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Discuss the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the poetry of William Blake and...

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zoel222 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:26 PM via web

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Discuss the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the poetry of William Blake and William Wordsworth.

Discuss the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the poetry of William Blake and William Wordsworth.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 5, 2011 at 6:23 AM (Answer #2)

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Romantic thinkers like Blake and Wordsworth were impacted by the Industrial Revolution on a couple of levels.  The ascension of the Industrial Revolution had a couple of effects that flew in the face of Romantic thinkers like Wordsworth and Blake.  The growing embrace of conformity and materialism disturbed both thinkers, who were more about a subjective expression of the good that was rooted in distinctive authenticity.  Both thinkers were concerned about this particular rise of materialism and conformity in terms of silencing people's voices as to the dangers inherent in the increase of industrialization.  For example, when Blake writes about young boys who are exposed to the horrors of their occupations in "The Chimney Sweeper," a definite statement is made about how industrialization poses specific dangers which Romantic thinkers felt was their obligation to identify.  Thinkers like Wordsworth echoed similar sentiments in their own works:

Romantic writers were aware of these changes [caused by Industrialization], which presented such a contrast between the hellish life of the city laborer and the purity and peace of nature. The industrial changes convinced many romantics the natural world was purer than the industrial one, and that nature was a place of spiritual truth, release, and renewal. In "The Excursion," Wordsworth applauds the advances in science and technology that made the mills possible, but also criticizes the exploitation of women and children, the dehumanizing work shifts, and the all-encompassing greed of the factory owners.

In the end, the Industrial Revolution left an impact on Romantic thinkers like Blake and Wordsworth, and actually helped to give voice to their intellectual pursuits because it allowed them to identify what specific elements existed in society that necessitated change and transformation.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 12, 2011 at 9:56 AM (Answer #3)

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William Blake wrote of the "dark Satanic mills" in which adults and children were subjected to cruel treatment and unhealthy conditions.  He felt that Nature was man's refuge and teacher.  Likewise, Wordsworth found in the individual great worth and abhorred industrialization. He worked towards more humane treatment of the downtrodden. Like Blake, he perceived nature as the refuge of man.

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laateedoe | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:20 AM (Answer #4)

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Romantic thinkers like Blake and Wordsworth were impacted by the Industrial Revolution on a couple of levels.  The ascension of the Industrial Revolution had a couple of effects that flew in the face of Romantic thinkers like Wordsworth and Blake.  The growing embrace of conformity and materialism disturbed both thinkers, who were more about a subjective expression of the good that was rooted in distinctive authenticity.  Both thinkers were concerned about this particular rise of materialism and conformity in terms of silencing people's voices as to the dangers inherent in the increase of industrialization.  For example, when Blake writes about young boys who are exposed to the horrors of their occupations in "The Chimney Sweeper," a definite statement is made about how industrialization poses specific dangers which Romantic thinkers felt was their obligation to identify.  Thinkers like Wordsworth echoed similar sentiments in their own works:

Romantic writers were aware of these changes [caused by Industrialization], which presented such a contrast between the hellish life of the city laborer and the purity and peace of nature. The industrial changes convinced many romantics the natural world was purer than the industrial one, and that nature was a place of spiritual truth, release, and renewal. In "The Excursion," Wordsworth applauds the advances in science and technology that made the mills possible, but also criticizes the exploitation of women and children, the dehumanizing work shifts, and the all-encompassing greed of the factory owners.

In the end, the Industrial Revolution left an impact on Romantic thinkers like Blake and Wordsworth, and actually helped to give voice to their intellectual pursuits because it allowed them to identify what specific elements existed in society that necessitated change and transformation.

Hi. Just wanted to know where you cited the italicized paragraph from. If you still remember, anyways.

Thanks.

 

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