Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience as precursors of the romantic era.
Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience as forerunners of the Romantic Era Poet, painter, printmaker and visionary Blake worked to bring about a change both in the social order and in the minds of men. Although during his lifetime his work was largely overlooked or rejected, it is now considered one of the main lights of English poetry, and his work has only grown in popularity. During his life as Blake (1863), Alexander Gilchrist warned his readers that Blake “neither wrote nor drew for various men, hardly for men of the day, rather for children and angels; himself “a divine child”, whose toys were the sun, the moon and the stars, the heavens and therefore the world.
Yet Blake himself believed his writings were of national significance that they could be understood by a majority of his peers. Far from being an isolated mystic, Blake lived and worked in the teeming metropolis of London in a time of great social and political changes which profoundly influenced his writing.In addition to being regarded as one of the foremost visionaries of English poets and one of the great ancestors of English Romanticism, his visual works are immensely appreciated in the whole world.
Blake was born November 28, 1757. Unlike many well-known writers of his day, Blake was born into a family of modest means. Her father, James, was a hosier, and so the family lived at 28 Broad Street in London in an unpretentious but “respectable” neighborhood. In all, seven children were born to James and Catherine Harmitage Blake, but only five survived infancy. Blake appears to have been closest to his younger brother, Robert, who died young.
By all accounts, Blake had a satisfying and peaceful childhood, made even more enjoyable by skipping all formal schooling. As a young boy he wandered the streets of London and can easily escape into the surrounding countryside. Even at an early age, however, his unique mental powers would prove to be disturbing. According to Gilchrist, during a hike he was surprised to “see a tree full of angels, shining angelic wings dotting every branch like stars.” His parents were not amused by such a story, and only his mother’s pleadings kept him from being beaten. His parents encouraged his artistic talents, however, and so young Blake was enrolled at the age of 10 at the Pars School of Drawing.
The cost of continuing education in the art was prohibitive, so the family decided that at the age of 14, William would be apprenticed to a master engraver. At first, his father took him to William Ryland, a well-respected printmaker. William, however, resisted the arrangement, telling his father, “I don’t like the man’s face a little: it’s like he lives to be hanged!” The dark prophecy was to come back true 12 years later. instead of Ryland, the family chose a lesser-known printmaker, James Basire. Basire appears to have been an honest teacher, and Blake was an honest student of the craft.
At the age of 21, Blake left the apprenticeship of Basire and enrolled for a time in the new Royal Academy. He made his living as a journeyman engraver. Booksellers used him to engrave illustrations for publications ranging from novels like Don Quixote to soap operas like Ladies’ Magazine.
One incident now deeply affected Blake. In June 1780 riots broke out in London, prompted by the anti-Catholic preaching of Lord George Gordon and resistance to the continued war against American settlers. Houses, churches and prisons were set on fire by uncontrollable crowds doomed to destruction. One evening, whether intentionally or accidentally, Blake found himself standing in front of the mob that burned down Newgate Prison. These images of violent destruction and unbridled revolution gave Blake powerful material for works like Europe (1794) and America (1793).
meg 01 british poetry; songs of innocence; experience songs
Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Knowledge (1794) juxtaposes the innocent and pastoral world of childhood with an adult world of corruption and repression; while poems like “The Lamb” represent soft virtue, poems like “The Tyger” exhibit opposing and darker forces. Thus, the gathering as a whole explores the price and limitations of two different perspectives on earth. Many poems are arranged in pairs, so that the same situation or problem is first seen through the prism of innocence and then through experience. Blake does not fully identify with either point of view; most of the poems are dramatic, that is, in the voice of an orator outside the poet himself. Blake stands apart from innocence and knowledge, in a distant position from which he hopes to be able to recognize and own the mistakes of both. above all, it opposes despotic authority, restrictive morality, sexual repression and institutionalized religion; his great insight lies in how these separate modes of control work together to stifle what is most sacred in citizens.
Songs of Innocence dramatize the naive hopes and fears that inform children’s lives and trace their transformation as the child reaches adulthood. a variety of poems are written from the attitude of children, while others relate to children from the perspective of adults. Many poems draw attention to the positive aspects of natural human understanding before the corruption and distortion of experience. Others take a more critical stance towards innocent purity: for example, while Blake draws touching portraits of the emotional power of rudimentary Christian values, he also exposes – over heads, because it was from the innocent – the ability of Christianity to promote injustice and cruelty.
The songs of experience work via parallels and contrasts to lament how the difficult experiences of adulthood destroy what is good in innocence, while articulating the weaknesses of the innocent perspective (“The Tyger,” by example, tries to account for real and negative forces in the universe, which innocence cannot cope with). These latter poems treat virtue in terms of the repressive effects of jealousy, shame and secrecy, all of which corrupt the ingenuity of innocent love. As far as religion is concerned, they are concerned less with the character of individual faith than with the institution of the Church, its role in politics and its effects on society and therefore on the individual spirit. The experience thus adds a layer to the innocence that darkens his hopeful outlook while also making up for a couple of his blindness.
The style of Songs of Innocence and Knowledge is simple and straightforward, but the language and therefore the rhythms are painstakingly worked out, and therefore the ideas they explore are often deceptively complex. Many of the poems are narrative in style; others, like “The Sick Rose” and “The Divine Image”, make their arguments known through symbolism or through abstract concepts. Blake’s favorite rhetorical techniques are the personification and thus the transformation of biblical symbolism and language. Blake frequently uses the familiar counters of ballads, rhymes and hymns, applying them to his own, often unorthodox, designs. this mixture of the traditional and the unknown is in keeping with Blake’s perennial interest in reconsidering and reframing the assumptions of human thought and social behavior.
Songs of Experience allows Blake to be more direct in his critique of society. He attacks church leaders, wealthy socialites, and cruel parents with equal vehemence. Blake also uses Songs of Experience to develop his own personal theology, which has been described as very traditional in Songs of Innocence. Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience as Forerunners of the Romantic Age In Songs of Experience, Blake wonders how we all know God exists, if a God who allows poor children to suffer and be exploited is really, good. , and if love can exist as an abstract concept independent of human interaction. Blake also alludes to his belief in “free love” during this volume, suggesting that he would love to dismantle the institution of marriage in conjunction with all other artificial restrictions on human freedom.
The songs of innocence and the songs of experience contain interdependent poems. A critical reading of “The Lamb”, for example, is impossible without also reading “The Introduction”, “The Shepherd” and “Night” of Songs of Innocence. Its meaning is further explored when reading “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience, and therefore the reverse.
Taken as a whole, Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience offer a romanticized but carefully thought-out view of nature, God, society, and religion from a selection of perspectives, ultimately demanding that the reader chooses the point of view that he finds most convincing. among the myriad voices of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience poems as precursors of the romantic era.
William Blake published his second collection of poetry, Songs of Innocence, in 1789. He published it with accompanying illustrative plates, a feat accomplished through a process of engraving and illustration of his own design. The publication of Songs of Innocence began its series of “illuminated books”, in which Blake combined text and visual illustration to understand its poetic effect. Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience as forerunners of the Romantic Era Blake always wanted the Songs of Innocence poems to be in the middle of their respective illustrations, sometimes making the analysis of the texts alone problematic.
Songs of Innocence and songs of Blake’s experience as forerunners of the Romantic Age. Several of the poems have an ironic tone, and some, like “The Chimney Sweeper,” involve a harsh critique of the society of Blake’s day.
While clearly intended as a celebration of children and their unwavering enjoyment of the land around them, Songs of Innocence is a warning to adult readers as well. Innocence is lost not only because of aging, but because the forces of culture have allowed a hopeless society to flourish, sometimes to the direct detriment of children’s souls.
The Songs of Innocence and Blake’s Experience Songs as Precursors of the Romantic Age The Experience Songs followed five years later, accompanied by a reprint and slight revision of Songs of Innocence. . Songs of Experience was never printed separately from the previous volume, and Blake intended it as a companion to the earlier work. the same method of engraving plates as an example of the poems is used in Songs of Experience.