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'''William Blake''' (28 November 1757 - 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker.

His work is notable for being at once highly religious and very critical of the established churches and traditions.

Many of his poems take place in a {{Verse}} of Blake's own invention, peopled with [[{{Mythopoeia}} original mythological characters]].

By most accounts, he suffered frequent bouts of hallucinatory madness which often served as inspiration for his work. He may have been schizophrenic. It's also been suggested that he had what is known as a bicameral mind, wherein information is exchanged between the subconscious and conscious mind in the form of visions of gods and spirits, supposedly more common in ancient peoples, rather than the more linear thought processes most peoples' brains have evolved. This could have been the result of a mental illness or brain defect of some kind.

Blake is also generally regarded as one of the earliest [[{{UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies}} anarchists]] (e.g. by Peter Marshall in ''William Blake: Visionary Anarchist''), and is also noted for [[ValuesResonance opposing slavery and championing free love]] decades or even centuries before either became particularly common.

His poems include:

* ''Literature/SongsOfInnocenceAndOfExperience''
** ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tyger The Tyger]]''
** ''[[http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172929 London]]''
* ''The Marriage of Heaven and Hell''
* ''The Four Zoas'' (his longest, about 100 pages)
* The "Bible of Hell" sequence, which aimed to retell the creation story in the terms of Blake's {{Mythopoeia}}:
** ''The Book of Urizen''
** ''The Book of Ahania''
** ''The Book of Los''
* ''Milton, a Poem''
** The preface to ''Milton'' includes the short poem "And did those feet in ancient time", adapted into the hymn "Jerusalem" ([[NamesTheSame not to be confused with Blake's epic poem]] ''Jerusalem'', as seen below) by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916. This hymn is now considered one of England's greatest candidates to a national anthem, and is a staple at the Last Night of the Proms. EmersonLakeAndPalmer opens their album ''Brain Salad Surgery'' with a CoverVersion.
*** The hymn was also used in the opening of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
* ''Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion''
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!!Tropes found in the Poems:


* AlienGeometries: Tons of these. Morphing spheres, interdimensional vortexes, and intersecting planes of of existence abound.
* ApocalypseHow: One hinted at at the end of ''Milton'', which finally happens in ''Jerusalem''. A Class X - 5, bordering on a class Z. But this is a ''good'' thing, allowing us to return to our eternal, non-physical states of being. YMMV on how literally this should be interpreted.
* {{Arcadia}}: "The Shepherd" is set in one.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: Ideally.
* AssimilationPlot: In the attempt to resurrect Albion.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Depends how much of one you consider there to be. Blake is very conscious that you're holding a book.
* ChaoticGood: [[invoked]] Discussed the idea centuries before it was named - essentially, he argues that LawfulGood is an oxymoron by nature, since following rules obviates the individual of moral authority. ''The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'' reaches its climax with the following: "I tell you, no virtue can exist without breaking these ten commandments; Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules."
* ComicBooks: Blake's comibnation of narrative and visual storytelling going above simple illustration has led some (including Creator/AlanMoore) so cite Blake's work as a proto-example of the Graphic Novel.
* DesignStudentsOrgasm: Every page of his illuminated books.
* FourElementEnsemble: The Zoas: Luvah = Fire; Urizen = Air; Tharmas = Water; Urthona = Earth.
** Also Urizen's sons in ''The Book of Urizen'': Thiriel = Air; Utha = Water; Grodna = Earth; Fuzon = Fire.
* GainaxEnding - Surprisingly, somewhat averted. The rest of his narrative is so mind-screwy that the apocalyptic endings are rather comprehensible. Still bizarre though.
* AGodAmI: Urizen certainly thinks so, being (in some versions) the first consciousness to emerge from eternity.
* GodIsEvil: A worry usually articulated through the Demiurge figure of Urizen.
* {{Gnosticism}}: His cosmology is practically made of this.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Urizen does this to Fuzon.
* LongList: All over the place.
* MindScrew: This too.
* MindScrewdriver: Infuriatingly averted by Blake himself. There's a whole critical industry dedicated to providing one though.
* {{Mythopoeia}}: A rare non fantasy/sci-fi example.
* NightmareFuel: Both the poems and his artwork.
* TheOldGods: The Four Zoas are this not only to Blake's eternals, but to all human gods, angels and demons, [[CrossoverCosmology a few of whom cameo.]]
* OurNudityIsDifferent: Expect illustrations of the characters to be uniformly starkers. May cross over with AuthorAppeal considering Blake was a practicing nudist.
* PunnyName: With his 'eternals', usually with some indication to their [[{{MeaningfulName}} symbolic role]] within the story. Urizen = Horizon/Your Reason; Luvah = Lover; etc.
* RedShirt: Thulloh is killed by Satan less than ten lines after his introduction.
* RealityWarper: Many characters, but particularly Urizen.
* {{Romanticism}}: One of the Big Six of the English school, along with WilliamWordsworth, SamuelTaylorColeridge, LordByron, JohnKeats and PercyByssheShelley
* {{Satan}}: As [[TheCameo we know him]], and also as an independent character of Blake's cosmology, as Urizen's time-bound form.
* SpokenWordInMusic: His poetry has been revisioned by artistes including VanMorrison.
** The Preface to ''Jerusalem'' has been set to music and is a serious contender for National Anthem, if Britain ever becomes a republic.
* TimeyWimeyBall: A literal example in Milton. See the AlienGeometries above.
* UltimateEvil: The Covering Cherub.
* TheVerse Good luck on trying to find out what it all means

!! William Blake in fiction:
* One of the protagonists of ''Film/DeadMan'' is a Blake fan, and quotes him extensively.
* ''Series/{{Revenge}}'' quotes his famous Infinite/Perception statement in the episode 'Perception'
* ''Comicbook/FromHell'' reveals that his famous portrait of a monster "The Ghost of a Flea" was actually a portrait of the ghost of Sir William Gull, aka JackTheRipper.
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