Blake and the diversity of influences over his poetry

AuthorBlerina Jashari
Pages93-100
Vo
l.
6
N
o
.
3
N
ovember, 2020
ISS
N 2410-391
8
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cces on
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ine at www.ii
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cc
l
.or
g
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A
cademic Journal o
f
Business,
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dministration, Law and Social Sciences
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PCCL Publishin
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A
ustria
B
lake and the diversit
y
of in uences over his poetr
y
a. Blerina
ashari
Ab
str
a
ct
W
illiam Blake’s poetry
f
alls into three main categories. First, there are the lyrics, o
f
which the
m
ost important ones are the Songs of
I
nnocence and Songs of
E
xperience.
I
n this category we
nd the earlier poems included in the Poetical Sketches (1769-78), many of which are indeed
e
xperiments in which Blake partially imitates earlier writers such as Shakespeare and others.
Some manuscripts can be included in the rst category, such as ‘Pickering Manuscript’, ‘The
M
ental Traveller’, ‘The Crystal Cabinet’, which are essential to understand Blake’s developing
m
ythology.
I
n the second category or group of poems we have the short prophecies which include: “Tiriel”
(1789), “The Book of Thel” (1789), “The Marria
g
e of Heaven and Hell” (1790-1793), “The Visions
o
f
the Dau
g
hters o
f
A
lbion” (1793), “
A
merica” (1793), “The Book o
f
U
rizen” (1794), etc., which
b
uild up a mythology created by Blake in regard to the creation of the world and the nature o
f
God. These “short prophecy” books should be read in conjunction with the historical events
a
nd the background of the eighteenth century and the early years of the nineteenth century.
T
herefore, they are very complex works, which need to be read at mythological, historical and
p
sychological levels and above all as works of art in their own right.
I
n the third category or group of poems we have the long propheciesthat include “The Four
Z
oas” (1795-1804), “Milton” (1804-1808) and “Jerusalem”. Writing them in epic form, Blake
s
trove to provide an account of the human history from its beginnings to his day.
W
illiam Blake was widely in uenced by the Swedish visionary and religious thinker,
E
manuel Swedenborg, by the German mystic Jakob Böhme, as well as the esoteric doctrine
of
R
o
s
i
cr
u
c
ia
n
i
sm
1
, which had had its adherents in
E
n
g
land since Robert Fludd. Blake was
i
n uenced by mystical and magical ideas, and since Blake was himself a visionary, his ideas
o en times came in the form of clearly visualized encounters with angels, prophets or other
s
ymbolic characters. Blake’s poems and prophetic books, except for his rst volume of poems,
P
oetical Sketches, were etched by himself on copper plates with decorative designs. He was
a
n engraver by profession, and his work as a poet and prophet was li le known during his
li
f
e
t
i
m
e.
2
Ke
y
words
:
William Blake, diversity, poetry
.
I
ntr
oduc
t
io
n
Sp
eaking o
f
the im
p
act that Swedenborg had on Blake, W.B.
Y
eats in his
I
ntroduction
t
o
The Collected Poems o
f
William Blake
m
aintained that it must never be
f
orgo en
that whatever Blake borrowed
f
rom Swedenborg or Böhme,
f
rom m
y
stic or
1
Car
l
EdwinLind
g
re
n
m
aintains that “Rosicrucianism is a
p
hiloso
p
hical secret societ
y
which
h
o
lds
a
d
o
ctr
i
n
e
or
“built on esoteric truths of the ancient
p
ast”, which, “concealed from
t
he average man,
p
rovide insight into nature, the
p
h
y
sical universe and the s
p
iritual
rea
lm” –
,
J
ournal of Religion and Ps
y
chical Research, Volume 18, Number 3:141–48, 1995.
2
D
aiches
,
David
,
A
Critical History o
f
E
nglish Literatur
e
: The Romantics to Present Da
y
,
London Secker and Warburg, 1968,
p
. 862
.

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