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Blake: a Sensible Choice

  • Date Submitted: 12/04/2010 04:23 PM
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Blake: A Sensible Choice

The Romantic era developed in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and was one of the most influential time periods of literature and visual art going forward. Social tensions were hot in England, and were mainly induced by the feelings produced regarding the situations of the French and American Revolutions (Manning and Wolfson, 7). The dominant literary figures of that time broke traditional boundaries of the use of form and meter in literature, but also content. The Romantics were largely concerned with “the imagination”, which was defined as a “turn, even an escape, from the tumultuous and confusing here-and-now” (Manning and Wolfson, 9). Yet, the Romantics, especially Blake, took upon themselves a bardic quality which remove themselves from the world as they knew it, and positioned themselves as commentators on all aspects of England’s socio-economic climate through being immersed in Nature and reflecting upon the feelings therein found (Manning and Wolfson, 9-12). Through a close reading and analysis of a selection from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, I will prove that these works should necessarily be added to any syllabus concerning Romanticism in Literature, and have the resolve to stand alone as individual poems of this time period.
To look at all of the works contained within the bounds of Blake’s Songs of Innocence would be biting off a bit more than we would like to chew, so I have reduced my selections to two: “Introduction” and “The Ecchoing Green”, and will address each one with the utmost fervency and zeal. “Introduction” is essential in understanding the Songs of Innocence because it sets up the motive to write said songs, and also reveals much about how these songs are considered Romantic. This song describes a piper who has a vision of a child sitting on a cloud who tells him to pipe a song, sing the song, and, ultimately write the song. As this piper pipes a “song about a Lamb” (Blake, “Introduction” 5),...

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