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Songs of Innocence and
William Blake…read more

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Blake lived between 1757 and 1827. He
is sometimes considered a Romantic
poet, and had a particularly strong
interest in society and the effects that its
rules and restrictions had on the
Blake believed strongly in individual
freedom and was opposed to
established institutions such as the
church and the state, which he thought
.stifled freedom
In "Songs of Innocence and
Experience", poems which celebrate the
innocent, uncorrupted joy of childhood
are set against poems which show how
this joy was destroyed by oppression
.and exploitation…read more

Slide 3

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Another important stylistic feature
of Blake's poetry is his use of
symbolism: clear, concrete images
are used to represent more
abstract ideas. Another
characteristic of his poetry is the
use of simple, direct vocabulary,
though the apparent
straightforwardness of his diction
can be deceptive, as the
underlying meaning is often more
Although his works predate the
earliest of Wordsworth and
Coleridge, Blake's ideas and the
clarity of his language make him
.seem the most modern…read more

Slide 4

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Blake and The Romantics
Blake did not belong to the same social circles as Wordsworth,
.Coleridge etc
As a member of the working class, Blake identifies more with
.the under privileged
Enthusiasm for nature (countryside
(seen as superior
Uneasiness about industrialisation led
to nostalgia for rural life
Interest in childhood, as a period in life
when perception of the world has not
been distorted by the conventions of
.adult society
Attempts to use language which is
.simpler and closer to everyday speech…read more

Slide 5

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Blake believes that "all that lives is
holy"- links to The Divine Image. "All
."deities reside in the human breast
Slightly confused beliefs-
Manichaeism/ Gnosticism (combines
beliefs of several major religions,
including the belief that humans are a
spiritual being "of one substance with
the father". Disagrees with church's
.role as middleman
Supports American war of
independence and Thomas Paine ("my
mind is my own church", "Government,
even in the best of states, is but a
necessary evil. In its worst states, it's
an intolerable one", "human nature is
("of itself vicious…read more

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Links with Mary Wollestonecraft's
ideas- "The staff of Christianity is
the necessary support of human
weakness", "poetry is the
."forerunner of civilisation
Industrial revolution-
industrialisation led a move from
the countryside into crowded
cities- lost pastoral ideals
Sympathetic to Swedenborg's
church- idea of dualism ("There
are two worlds: a spiritual world
where angels and spirits are, and
a natural world, where men are.")
links to The Chimney Sweeper in
.Songs of Innocence…read more

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