This website is devoted to William Blake and his poetry. Why have I taken all the time and bother to set it up? After all, I’m not getting paid to do this!
First, it’s for my own benefit; I find writing about subjects I love (and have to teach) helps me understand them better.
Second, I believe the guide could really help both students and teachers. Having scanned for materials on Blake on the internet, I can see that there’s an awful lot of stuff which is, quite frankly, “anti-Blakean”. William Blake believed in the power of the human imagination; he hates systems which “prescribed” ways of doing things. He hated unfair laws and codes. Much of what I read on the internet seems to be saying “you must interpret Blake in this way otherwise you’ll fail your exam!”. Blake would have hated the idea of school exams – he writes powerfully about the horrors of school in The School Boy – and would have really hated the idea that his poems had to be interpreted in ONE particular way; indeed, I’ve included links in this guide to the multiple illustrated versions he did of the poems – he coloured them in quite differently from version to version, and sometimes changed words.
What I wanted to do with this guide was devise one which is “Blakean” in spirit, a guide which gave the reader enough information and confidence to interpret the poems for him or herself.