William Blake

September 23rd, 2008

photo taken from 21stcenturysocialism.com

William Blake, 1757-1827, was an English poet, printmaker, and painter. Although unrecognized during his time, Blake’s poetry is now considered sentimental to the history of poetry and visual arts. He is characterized as a writer of the Romantic movement in the 18th century. Romantic movement writers were known for criticizing the works of writers of the Enlightenment and scientific rationalization of nature.

From a very young age, Blake claimed to have visions. His first vision was at the age of four, where he claimed to of seen God who put his “head to the window” causing Blake to emotionally breakdown. Between the ages of eight and ten, Blake also claimed to have seen “a tree full of angels”. He had visions all his life. As a matter of fact, he believed that he was personally instructed and and encouraged by Archangels to write his artistic works. Those Archangels who have instructed him apparently have repeatedly read and enjoyed his works. In a letter to William Hayley, Blake writes:

“I know that our deceased friends are more really with us than when they were apparent to our mortal part. Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate.”

There are many other excerpts that can be taken from Blake’s writings with him claiming to have been in contact with angels and deceased beings. The following excerpt is taken from a letter to Thomas Butts from Blake:

“Now I may say to you, what perhaps I should not dare to say to anyone else: That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoy’d, & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See Visions, Dream Dreams & prophecy & speak Parables unobserv’d & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals; perhaps Doubts proceeding from Kindness, but Doubts are always pernicious, Especially when we Doubt our Friends.”

Were the visions Blake experienced real or just a hallucination? The world will never know. His works, however, will be cherished, and all the themes and underlying meanings buried within them will be read by millions of people, fulfilling Blake’s intentions.

Works Cited/Further Reading


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