The Complexity of William Blake's Poetry Essay

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The Complexity of William Blake's Poetry

Northrop Frye, in his critical essay, "Poetry and Design," states; "In a world as specialized as ours, concentration on one gift and a rigorous subordination of all others is practically a moral principle" (Frye 137). William Blake's refusal to follow this moral principle by putting his poetry before his art, or vice versa, makes his work extraordinary as well as complex and ambiguous. Although critics attempt to juggle Blake's equally impressive talents, they seem to land on either one side or the other; failing to transcend, as Blake did, that moral principle of concentration. Blake, not only controlled his art and poetry through innovative printing techniques, but controlled how his readers …show more content…

To create anew both the illustrated book and its reader, to bring into relief the infinite form of the book hidden by fragmentation's of its art, Blake created his method of illuminated printing. "A comparison of Blake's works with typical eighteenth-century illustrated books reveals some of the sources available to Blake for illustrative techniques and shows points of contact between Blake's commercial career as copy engraver and his vocation as book artist." (Easson 36)

"The illustrated book's structure is determined by the interaction of function and the book's physical properties, thereby establishing the quality and degree of correlation within the book's text and designs" (Easson 41) The convenience and wisdom of yoking together decoration and illustration reside in the practical need to identify certain structural relationships of a book's text and designs. It is not just "art" and then poetry underneath it or above it, but with the integration of decorative illustration,Although "decorative illustration" was used in the traditional sense to simply, "beautify the book in which it used," Blake saw it has "sublime ornament." To Blake, ornamental or decorative illustration has a motivating power: Ornament simultaneously enriched the book and compels the

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