Wednesday, February 9, 2011

William Blake

I first came across Blake as an undergraduate at university. And there started a passion that has rarely subsided since. Blake, loosely associated (I believe) with the Romantic movement of English letters, is at heart a visionary who defied convention to produce something great. Both a poet and a visual artist, Blake follow his own thinking in almost all of his output. His large epic poems are sprawling works of symbolist energy. His most beautiful works, his shorter poems of Innocence and of Experience, are generally regarded as the pinnacle of English poetry. I had the good fortune, while in Cambridge on a study trip, to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum and be allowed to view an original manuscript of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Words do not describe the beauty, and even modern facsimile editions can not capture the dazzling quality of the gold leafing that is speckled throughout. Blake is a wonder and a marvel. I have been fortunate enough to know his work.

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