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I. Knew I Was School of the air presents Why is a writer. Why is a writer is produced by radio station WNYC why under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's programme. William Blake's vision. For some people in the years around 1790 England was a good place to live. There were trees. There was fresh air. There were children who smiled healthy smiles. And then again. There were the people who were really poor. The people whose children were urchins running in the streets dirty and often cold. And with the children that William Blake said as he walked.
But of course many of them were not. They were put to work. And they work 10 12 hours each day. These children. William playing saw them. Boys of 10 or 12 or 14 perhaps boys with drawn faces who were skinny enough to climb into the chimney. And of course there were other children who were put to work in factories. In the streets. Anyway. For there were no laws against child labor. It was we do this to our children.
And what did he do. Was he a man of power a member of parliament who would make a speech to denounce such terrible treatment of Englishman who think ourselves civilized. We do this to our children. God forgive us. No he was not. Yet sometimes he will. If only I could do something. How do people walk the streets and yet there were such people. Who had no pity. Whatever it is is right. Who did speak to parliament who said make money or be thieves. Hard work on a break. It is the will of God and we have no right
with it. And many people repeated such words as children to work a full day. And I've always said this keeps them from harm. Yet these were not the parents of the children are we said no lies. Indeed when I wealth means more to us than our children our poor children. And the beggars some of them barely six years of age or. Have you allowed this to children to influence what is being given. Yet other men past these same children children of the poor. Yet others went home and ate their suppers and thought no thoughts about conditions.
Why Blake. Why William Blake. What was there about this man. I'm back my dear good you've walked a long while. How do you know it's been snowing there snow all over you. Yeah so I suppose that's right. Well take off your things will you. You're a good wife Catherine. Why do you say that all of a sudden of a sudden. No I've been thinking it all the way home. How dear of you William. Yes love is so important you know. Of course it is. I couldn't help thinking that as I walked you know how many poor children there are along the way. You always worry yourself. Some day I shall count them but they are not your burden. They are and so few people understand. Well but they don't. Have you ever felt well. And each one is a soul. And we we who have been trusted to care for it
seems to me we have enough of our own worries. Don't you want to talk about we always talk about it William. Mrs. William Blake. Very gentle. A loving wife. But somehow she never understood. Now be careful what you say to him. My dear Johnson Whatever can I say for myself. I was brought up a joke and I'm afraid Blake is hardly inclined towards gentleman for themselves but he's handled correctly correctly you're a scientist if handled correctly is a sort of secret have you go let's step over here. What I'm trying to say is well he's a visionary a visionary who
sees no he sees the truth very often but I wouldn't say visionary but that's why I'd like you to meet him. To know him perhaps it takes time to understand how unusual he is. Aren't we all. We are in the matters that we want to be Blake in the matters that count for one thing he cares nothing for money. Is he rich. Quite the contrary. Poor but proud not of being poor. I hope no proud because he does what he wants to do which is what mainly He's an illustrator of books not for him he's too careful too concerned too much the artist an idealist. Yes and a poet. I've printed some of his verses. Well where is it. Make him a great man. You must read his Bible. Them Angels the French but I do think that the Jew can speak both about old Mr. Blake is well you know Mr. Priestly how angry you are becoming and how
quiet you find me. The prince what about all of you who has done very little for the common people but common people. The sands of the earth. They have their place let them keep it I say. Their place is a filthy one. They live in sickness. Their children are born in darkness are trained to suffer and made to work so that rich people may be even richer. May I remind you that it is well that has made England great. No my dear man wealth has made only the wealthy great. It is God alone that has made England great. And we must help by now making England humane gentleman. His point Johnson My points are you know I have no point as a scientist you surely can understand and understand there are facts poverty is one of them. Man's lack of freedom is one of them. These are the conditions William what can I or you what Priestley do change the conditions. Change the conditions. Change the habits which men make with themselves so that
they may live in comfort. Change the prejudices which considered the common man as some type. But why is it that one man William Blake would change what many men readily accepted. What kind of man was William Blake. He's a loving man. He's an illustrator. Yes these are some of the things. But why. Why. Men are the same. They're not not to be a richer or a poorer everyone equally ought to be rich alike in heart. He's out perhaps for a while. William comes and goes Don't you see much of my will you Mr Johnson is too much with the angels to be much with me.
Perhaps we can change that I have an offer for an offer. You walk quietly Blake. But we didn't hear you come in. I so dislike noise it upsets the things I must hear voices again. Your dead brother. You know you don't believe in such things why do you and I believe in you. Yes my brother for one. Well it is strange. Don't you know the truth itself is strange unless one is prepared to see and hear it. Mr. Johnson came on business with. Yes quite rightly. I've been instructed to make you an offer. Oh yes. Do you know of it. No. Please buy home where it will let you get into the country fresh air away from the London crowd a house of your own small boat How would you know. What must I do. What you do best illustrations. Yet you will have time for your poet her wonderful man who makes the offer. Paley a poet himself you know. You can live in the middle of Sussex green fields all about you green for you. The country itself. Oh I'd love to milk a cow. It's an end to
poverty. When the world. Feels and the quiet. Time. But at what cost I'm sure we can adjust a little more. My love he does provide for us so well he provides for our bodies which by far is not enough. I must see London again Catherine we must move back to the cool crowd is life I must have it. It's all well to see the green fields but I must have why it's my poetry cries do you know employ William and I cry for it. At what cost at what cost. The security away from the things Blake saw so clearly. Too high the cost yet was not security better than
poverty. Too high of a cost. What man would exchange steady employment for. At best a few scattered opportunities in London. Why. What kind of man was this. Could a letter explain it. A letter written in his hand January eighteen hundred two. I am not ashamed afraid or averse to tell you what ought to be told that I am under the direction of messengers from heaven daily and nightly. But the nature of such things is not as some suppose without trouble or care. Temptations are on the right hand and left behind. The sea of time. He who keeps not right on word is lost and such was his poetry about man about suffering about conditions that ought to be changed about God. Can I see another's woa not be in sorrow too. Can I
see another's grief and not seek for kind relief. Can I see a falling tear and not feel my sorrow share. Can a father see his child weep nor be with sorrow feel. And can God who smiles on all hear the ran with sorrow hear the small birds grief and care hear the woes that invention. Oh no never can it be never never can it be. God give his joy to all. He becomes an imp and small. He becomes a man of woe. He does feel this sorrow too. Heard in today's program were Dick's done Stribling John a bar Emma Sue Phelps Scott platter Lauren Ingram and Mary Casey very Fred and Donna Walker were our studio engineers. Why is a writer is written by Floyd Horowitz and directed by Larry Wall.
This is Dave Carter speaking this is been another program in the series why is a writer produced by WSU wise Iowa School of the air under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the network.
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Why is a writer?
William Blake's vision
Producing Organization
University of Iowa
WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on William Blake, who campaigned against conditions under which the poor children of England were reared in the 1790s.
Series Description
Produced by the Iowa School of the Air, this series focuses on various works of literature from Shakespeare to Twain.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Actor: Stribling, Don
Actor: Setterberg, Dick
Actor: Ingram, Lauren
Actor: Phelps, Emma Sue
Actor: Siberry, Mary Kay
Announcer: Carter, Dave
Director: Walcoff, Larry
Producing Organization: University of Iowa
Producing Organization: WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Writer: Horowitz, Floyd
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: S60-6-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30?
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Chicago: “Why is a writer?; William Blake's vision,” 1960-11-11, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023,
MLA: “Why is a writer?; William Blake's vision.” 1960-11-11. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <>.
APA: Why is a writer?; William Blake's vision. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from