Imagination Versus Materiality – The Bond of Image and Text in Conflict


A seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual art of Romanticism, William Blake, considered imagination as an instrument of knowledge superior to reason. In his works he sympathized with the victims of society degraded by industrialization and praised imagination against materiality. The paper focuses in two groups of works of the artist, bound together in a single volume, “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”. Blake asserted on the general title-page an addition to the title: “Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul”. In the introduction of “William Blake: Songs of Innocence and of Experience” (Oxford, 1970) Keynes G. mentions, “The character of the designs for Experience is noticeably more severe than it is in those of Innocence […]”. This paper investigates the way Blake expresses his ideology – imagination in contradiction to materiality – in the form of songs of innocence in contradiction to experience songs and focuses where text and image are bound in one, “[…] due to his cast of mind, whereby the life of the imagination was more real to him than the material world […] word and symbol each reinforcing the other” (ibid).

Author Information
Sofia Vlazaki, University of West Attica, Greece

Paper Information
Conference: KAMC2023
Stream: Arts Practices

This paper is part of the KAMC2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Vlazaki S. (2023) Imagination Versus Materiality – The Bond of Image and Text in Conflict ISSN: 2436-0503 – The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon