Blake ( 1757 - 1827 ) was a romantic author. Romanticism was a new attitude to the nature, to the senses and sensations; the poets used a new language to express this attitude, they gave importance to childhood and imagination. In England the Romanticism was not a compact movement, every author started from his personal world and truth and made a personal work (because in England there wasn’t a romantic school).
Romantics can see beyond material reality and only God and the child can share this power of vision.
William Blake was against the values and the culture of the Age of the Enlightenment, he shared the very radical political ideas of the left-wing, so he wanted to defend the right of the individual to happiness and pleasure against the restrictions of morality and religion. He was concerned about the political and social problems of his time: he supported the abolition of slavery and the egalitarian principles (which came from the French Revolution). He believed in revolution, but then he focused his attention on the evil consequences of the Industrial Revolution.
He stated :"Without Contraries there is no progression".
Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy are necessary to human existence.The possibility of progress lies in the tension between opposite states of mind.The two states coexist not only in the human being but also in the figure of the Creator.
He considered Christianity and the Church as responsible for the fragmentation of human life and mind. Blake thought that the institutions like the Church and the family (the marriage) were based on hypocrisy.
He thought that the man could know the world only with imagination and not with sense perceptions; the poet was the mediator who can see more deeply into reality, so he could help the people to identify and to understand the evils of society.
Blake’s poems present a very simple structure and a highly individual use of symbols: for example, the lamb who represents the state of innocence and the tiger who represents the experience.
Two of his main works are Songs of Experience ( pessimistic view of life ) and Songs of Innocence ( dealing with childhood as the symbol of innocence ). These songs are intended to be read together, so the paired poems comment on each other. Experience, identified with adulthood, coexists with and completes Innocence.
Blake himself became a visionary and believed in the illuminating power of his visions
He produced his collection of poems by the method of "illuminated printing" : each page was an engraving of a text surrounded by images and designs coloured by hand in watercolour by the poet himself.