William Blake
1. Biography
2. Characteristics of his
3. Some famous poems
4. His paintings
William Blake was born on November 28, 1757, in London in a poor
He produced his earliest known poems in 1769, and was
apprenticed in 1771 to the engraver James Basire with whom he
remained for seven years.
At the end of the apprenticeship in 1778, Blake studied painting
briefly at the Royal Academy. but he left after a disagreement
with his teacher, the famous artist George Michael Mōser.
In 1782, against his father's objections, Blake married an
illiterate but intelligent girl named Catherine Boucher.
In 1783, his first volume of verse was published.
He opened a print shop in 1784 where he was assisted by his
brother Robert.
• In later years, he became
more and more covert in
his expression, and in his
declining years shaped the
mystic, often obscure,
allegorical works known as
the Prophetic Books.
• He died on August 27,
1827, and was buried at
Bunhill Fields in a pauper's
grave which was soon
Characteristics of his
his symbolism
1. In order to express his unique perceptions, his view of history
and his concept of Oneness, Blake used old Christian symbols,
often enriching their meaning for his own purposes. For example,
Jesus is God, the Redeemer, the Lamb, but He is also imagination.
Hell, in the traditional sense, is the abode of the lost. In Blake,
the lost are those without imagination. To Blake, Hell is also the
home of energy, sex, passion, all the impulses which conventional
religions suppressed, but which Blake saw as the life forces of
2. He created new symbols and myths in order to project his highly
individual visions. Blake's original mind required original forms of
expression. “I must create a System or be enslav'd to another
man's,” Blake declared. “I will not Reason and Compare, my business
is to create.”
Characteristics of his
• His symbol
Blake's symbols were gods no one had ever heard of
before; his myth of Creation was entirely new. The verbal
and pictorial symbols and images which Blake created for
his system were personal and highly ambiguous and are the
subjects of much controversy among Blake's interpreters.
• Only one of Blake's poems was published professionally
during his lifetime: Poetical Sketches, 1783. The French
Revolution, 1791, was prepared for the press by Joseph
Johnson but was never printed. Other poems issued from
his own engraving shop, made by his special process of
etching called “Illuminated Printing.” The remainder of his
poetry was left for posterity to disseminate.
Some famous poems
• Poetical Sketches
• There Is No Natural
Religion I and II
• The Book of Thel
• Tiriel
• America
• Europe
• Milton
• Songs of Innocence
• Songs of Experience
• The Marriage of
Heaven and Hell
• The French Revolution
• The Visions of the
Daughters of Albion
His paintings
His paintings