William Blake: America, A Prophecy

(191 words)
  • David Punter (University of Bristol)

Blake was a strong supporter of the American revolution, which he saw as a necessary break with European tyranny. In the poem America he portrays some of the events of the revolution, albeit mainly in terms of a battle between mythical figures. Washington, it is true, opens the action through his defiance of the British government; but that government is represented by 'Albion's Angel' (angels for Blake were usually negative figures of false purity and sanctimonious repression), who menaces the Americans. The presence of Albion's Angel necessarily produces a counter-presence, that of Orc, the spirit of violent revolution, who, interestingly, starts to revisit the weapons of war on Britain itself. The action, however, comes to no c…

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Punter, David. "America, A Prophecy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6740, accessed 24 September 2016.]