Sunday, February 09, 2014


In Blake’s letter to Flaxman he wrote:
“Now my lot in the Heavens is this; Milton lovd me in childhood &
   shewd me his face
Ezra came with Isaiah the Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years
    gave me his hand
Paracelsus & Behmen appeard to me. terrors appeard in the Heavens
(Erdman 707)
Which suggests that Shakespeare meant a great deal to Blake
as a source for his ideas, poetry and pictures.

Here are some of the areas in Shakespeare that he used.
In particular Blake produced pictures and images involving
Shakespeare’s works:
The abstract of  doctoral thesis at the University of Glasgow is worth reviewing.

Look for example at this picture of King Lear:

In a letter to Hayley dated 1804 Blake wrote about some pictures that he hoped to
have printed including “ Lear & Cordelia. belonging to Mr Walker”
and “,
……………………… incomparable production, which
Mr. W. bought for five shillings at a broker's shop; it is about
five feet by four, and exquisite for expression; indeed, it is
most pathetic; the heads of Lear and Cordelia can never be

Blake also made use of two pictures with Oberon and Titania from Midsummer Night's Dream:

Wikipedia Commons
Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing
c. 1786
Look at Blake's Faires

Library of Congress Rosenwald Song of Los

The two figures are tradionally related to  Oberon and Titania
There are many other signs of Shakespeare in Blake's works, although many are not always apparent.

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