5.11.11

On William Blake

            Born in the year 1757, William Blake is considered among the greatest contributors to not only English literature, but also art. Though being unrecognized throughout his lifetime, he eventually came to be known and altered the thoughts of most readers of the time with his unusual perspectives emerging from his unusual self. Butler’s unordinary childhood and his different perception of life were the two crucial things that caught my attention most when carrying on my research on this revolutionary Romantic writer, painter, and printmaker.
            When we turn back and have a look in 18th century England, we see the first half having part in The Enlightenment Period and the other half being known for the heavy turning to sentimentality: Romanticism. After his works are criticized and examined many years later, it is the “Romanticism Movement” itself which will lay place for Butler also. The main reason for this is the “Romantic Era” being a revolt against all the scientific chaos going on in England for years and Butler also being against this rational way of thought. Aldous Huxley points out this major difference of perspective of Butler’s in the first sentences of his work The Doors of Perception: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite”. Even from this quote, we can sense why Butler came to be considered among the romantics. He doesn’t see the world from only one perspective; for if the surroundings were seen from only one point of view, there would only be one truth and “perfectness” that all mankind would be obliged to accept. This is exactly where Blake’s extraordinary thoughts take place. Perhaps this uncommon thought of his can be traced back all the way to his childhood; the beginning of the world of imagination.
            Upon doing some research, I got the sense that Blake could never separate the imagination and the world of reality within his mind; thus being regarded as “crazy”. During his childhood for example, he was inspired by angels and would walk around proclaiming having had discussions with spirits. He also revealed that he once saw God looking through the window at him. Perhaps because of all these encounters, his writings, as well as his paintings, had the feeling of an urge to make the uncanny, the supernatural seem real. Or, of course, this is only how I see the whole situaiton. Perhaps Blake sat back and enjoyed the writings of his own reality and maybe celebrated how realistically he has written. In fact, he credited many of his work to conversations he had with his brother who was dead; again provoking us to question what Blake’s “real” reality was.
            "The imagination is not a State: it is the Human existence itself." says Blake himself. His isolation is obviously due to his own self but this doesn’t seem to be a problem to him at all for his belief in creating his own world and reality seems very powerful to not regard this situation at all as something negative and depressing. In addition to this, as I have pointed out, his perspective of the world around differs too much and is mainly connected with pure existence and pure thoughts of surroundings that he could care less about any world except for the one he has created. I strongly believe that every one of us must have a characteristic of this fellow in order to understand the main function of our existence and to appreciate it thoroughly.

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