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William Blake

  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· Why was Blake different from other children?

· What texts influenced Blake most of all?

· What is characteristic of Blake’s poetical style?

· What is Blake’s most popular work?

· What was Blake’s reputation among his contemporaries?

 

William Blake is commonly known as a poet. A few people know him as a painter. Blake, a well-known poet today, was not as famous and well known in his life. He was an imaginative and expressive person, as it is evident from his expression of thoughts through poetry and painting. He was a true artist in the real sense of the word.

William was born on 28th of November, 1757 in London, Great Britain. He was the third child of Catherine nee Wright and James Blake, a hosier and haberdasher, belonging to a middle class family. They at that time were residing at Broad Street in Golden Square, Soho. He was thought to be different from rest of the children from his early childhood due to his different approach of looking towards things. His parents decided to send him to drawing classes instead of sending him to attend regular school. Within two years he also showed his inclination towards poetry.

William Blake was highly influenced by Bible from the very early years. Later he developed interest in more complex study of literature such as John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” which is a detailed literary work. It too has a biblical topic. Moreover his influences include Dante’s “Divina Commedia” again a masterpiece of the world of literature.

His poetry has been classified as being influenced by Romantic Movement. He has also been regarded as pre-romantic too as his work largely appeared in 18th century. Blake was greatly influenced by American and French Revolutions. His poetical style can be regarded as original, mystical, prophetic and simple in language. William wished his work to be widely read and understood without compromising on his themes. His style is innovative along with its directness and freshness. “Songs of Innocence” still is the most popular of all of his literary works.

Influenced by Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’, he started illustrations in 1805. His illustrations of that time include also ‘Virgil’ and ‘Paradise Lost’. Blake’s illustrative work took the medium of water colours to new dimensions. He did his job with extraordinary mastery.

During his life Blake’s poetry was not famous amongst common people. And many of his paintings were also regarded as ‘hideous’. A few people also called him ‘insane’ as he was also friend of ‘mad Shelley’. But yet, he was mentioned in ‘A Biographical Dictionary of the Living Authors of Great Britain and Ireland’, published in 1816 and S.T.Coleridge considered him as ‘man of genius’.

 

_____________________

hosier – торговец трикотажными изделиями

haberdasher – галантерейщик

prophetic – пророческий

“Songs of Innocence” – «Песни Невинности»

Shelley – П.Б. Шелли, английский поэт 19 века.

 

  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: theme, hideous, extraordinary, genius.
  3. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· Besides poetry, Blake was good at another kind of art.

· Blake was born into an aristocratic family.

· Blake was very famous during his lifetime.

· Blake made a number of illustrations to other people’s literary works.

 

 


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