BLAKE, WILLIAM° (1757–1827), English poet and engraver. One of the great figures of the English romantic movement, Blake described his poems as prophecies, declaring that his model was the Bible, which he termed "the great code of art." The works of Homer and Ovid were for him, by contrast, perversions of art and imagination. Blake was in touch with various occult circles and shared with them the belief that Britain was the cradle of the Israelite people. This explains his tendency to identify English names and places with those in the Bible. His work is saturated in biblical imagery and allusion. His main biblical poems are "The Four Zoas," "Milton," and "Jerusalem." The last quatrain of his preface to "Milton" well illustrates Blake's revolutionary mystique: "I will not cease from mental fight/Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,/Till we have built Jerusalem/ In England's green and pleasant land." In freeing his verse from the shackles of classical prosody and adopting for his prophetic books something resembling the syntax of the Bible, Blake may have been influenced by the 18th-century Oxford scholar, robert lowth . Although he knew little or no Hebrew, and was not Jewish, Blake was also influenced by ideas which can be traced to the kabbalah . His notion of the Giant Albion, whose limbs contain heaven and earth, is derived from the kabbalistic image of adam kadmon (Primal Man). Equally kabbalistic are his notions of a divine world divided into male and female principles, and his conception of a primordial "Fall" from which all evil flows in both the divine and the human realms. In spite of many Judaistic ideas and currents of feeling, Blake's moral ideas are, paradoxically enough, anti-Judaic, even antisemitic. Like the Gnostics, he viewed the Law and the Commandments as an evil system, and he identified the God of Sinai with some evil demiurge. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Saurat, Blake and Modern Thought (1929); J. Bronowski, Man Without a Mask (1944); H. Fisch, Jerusalem and Albion (1964), 273–80; D. Hirst, Hidden Riches (1964); S. Damon, Blake Dictionary (1965); M. Roston, Poet and Prophet (1965). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY:   M. Eaves (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to William Blake (2003); N. Frye, Fearful Symmetry (1969); ODNB online. (Harold Harel Fisch)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Blake,William — Blake, William. 1757 1827. British poet and artist whose paintings and poetic works, such as Songs of Innocence (1789) and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (c. 1790), have a mystical, visionary quality. * * * …   Universalium

  • Blake, William — born Nov. 28, 1757, London, Eng. died Aug. 12, 1827, London English poet, painter, engraver, and visionary. Though he did not attend school, he was trained as an engraver at the Royal Academy and opened a print shop in London in 1784. He… …   Universalium

  • Blake, William — (1757–1827)    Artist and Poet.    Blake was trained in London as an engraver. He was the author of a series of volumes of poetry, all of which were illustrated by himself. These included the Songs of Innocence, the Marriage of Heaven and Hell,… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Blake, William — (1757 1827)    A British poet, painter, and printmaker who from childhood onwards experienced * dreams and *visions depicting *apparitions and metaphysical scenes. At the age of4, he claimed to have seen the face of God put his head to the window …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Blake, William — (1757 1827)    London born poet, painter and engraver who had a childhood vision of angels and the prophet Ezekiel. It was possibly this early experience that led him in later life to join the Swedenborgian New Church. He wrote and illuminated… …   British and Irish poets

  • Blake, William — (1757 1827)    Poet and painter, b. in London, was from earliest youth a seer of visions and a dreamer of dreams, seeing Ezekiel sitting under a green bough, and a tree full of angels at Peckham, and such he remained to the end of his days. His… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Blake, William — (11/28/1757 London 8/12/1827 London) (England)    Painter, printmaker, poet, and mystic. A major figure in the art of the 18th and 19th century. Much of his work consisted of visionary religious images. Most famous for illustrating the works of… …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

  • Blake, William — ► (1757 1827) Pintor, grabador y poeta británico. Es uno de los poetas más representativos del prerromanticismo. Obras: Cantos de inocencia (1789) y Cantos de experiencia (1794). * * * (28 nov. 1757, Londres, Inglaterra–12 ago. 1827, Londres).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BLAKE, WILLIAM —    poet, painter, and engraver, born in London, where, with rare intervals, he spent his life a mystic from his very boyhood; apprenticed to an engraver, whom he assisted with his drawings; started on original lines of his own as illustrator of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • BLAKE, William — (1757 1827)    English poet and MYSTIC whose writings inspired the COUNTER CULTURE of the 1960s …   Concise dictionary of Religion

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