William Blakes Influence On His Career History Essay
William Blake’s life had a wielding influence on his career as an author and this fact shall be established in this paper. William Blake was an English poet, engraver, painter and author. He was born on the 28th of November, 1757 to a hosiery seller in London (Eaves). Blake was one of the few authors believed to have been inspired by a divine power that was beyond human comprehension as these were seen from the depth in his prophetic work. It was Blake’s excellent imaginative power that distinguished him from other poets and authors of his time. One of the things that influenced Blake’s career as a poet and as an author was his cynicism with the apparent impossibility of humans to attain perfection (Michael). Blake was a poet that believed that true innocence would only be an illusion, if the transformative power of the human imagination is not witnessed or experienced. The message that Blake was trying to pass across to readers was that there was a higher level of human innocence, one that emphasizes the triumph of the spirit of humans over reason. It was on the basis of the differing states of the human soul that Blake wrote some of his poems, especially The Lamb and The Tyger. It is therefore clear that Blake was an artist, whose works were inspired by his great ability to imagine things way beyond the understanding of humans and the point remains that an aspect of his life would have probably influenced him. Blake wrote several prophetic books and it is believed that Blake was inspired by the spiritual visions he saw. One of the events that had a great impact in defining Blake’s career was when he moved to Felpham. Blake moved to the coastline town of Felpham in 1800 and he lived
there for three years leaving the town in 1803. Blake worked under the influence and guidance of William Hayley in Felpham from 1800 to 1803 (Eaves 261-268). Though, Blake had a short stint, but the fact remains that the short time he spent in the town played a significant role in his later works. The importance of Blake’s sojourn in Felpham would be appreciated, if one considers the fact that Blake had experienced some failures in his career before he moved there. The Night Thoughts engravings by Blake did not enjoy a commendable financial benefit and this was the point that he was invited by William Hayley, a renowned poet at that time. Blake was brought by Hayley in order to understudy him. It should therefore be noted that it was under the patronage of William Hayley, that the career of Blake as an artist and a poet became revitalized. While in Felpham, Blake made engravings for Hayley. He also painted tempera portraits of poetry icons and minuscule portrait for his friends. Blake received commissions for the many works he did for Hayley and he was also taught Hebrew and Greek by his host in Felpham. Blake also acknowledged the importance of Felpham to his career when he said that, “Felpham is a sweet place for Study, because it is more spiritual than London.” (Michael 114).
The great visionary works and epics that were written by Blake from 1804 to 1820 were as a result of the three years experience that Blake had in Felpham from 1800 to 1803. It was at this city that Blake had the experience of receiving great spiritual insights that prepared him for the writing of great and mature works like Vala or the Four Zoas that was revised after 1800. It
should be pertinent to note that it was the experience that Blake had in Felpham that influenced this great work. Another great work that was written as a result of Blake’s experience in Felpham was Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion that was written from the period of 1804 to 1820. Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion was the longest literary work of Blake and this underlines the importance of his stay in Felpham (Michael 112-117). A very intelligent question that should be asked is: how truly important is Blake’s stay in Felpham to his career? The answer to this question could be seen in Blake’s determination to break away from the grip of his patron poet, William Hayley (Eaves 267). In writing Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion, Blake said that he wanted to create his own system and style, instead of allowing himself to be enslaved by another man’s structure. Blake felt that Hayley was using him for his selfish interest and this what caused him to create a system for himself. It was on this grounds that Blake wrote these great works after his departure from Felpham. The impact of Felpham would be appreciated if one considers the great works that Blake produced after he left the city. One of the great works that was inspired by Blake’s determination and will to succeed after leaving Felpham was Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (Eaves 259-266).
It was also at Felpham, that Blake concentrated on establishing the relationship that God had with men and this was what produced the work Milton: A Poem. Blake had a series of discussions with Hayley and t is generally believed that this was what inspired him to
concentrate more on writing Milton. Milton is actually a poem in two books that sought to justify the kind of relationship that God had with men. Though, this work was finished and engraved in 1808, but the fact remains that the success of this work would not have been achieved, if Blake did not seek some advice from Hayley in Felpham on the work. The fact that Blake started Milton: A Poem in the cottage underlines the importance of the city of Felpham to the career of Blake. It was Blake’s dissatisfaction with Hayley that inspired him to write Milton: a Poem.
Blake created watercolours from 1800 to 1809 and this work was used by Blake to illustrate the Bible. It was the experience of Blake at Felpham that inspired this work as he actually started this work while he was in the city. Blake’s determination to succeed was driven by his feelings that Hayley was more interested in making money out of him rather than in true artistry. His final drawings and engravings are the 21 illustrations to the book of Job that was eventually completed in 1825 (Eaves 267) and Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy that was started in 1826.
Blake eventually died on the 12th of August, 1827 in London. It is pertinent to note that William Blake died in penury. The only probable reason that Blake did not get out of poverty was due to the large expenses that was involved in his combination of printing words and designing illustrations at the same time. Blake also could not keep up with the speed of the engravers that existed at his time. Blake’s legacy lived after him as some of his works are still being referenced to till date.
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