Two Williams

In separate discussions, scholars speak of William Shakespeare and William Blake. First, Maynard Mack reflects on the influence of Shakespeare on the English language, saying that the wide vocabulary he used drew upon many idioms, and that he wrote about everyday people. Mack says that Shakespeare created self-contained worlds that integrated his language perfectly, and that his themes repeat themselves in human life to this day. Mack suggests that we consider the values of  judgment, hope, and challenge in Shakespeare’s work.

In the second segment [14:18], Aileen Ward discusses Blake, pointing out ways in which his poetry, painting, and engraving illuminated each other. She looks at the revolutionary times in which Blake lived and the care he had to take in expressing his views. She reveals how Blake created mythological worlds populated with fantastic figures to present his ideas. She refers to his last poem, Jerusalem, which uses spiritual and religious themes to lead to a sense of wholeness.

At the time of these interviews, Mack, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1984-85, 1986-87), was professor of English at Yale University.

Ward, a Fellow at the Center (1986-87), was professor of English at New York University.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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