The Poems of William Blake

William Blake's Abolitionism

William Blake’s Abolitionism

“I know my Execution is not like Any Body Else I do not intend it should be so.”

William Blake is arguably one of the most eccentric and enigmatic artists of the Romantic era. His ideas about religion, art and society are often considered anachronistic. In general, Blake’s vision is different from other Romantic era artists because of his lower-class background, his personal spirituality, and his interest in the visual arts. However, he does have similar opinions about the important issues of the time, especially concerning the French Revolution, abolitionism and the visionary imagination. In approaching Romantic literature with a global prospective, it is important to consider Blake’s unique contribution and influence, as well as his divisions. His oeuvre converges in fundamental ways with the literary art and the limitations of his time, including views on gender and racial equality. In this paper, I will focus on his ideas concerning slavery and the unique ways in which he expresses his abolitionism through an investigation of his poetry and art. I will examine the presentation of slavery and abolitionism through a close-reading of the poems “The Little Black Boy”, from Songs of Innocence, and “...

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