The man was born 250 years ago and still infuriates and exhilarates. “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”. One of his many slogans taken up by the rock and literary generation of the 1960s against what they saw as layer upon layer of establishment oppression.
Don’t rely on what you’re told; make your own mistakes, and learn from them. If you don’t develop your own system you will be forced to live under someone else’s - forced to defend a lie.
That 60s generation was quoting a man who lived 200 years before them, whose words were still as challenging and relevant as in his very turbulent lifetime.
As are his astonishing and groundbreaking illustrations. Politics, sexuality, religion, the human mind, all came under his penetrating gaze.
William Blake (1757-1827) was unique - one of England’s most influential, controversial, and fiery tempered poets and artists. “Jerusalem” from his epic “Milton” has become a sort of unofficial national anthem. “The Tyger” is said to be the most reprinted poem in English. And many of his engravings continue to emerge on rock band album covers. His mysticism still fascinates and enthrals and he is particularly revered by the artistic community.
Yet in his lifetime he was feared, considered mad, or simply overlooked. A phenomenal visionary who “saw” angels and spoke to the dead, he toiled his entire life to break free of the drudgery of the mundane into the universe of the mind and soul. If ever there was a Working Class Hero it was William Blake.
“To see a world in a grain of sand...” The imagination of the human mind was his only religion.
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth The Finn-Brit Players present Mr & Mrs Blake, a play originally written to accompany an exhibition of his engravings in Helsinki in 2000. It is an attempt to shed some light on his life and times and what must have been a remarkable relationship with his wife, Catherine.
“He whose face gives no light shall never become a star.”
Mr & Mrs Blake, a play by Joe White on the life and times of the visionary poet and artist William Blake. Performances November 29th, 30th and December 1st at 19.00h at FINNBRIT (Fredrikinkatu 20 A 9).
Tickets 6 euros, from the venue.