Essay by Gidz.08High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2009

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Romanticism, for English poetry, roughly began in the year 1798 and to 1837. It was a rejection to the previous movement of Enlightenment. Enlightenment emphasized on rationalized reasoning, while Romantic poets were interested in personal experiences and emotions; they emphasized everyday things; they showed an interest in sensitive, distorted, or melancholic states; it was a reach back to the medieval times. Most of the times, romantic poets or artists stressed religion as the main or absolute power and it was depicted in their works. But, many young Romantic poets portrayed revolutionary ideals in their works also, which is ironic because Romanticism, as I mentioned above, was reactionary as well. One of the most famous English Romantic poet was William Blake. He was born in London on 28th November 1757. As a child, Blake would see things that were very surreal. He claimed that he saw “a tree filled with angels.”

Even during his adult life he was very intimate with these dreamlike fantasies.

Blake was very artistic as well. His artistic style was influenced by Greek and Roman styles. In 1772, Blake was apprenticed under James Basire, engraver to the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society. There, he learned the craft of copy engraving; he engraved many sketches, including portraits of Henry III, Eleanor of Castile, Edward III, and Richard II. In 1779, Blake became a journeyman copy engraver, after finishing his 7-year apprenticeship with Basire. At the same time, he was also preparing himself for a career as a painter. In 1779 he was admitted as a student to the Royal Academy of Art’s Schools of Design. Even as a student, Blake followed his own taste in the Greco-Roman arts. When the elderly George Moser, Keeper of the Royal Academy, advised him to study Lebrun and Rubens instead...