William Blake’s Radicalism Discussion

Blake’s Art

“Michael Phillips demonstrates William Blake’s printing process, explaining how it relates to his work as a poet and artist.”

Blake’s illustrations of “The Lamb” (Songs of Innocence) and “The Tyger” (Songs of Experience):

Other Blake artwork can be found at The William Blake Archive (Links to an external site.)

The video I am commenting on is “William Blake’s Radicalism (Links to an external site.).”

Reading Discussion 3

Read and annotate the texts for this week; then, respond to the questions below and participate in the discussion:

INITIAL POST (due 9/18):

  1. Select two counterpart poems (side by side in the handout) from Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, and focus on the speakers in the poems. Compare the speakers (age, attitudes, emotions, etc.). Cite and analyze specific lines from the poems in your comparison.
  2. Use one symbolism or allusion concept (from Ch. 17 in our literature textbook or the “Symbolism” lecture) to identify themes in Keats’s “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” OR Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.” Highlight the concept in bold.

Length: One page (250 words) total

Respond in a structured, focused response. This isn’t a free-write in which you just jot down thoughts. Write clear, grammatical sentences, in coherent paragraphs, and use an appropriate tone. Your response should show that you are familiar with the texts. Do not offer a long summary or background information unless it is related to the question.

RESPONSE POST (due 9/19):

Respond to at least one classmate’s post with a thoughtful comment. You are not limited to praise or agreement. If something needs to be pointed out, do it in a polite but clear way. Avoid irrelevant comments; focus on the texts and the classmate’s ideas. Avoid vague comments like “I agree” or “Good work.”

Note: Avoid posting blank or “test” posts. If you are unclear about the instructions or having trouble, contact me before posting.

A monarchy plagued by scandal and a people divided against itself. A Tory prime minister may be both amusing and stern, dignified and petty. a defeated left opposition eager for new leadership. a group of famous artists and sculptors who are controlled by the top one percent. And there are countless additional artists who make a living by any means required, including commercial work, teaching, modeling, and food service.

There are even more similarities between the United Kingdom in the years following Brexit and William Blake’s Britain in the 1790s. A concern, founded in Christian eschatology and working-class Methodism, that the end of the century signaled the end of the world began to spread among the working classes in the late eighteenth century. This anxiety was referred to by the historian E.P. Thompson as “the chiliasm of despair.” ¹ Anger over growing economic inequality, doubts about the king’s abilities, and worry about the French Revolution all played a role in the attitude (and, subsequently, the execution of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette). 2 Urban workers and small businessmen often chose the devil they knew (the English king) to the one they didn’t, fearful of losing what little riches and position they had (revolutionary ideas from France). And rural employees were discouraged as well, gripped by fear of becoming broke and entering the humiliating system of poor assistance. To paraphrase radical journalist William Cobbett’s description of England in the 1820s, it was a society of “rich land and poor laborers.” ³ Here is where modern-day Britain and the United States most resemble Blake’s Britain.

Complete Answer:

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