Although relatively obscure during his lifetime, William Blake has become one of the most popular English artists and writers, through poems such as “The Tyger” and “Jerusalem,” and images including The Ancient of Days. Less well-known is Blake’s radical religious and political temperament and that his visionary art was created to express a personal mythology that sought to recreate an entirely new approach to philosophy and art. This book examines both Blake’s visual and poetic work over his long career, from early engravings and poems to his final illustrations, to Dante and the Book of Job. Divine Images further explores Blake’s immense popular appeal and influence after his death, offering an inspirational look at a pioneering figure.
Modern scholars often find it difficult to account for the profound eccentricities in the work of William Blake, dismissing them as either ahistorical or simply meaningless. But with this pioneering study, Saree Makdisi develops a reliable and comprehensive framework for understanding these peculiarities. According to Makdisi, Blake's poetry and drawings should compel us to reconsider the history of the 1790s. Tracing for the first time the many links among economics, politics, and religion in his work, Makdisi shows how Blake questioned and even subverted the commercial, consumerist, and political liberties that his contemporaries championed, all while developing his own radical aesthetic.
It has been clear from the beginning that William Blake was both a political radical and a radical psychologist, and in William Blake on Self and Soul Laura Quinney uses her sensitive, surprising readings of the poet to reveal his innovative ideas about the experience of subjectivity.