English  453
Dr. Morillo
Romantic Period
Tompkins G118

First Paper Assignment.

Due Friday, February 11, by NOON . Please turn in the paper as a emailed file to morillo@unity.ncsu.edu. Be sure to put your last name in the file name.
Worth 15% of your final grade.

5 pages, double-spaced typed/printed text.
Standard margins.
If you have any other format questions, ask me.

You will be interpreting art  by William Blake. Since Blake is a multimedia artist, each of his works has to be considered for both its text and its images. You do not need to do any further research for this interpretive paper, but you should definitely read Eaves's chapter in the Cambridge Companion for general advice when reading Blake. But do not just imitate or repeat Eaves or other critics.I much prefer to see what you make of these illuminated books

Choose one of the following 4 options  to work on
a) Pick ONE of the poems in its pictorial context from Blake's Songs of Innocence, or
b) ONE from Songs of Experience OR 

c) TWO of Blake's poems that share the same title (e.g. The Chimney Sweeper) and have versions in both the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience OR
d) 1-2 plates/pages of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. 

Whatever you pick, you will then write a close-reading analysis, your interpretation of the relationship between the words and the picture(s). Consider what you think the words mean, and then if the picture works as a direct illustration to it, an alternative image of it, a counterpoint to it, etc. Blake does not always use his images as simple illustrations of the ideas, and that makes him both interesting and challenging. You don't need to consult any secondary criticism, but if you do consult other criticism you must reference it in a Works Cited page in MLA format. As you see here you should follow your text's standard procedure and italicize the title's of any of Blake's works.

You do definitely need to look at the color reproductions of your chosen poem(s) in the Blake Archive http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/indexworks.htm
Bear in mind that each hand-produced Blake work is unique, and that's why for Blake's illuminated books there are multiple copies listed by single capital letter, with slightly different pictures in each. You may choose whichever edition/version you like, but be sure to say in the paper which version (e.g. Copy C) you chose to use so I can then look at the same pictures you did.  The texts of all the poems are in your anthology text.


An example of one of Blake's famous illuminated poems, The Tyger:



Feel free to discuss your developing ideas with me.