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William Blake had a theory of contraries, something reflected in the titles of his two most famous works: “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” and “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.”
In the latter, written between 1790 and 1793, Blake argues that “attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.” In the same piece, Blake states that “exuberance is beauty.”
We can see this exuberance in Blake’s visionary works, in the colorful style and deeply layered meanings of his poetry and prose, and in the paintings that often accompany them.
Many of Blake’s contemporaries believed him to be mad due to his idiosyncratic and often iconoclastic views, but he is now considered one of the greatest and most creative British artists of all time.