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William Blake A Study of His Life and Art Work   By:

William Blake A Study of His Life and Art Work by Irene Langridge

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WILLIAM BLAKE

[Illustration: FROM BLAIR'S "GRAVE": THE LAST JUDGMENT

Engraved by L. Schiavonetti after Blake's design. 1808]

WILLIAM BLAKE

A STUDY OF HIS LIFE AND ART WORK

BY IRENE LANGRIDGE

LONDON GEORGE BELL AND SONS 1904

CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO. TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.

PREFACE

Some years ago, I became deeply interested in William Blake, and made myself familiar with all that our public collections in London contain of his art work. It seemed to me that this work was still so little known and appreciated by the public, that a short book might well be written to serve as a pointer to our national Blake treasures. The standard works on Blake Gilchrist's Life, Mr. A. C. Swinburne's Critical Essay, Messrs. Ellis and Yeats' exhaustive volumes, and Mr. W. M. Rossetti's Aldine Essay are of great literary excellence and high critical quality, and must ever remain the great authorities on the subject; but, owing to these works being either out of print, very lengthy, very expensive, or unillustrated, a want may be supplied by, and an opportunity of usefulness open to, such a book as the present one. Different in scope as it is from any other book on Blake, and modest in aim, it deals with the poet artist as he is manifested in those works of his which are accessible to the public.

In seeking to sketch again his artistic personality, I have been guided by the conclusions of his eminent biographers and critics wherever they coincided with my own intuitive convictions. But in the study of a character and work so out of the usual, so exotic and strange as those of Blake, unanimity of opinion and judgement is hardly to be hoped for, and the variety of points of view from which each new student sees him, may assist to the rounding and filling out of the portrait drawn in so masterly a manner in the first instance by Alexander Gilchrist.

My best thanks are due to Mr. A. B. Langridge for reading my proofs and for the photographs which he took expressly to illustrate this volume. Also to Mr. Frederic Shields for numerous acts of kindness and the loan of original Blake drawings, to Sir Charles Dilke, to Messrs. Chatto and Windus, to Mr. Laurence Binyon, Mr. G. K. Fortescue, and to Dr. G. C. Williamson for help given to me in various ways.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. EARLY YEARS 1

II. LIFE AT FELPHAM 21

III. THE PROCESSION OF THE PILGRIMS 32

IV. DECLINING YEARS 45

V. HIS RELIGIOUS VIEWS 57

VI. HIS MYSTICAL NATURE 72

VII. HIS ART WORK 80

Songs of Innocence. Book of Thel. Gates of Paradise. Songs of Experience. Tales for Children.

VIII. THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 101

Vision of the Daughters of Albion. America. Europe.

IX. THE PROPHETIC BOOKS, continued 116

Book of Urizen. The Small Book of Designs. The Large Book of Designs. Song of Los. Book of Los. Jerusalem. Milton.

X. WORK IN ILLUSTRATION 136

Young's "Night Thoughts." Blair's "Grave." Thornton's "Pastorals." The Book of Job.

XI. WORK IN THE EXHIBITION OF 1904 159

XII. ENGRAVINGS AND DRAWINGS IN THE PRINT ROOM 176

The Canterbury Pilgrimage. Dante. Pencil Sketches. Works in the National Gallery.

INDEX 195

ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE PAGE

THE LAST JUDGMENT (from Blair's "Grave") Frontispiece

PORTRAIT OF BLAKE 1

THE LITTLE GIRL LOST (from "Songs of Experience") 12

THE DIVINE IMAGE (from "Songs of Innocence") 16

"AMERICA," a page from 20

THE LAZAR HOUSE 22

"EUROPE," a page from 24

LOS, ENITHARMON, AND ORC (from "Urizen") 26

THE RE UNION OF THE SOUL AND THE BODY (from "The Grave") 32

THE PILGRIMAGE TO CANTERBURY (Stothard) 36

CHAUCER'S "CANTERBURY PILGRIMS" (Blake) 36

SATAN TORMENTING JOB 44

BLAKE'S ROOM IN FOUNTAIN COURT (F... Continue reading book >>




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