an engraver. After his 7-year term was over, he studied briefly at the Royal Academy of Arts. In 1779, he began to earn his living as an engraver, receiving

2 commissions from publishers both for book illustrations and for engravings from pictures. At the age of 24, Blake married Catherine Boucher. The marriage proved to be a lifelong happiness though there were difficulties for a time. Through all his life, Blake had been both a poet and an engraver. And he also printed a few books of his own. He lived a life of seclusion and poverty. He was often misunderstood by other people, who would regard him as gifted but mad.

3 Blake's last years found him Chiefly concerned with painting and engraving. And he gradually gathered around him a small group of devoted young admirers. However, Blake’s genius in poetry remained unknown in his lifetime; he was recognized only posthumously. 2. Points of View Blake never tried to fit into the world; he was a rebel innocently and completely all his life. He was politically of the permanent left and mixed

4 a good deal with the radicals like Thomas Paine and William Godwin. Like Shelley, Blake strongly criticized the capitalists' cruel exploitation, saying that the ‘dark satanic mills left men unemployed, killed children and forced prostitution’. Meanwhile he cherished great expectations and enthusiasm for the French Revolution, and regarded it as a necessary stage leading to the millennium ( [ 宗教 ] 千喜年,太平盛世) predicted by the biblical prophets. Literarily Blake was the first important Romantic poet,

5 showing a contempt for the rule of reason, opposing the classical tradition of the 18th century, and treasuring the individual's imagination Major Works Blake began writing poetry at the age of 12, and his first printed work, Poetical Sketches (1783), is a collection of youthful verse. Joy, laughter, love and harmony are the prevailing notes. And new elements of poetry derived from the earlier

6 traditions can also be found, which hint at his later innovative style and themes. As with all his poetry, this volume reached few contemporary readers. The Songs of Innocence (1809) is a lovely volume of poems, presenting a happy and innocent world, though not without its evils and sufferings. For instance, "Holy Thursday" with its vision of charity children lit 'with a radiance all their own' reminds us terribly of a world of loss and institutional cruelty. The wretched child

7 described in "The Chimney Sweeper", orphaned, exploited, yet touched by visionary rapture, evokes unbearable poignancy when he finally puts his trust in the order of the universe as he knows it. In this volume, Blake, with his eager quest for new poetic forms and techniques, broke completely with the traditions of the 18th century. He experimented in meter and rhyme and introduced bold metrical innovations which could not be found in the poetry of his

8 contemporaries. His Songs of Experience (1794) paints a different world, a world of misery, poverty, disease, war and repression with a melancholy tone. The benighted England becomes the world of the dark wood and of the weeping prophet. The orphans of "Holy Thursday" are now 'fed with cold and usurous hand'. The little chimney-sweeper sings 'notes of woe' while his parents go to church and praise 'God & his Priest and King' --the very instruments of their

9 repression. In "London", the city is no longer a paradise, but becomes the seat of poverty and despair, of man alienated from his true self. A number of poems from the Songs of Innocence also find a counterpart in the Songs of Experience. For instance, the "Infant Joy" is matched with the "Infant Sorrow" and the pure "Lamb" is paired with the flaming "Tyger" The two books hold the similar subject- matter, but the tone, emphasis and conclusion differ. Childhood is central to Blake's concern in the

10 Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, and this concern gives the two books a strong social and historical reference. The laboring poor in London furnishes him with a sharp awareness of the economic exploitation of children, and particularly the practice of selling young children into apprenticeships, a practice which provides the context for the opening lines of the "Chimney Sweeper" The two "Chimney Sweeper" poems are good examples to reveal the relation between an

11 economic circumstance, i.e., the exploitation of child labor, and an ideological circumstance, i.e., the role played by religion in making people compliant to exploitation. The poem from the Songs of Innocence indicates the conditions which make religion a consolation, a prospect of 'illusory happiness'; the poem from the Songs of Experience reveals the true nature of religion which helps bring misery to the poor children. Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790) marks his entry into maturity. The poem was

12 composed during the climax of the French Revolution and it plays the double role both as a satire and a revolutionary prophecy. In this poem, Blake explores the relationship of the contraries. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate are necessary to human existence. Life is a continual conflict of give- and-take, a pairing of opposites, of good and evil, of innocence and experience, of body and soul, the authority and anarchy. 'Without contraries', Blake states, 'there is no progression'. The" marriage " to Blake,

13 means the reconciliation of the contraries, not the subordination of the one to the other. Marriage of Heaven and Hell is also the manifesto of Blake's spiritual independence: He accepts Christianity when young, but reverses its values later on, He recognizes the coexistence of good and evil, saying that 'Good and Evil are here the two contraries married.' He thinks that it is wrong to separate the body from the soul in an individual being, and that it is even more wrong to say that energy--called 'evil' -- is alone from

14 the body, and that reason--called ‘good’- is alone from the soul. By separating the body from the soul, religion, he claims, has outlawed( 剥夺) the body and cut off the mind from the real source of its energies. In his later period, Blake wrote quite a few prophetic books. Blake who lived in the blaze of revelation felt bound to declare that 'I know that This World is a World of IMAGINATION and

15 Vision', and that 'The Nature of my work is visionary imaginative.' From childhood, Blake had a strongly visual mind, whatever he imagined, he also saw. For instance, he claimed that he saw a tree full of angels, visioned the ancient kings in Westminster Abbey, and drew 'spiritual portraits' of the mighty dead. He believed he saw what Milton saw and all other people could see through the efforts of painting and poetry. As an imaginative poet, he presents his view in visual images instead of abstractive

16 terms. 4. His own religion: 1) religion a consolation, a prospect of 'illusory happiness'; the true nature of religion which helps bring misery to the poor children. 2 ) Coexistence of Heaven and Hell, good and Evil, authority and anarchy; unseparation of body (energy) and soul(reason). 3) The mystic power of the creative hands—create lamb(docile, meek, innocent, and tame) as well as tiger (frightening,cruel, but dynamic, and

17 vigorous). Coexistence of the two contraries. 3)The denial of eternal punishment and the denial of authority. 5. Style Blake writes his poems in plain and direct language. His poems often carry the lyric beauty with immense compression of meaning. He distrusts the abstractness and tends to embody his views with visual images. Symbolism in wide range is also a distinctive feature of his poetry.

18 Summary: A visionary imaginative. Most thought him mad, but to Blake the world was mad with its wars, violence and cruelty. Mystic- developed own religious ideas. A Poet and graver(artist) illustrating his own works.

19 The Tiger Form: in ballad form(a 4-lined stanza) with 4 stresses, mostly 7 syllables; in trochee, rhyming in couplet—very different from usual, elegant iambic pentameter. The trochaic meter is a powerful rhythm. This meter makes the poem sounds stronger.

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22 The Tyger Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry (匀称) ?

23 In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire (上升,飞翔) ? What the hand dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? (你的心 肌) And when thy heart began to beat, What dread (可怕的) hand? & what dread feet?

24 What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears, ( 星星的光芒) And water‘d (浸湿) heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

25 Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

26 The structure of the poems 1 st stanza: ask who could create the tiger. 2 nd stanza- 4 th stanza : how those importance organs, such as the eyes, the hearted, the brains were created. 5 th stanza: imagine what the creator feel after the creation. 6 th stanza: ask who dare create the tiger.

27 Theme: The poem seems to admire God, the Creator as a blacksmith who has the mystic power of creation.He created a meek lamb, a symbol of the innocence of the natural world, and also a symbol of the Son, but at the same time he also created the tiger, a symbol of the beauty and the horror of the natural world. But the poem also contains a very complicated emotion here Blake identified God's creative process with the work of an

28 artist. And it is art that brings creation to its fulfillment -- by showing the world as it is, by sharpening perception, by giving form to ideas. Blake himself as an artist might here praise the creative power of an artist.


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