Eyeing A1

A look at newspaper front pages from around the country

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

with one comment

It’s easy to think of William Blake as just a poet. His works have been read, scrutinized and studied for centuries. But just calling Blake a poet would be unfair. He understood the importance of multimodality and how telling the same story in different ways could lead to a deeper and more meaningful message.

Blake was an artist with words, images, and often, music. According to this article from Canada’s University Affairs, Blake set many of his poems to melodies.

While we do not have the melodies any longer, there are many people who have found their own music for his pieces. Here’s one example:

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the words can exist without the pictures or the music. There is still meaning to them, but it difficult to imagine how the pictures would exist without the words. Sure, the etchings would be open to amazing interpretation, but the words give the pictures meaning while giving the reader insight into what Blake thought when he wrote this.

The pictures also have a way of leaving a lasting impression as opposed to just reading black text on a white page. In Sean Hall’s This Means This, This Means That: A Guide to Semiotics, the prominence section becomes an interesting aspect.

There is a list of 31 words separated by a line. One word is highlighted in yellow and another has a strike through.

On the next page, Hall asks to recite as many words as you can remember.

Usually, the words that are different from others or the words with personal meanings are easily remembered. These words have more prominence than the others.

That’s what Blake does with his poems. He adds prominence.

The pictures provide the poems personality. One picture could also hit home more than others and therefore become personal to the reader, thus making the poem or just that plate more memorable and effective.


Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

February 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm

One Response

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  1. Seems that Blake understood the importance of cutting through the clutter even before there was any clutter to cut through. In advertising, we are challenged to find new ways for our ads to stand out from others. In this time of savvy consumers, this is becoming more challenging than any other period. For Blake, it seems he knew he had to find a way to make his works as memorable as possible. Hence the use of naked drawings. And like the ad men of today, he knew sex sells.


    February 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

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