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About William Blake Blake is one of the most powerful writers in the English language He valued over everything imagination and its power to liberate the human spirit from its earthy confines STEVENSON W H1988 p12 His work shows humanity under different guises as it struggles to escape from the tyranny of god Professors philosophers and the ordinary people have sought high and low to discover the key to his paintings and his poetry There is agreement however that the development of Blakesstyles owes much to the contentious varieties of taste and techniques that produced what we now call Romanticism ESSICK 1994p11 The Romantic revolt was directed against an 18th Century society known as Classicism Romanticism sprung from classicism because it embraced everything classicism excluded - passion self expression spontaneity inspiration unrestrained energy imagination violence and irregularity strangeness the shocking the elemental Romanticism emphasised passion rather than reason At the heart of Romanticism lay powerful impulse GELDING Robert1989 p35 Prior to Romanticism enthusiasm was frowned upon and the darker side of the spirit was ignored in favour of the sunlit world of consciousness This was mainly because of the Augustan Age the Age of Reason and Sir Isaac Newtons discoveries like gravity People liked what they could understand As the conventions of Romanticism changed so did the topics The common thread was the avoidance of the middle ground In short Poets and Painters no longer started to express their views on the rich and the higher classes but started to concentrate on the ordinary the everyday and the typical This was influenced by the French Revolution when the middle class was strengthened World Book Encyclopedia1998 French Revolution During the late 1700 and early 1800 artists from the Romantic movement protested against the increasingly mechanised and standardised character of society They also objected to the social injustices and political tyranny of the time These artists turned to
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