The moment of inspiration: its meaning in the life of William Blake
Rundstein, Jack Lynn Darden
Dowden, W. S.
Master of Arts
William Blake, poet and artist, is considered a unique figure in the history of literature and art. Although he was a contemporary of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, and Lamb, he lived his life isolated from their companionship and communication. Blake's style, both in painting and poetry, was appreciated by only a very few persons during his life. Yet he firmly believed that his art was superior to that of the prevailing fashion because it was imaginative art, and, to him, the imagination was the eternal element in temporal man. Despite all the hardships and disappointments in his life, Blake never lost his determination to create imaginative art. This thesis will examine Blake's political, social, philosophical, and religious convictions of his youth to the interval at Felpham, 1800-1803, and the changes that occurred after that period. The artistic dilemma, in which he found himself at Felpham, forced him to re-evaluate his life and his thought. The prophecy, Milton whose major theme is the validity of inspiration in art, was written as a result of the tension-filled period at Felpham. Blake's character was tried severely, but he triumphed over the temptation to quelch his creative impulses. In addition, Milton contains the transcription of a vision that truly was an inspiration to Blake. Blake's outlook on life showed evidences of a major change after his experience at Felpham. His poetry, especially Milton and Jerusalem, and his art reflect his altered views of the political and social structures, of Neo-Platonio philosophy, and of his renewed devotion to Jesus, the Human Form Divine, the Divine Imagination.