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Master Thesis

William Blake & The Perception of The Real

Abstract : This work is an attempt to express William Blake‟s "message" to mankind. The prophetic poet who "Present, Past & Future, sees" devoted his whole life to tell us, future generations of men, that the civilizations into which we are born and bred are alienating us from our true nature. He wanted to warn us about the dangers of the so-called "progress", about the risks of the cultural dominion of Reason and Science in our societies. He thought that modern men, east and west, north and south, were dangerously enclosing themselves in a materialist and utilitarian vision of reality, that they were being more and more separated from their innate joy and their natural innocence, from their "spiritual strife". This "fall" of men into materialist and destructive civilizations, into selfishness and stupidity, is not an historical fatality to him; it is the product of the way individuals lead their lives in the present. So in his Art, he relentlessly tried to speak to man in a fresh and creative way in order not to be considered as a moralist; he wanted the sincerity of his message to be heard, he wanted man to be free from his disorders and from his illusions. He wanted the human‟s "true nature" to re-awake. He declared that "The Nature of my Work is Visionary or Imaginative; it is an Endeavor to Restore what the Ancients calld the Golden Age." And to succeed in this "Endeavor", he powerfully painted, engraved and wrote, so as to enable man to understand that he can individually establish a mental peace, a psychological freedom that would open his eyes to the "total reality", to the things "as they are, infinite". This restoration of "true vision" within man, to him, is the result of a "cleansed" use of the mind; it is a restoration of the faculty of Imagination made possible by an absolute control of the faculty of Reason. Once this "true vision" is individually restored, according to Blake, the nature of society directly changes, because man is capable of "true action", that is, compassion, and through mutual compassion, this individual mental shift extends to the community of men. As this inner revolution becomes external, step by step, individual after individual, community after community, the vicious circles of the Fall are turned into virtuous ones. This faith of Blake in the potential of mankind to become a benevolent species, rather than a destructive one, as we now are, is what I wanted to express, before all, in this work.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 5:04:13 PM
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  • HAL Id : dumas-00842927, version 1

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Olivier Bochettaz. William Blake & The Perception of The Real. Literature. 2011. ⟨dumas-00842927⟩

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