Christ as the Artistic Genius

William Blake was an artist, author, inventor, and a Christian, or so he said. His Christianity was radical, especially for his time (1757-1827). I would add that it is still is radical today. Centred in a strongly Christian society, Blake re-envisioned Christianity, creating his own views on Christian teachings, which were inspired through a number […]

Literature, Blake, and the World

In conversation with others, sometimes, when I mention that I am researching within English literature, the question is raised as to the relevance of literature in general, or more specific to my topic, the relevance and importance of William Blake. To answer the first part – on the relevance of literature – it seems that […]

Blake, Cultural Contrast, and the Cultivation of Eternity

William Blake despised the classical culture of Ancient Greece and Rome, even while adapting its ideas (such as Plato’s Ideal Forms). He considered these cultures the antithesis of real art, bringers of war, destroyers of humanity. Neither did Blake appreciate the ancient (pre-Christian) British culture for its elite priestly class, the druids, to which were […]

Is Your Vision Fantasy or Imagination?

William Blake’s oeuvre contains a range of works, which though each is unique, participate for the most part in a common mythology. Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion is one such work, a long (100-plate) illustrated poem; actually his magnum opus. Jerusalem explores the process by which humanity (represented by Albion) is restored to […]

From Zero to Infinity, and Beyond

In his time, William Blake was a zero – well not exactly, but he certainly didn’t amount to much among the reputed society of the day. Georgian England preferred those who fed the British Empire in its already burgeoning, behemothic presence. But Blake had a larger vision, and the problem with such larger visions is […]

The Fourfold Universe

William Blake’s world-view appears to be quite unique, not in every aspect, but for the most part. Much has been written about his work, and many connections have been drawn to other sources – Neoplatonism, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, Milton, among others. Blake typically renders new ideas from traditional sources, and […]

Inspiration and Memory

If something is to stand up to scrutiny then it must be rigorous from as many angles as possible. This is the idea behind tradition: things stick around because they can endure the test of time. And what is this test? Well that depends what something is subjected to, what differing perspectives a thing is […]

When a mountain is not a molehill

I’m beginning to see the impossibility of exploring the entire mountain of literature on William Blake in full detail within the time span given for my postgraduate research. Is it a mountain? As far as publications¬†about Blake,¬† G. E. Bentley, Jr., in his William Blake and His Circle (Toronto 2015) lists about 5000 books written […]

Which take on Blake?

It’s amazing to explore the range of literature on Blake, all forming part of a larger conversation around his work. There are so many different facets to Blake that have been written about: his poetry, art, political views, theology and mysticism, historical context, views on gender, symbolism, the British mythos, humanism, science, materialism, modernism, his […]