William Blake and the art of ‘making’ a book happen – from the archives of literature

How many of us know William Blake as a poet? Well, realistically, barring those who are from a literary background, seldom anyone knows the importance that William Blake had added to his existence as a poet. However, the few people who know William Blake must know him as a poet only. Nevertheless, there were many sides to his multi-faceted personality and one among many was that he used to prepare his books himself. He sketched, with the help of his wife, he used to engrave and prepare the cover of his books. And the end result was wonderful – a book prepared by the poet himself, not with the text-only but also with pretty much everything that it takes to prepare a book, literally!

William Blake is said to be one of the major poets who annunciated the dawn of the romantic age in English poetry. However, I am one of those rare few who believe that Blake could not be limited to one category and his poetry flows beyond the limitations of genre and philosophies. He wrote about truth and facts. He wrote about angels and gods. He wrote about demons and dreams. He wrote about Satan and Christ. He wrote about win and loss. William Blake, indeed, helped the readers and getting along with themes other than the ones being carried forward by the poets before him.

However, the biggest thing that one loves about the poems by Blake is his devotion. And, think it for a while, if he did not devote his all to writing poetry, he could just write something and send it to one of the publishers and get it published. That’s all. However, he wrote, helped his wife with all other works to prepare the very few limited editions of his books and then offered the same to his friends and well-wishers. Sadly, not many of those hand-made books could survive and it is really unfortunate for us, the lovers of poetry.

Well, it is also to note that not many readers of English poetry can cope with the works by Blake. He did what he thought he should have done. He seldom cared about pros and cons, profits and loss or anything else. He wrote poems. He wrote essays and he also tried to write long poems. However, he is mostly remembered for his short but memorable lyrical contributions to English literature and you will surely love reading the same.

Do read his poems when you have time and urge. All the best!


By Gunjan for Intellectual Reader

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