Eras & Modes in English Poetry

By Josephine Miles | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
THE SUBLIMITY OF WILLIAM BLAKE

WHAT is the community of the poet Blake, not the painter, not the engraver, not the dreamer or good fellow, but the poet? With whom did he share the materials of his art? Some say with the metaphysical poets like Donne and Vaughan; some say with the romantic poets like Wordsworth and Shelley; some say with none -- that Blake had no community.

It is true that his late eighteenth-century era liked to stress originality, real novelty, which might preclude the copying of other authors and the sharing of vocabulary and sentence structure. And indeed, though Blake was not so averse as Reynolds to copying, making patient and profitable exercises in the Poetical Sketches as Miss Lowery has shown us, he tended to agree explicitly with Edward Young and the rest that classical unifications were less to be trusted than the unities of individual spirit. One might well expect him then

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