William Blake: England’s Radical Prophet and Visionary

A talk giv­en by Andy Wilson for the Blake Soci­ety at St Luke’s Com­munity Centre, Isling­ton, Lon­don, on 24th Nov 2021, for the res­id­ents around Bunhill Fields, where Blake is buried.

Poems and Podcasts

Videos and pod­casts of vari­ous dis­cus­sions. Updated regularly.

Blake and the Mad Crew: The Ranters and the Historians

While A L Mor­ton thought Blake may have read the work of the Ranter, Abiez­er Coppe, mod­ern his­tor­i­ans say there is no evid­ence of Blake being famil­i­ar with Ranter texts. How much do Blake’s ideas over­lap with The Ranters? I look at the Jus­ti­fic­a­tion of the Mad Crew (1650) to compare.

Iain Sinclair: Blake’s Mental Traveller and The Gold Machine, a Talk to the Blake Society

In Sept 2021, Iain Sin­clair gave an impro­vised talk to the Blake Soci­ety about how Blake’s poem, The Men­tal Trav­el­ler, became the map and mod­el for a life­time of jour­neys and pil­grim­age quests. The Men­tal Trav­el­ler was an awaken­ing, to be exper­i­enced but not yet under­stood. The poem returned at vari­ous points in the years that fol­lowed, until it was acknow­ledged as the secret code for Sin­clair’s most recent book, The Gold Machine, a late-life exped­i­tion to one of the sources of the Amazon, in the foot­steps of his great-grandfather.

Michael Tencer: Affirmisms

Fed up with the whole­some good­ness that pops magic­ally out of the neg­a­tion of the neg­a­tion every time you try it? Try Michael Ten­cer­’s affirm­a­tion of the affirm­a­tion instead to exper­i­ence a life crum­bling like your teeth in dreams.

Video Interview with Andy Wilson re. William Blake vs the World

John Higgs recently pub­lished his book, Wil­li­am Blake vs the World—a ‘coun­ter­cul­tur­al’ take on Blake’s work, writ­ten for a non-aca­­dem­ic audi­ence. Here, Con­or Kostick inter­views Andy Wilson about his review of the book and more gen­er­ally about Blake’s rel­ev­ance to the countrculture.

Blake in Beulah: A Review of John Higgs’s ‘William Blake vs The World’

John Higg­s’s new book prom­ises a con­tem­por­ary take on the works of Wil­li­am Blake, mak­ing them rel­ev­ant to a mod­ern audi­ence gen­er­ally, and to the coun­ter­cul­ture in par­tic­u­lar. So, how well does it live up to its promise?

Conor Kostick: Art and Revolution — A Review of John Molyneux’s Dialectics of Art

The top­ic of art and revolu­tion deserves a much bet­ter book than John Molyneux’s The Dia­lectics of Art. This crit­ic­al review explains why.

The Fall and William Blake: Before the Moon Falls

The Fall’s Before the Moon Falls, W.B., Jer­u­s­alem and cre­at­ing a sys­tem of your own

Blake’s Annihilation by the Eye of Ra: On Snakes, Seraphim and the Solar YHWH

What did Blake meantby say­ing that when he looked at the sun he saw a choir of angels singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’, and how does it relate to his depic­tion of apocalypse.

Blade Runner’s Fallen Angels

The film Blade Run­ner is hugely suc­cess­ful, but what does it mean? As the makers hint, the key is to watch it through the eyes of Wil­li­am Blake and his myth­o­logy of liberation.

William Blake as a Revolutionary Poet

Few could deny that Wil­li­am Blake sup­por­ted the rad­ic­al polit­ics of his time, yet revolu­tion­ary ideas were not an adjunct to his vis­ion­ary geni­us, but the liv­ing heart of it as a poet.

Aleks McHugh: The Golem Returns

In the wake of the attemp­ted QAn­on putsch, and in the run-up to the inaug­ur­a­tion of Joe Biden, when Trump’s sup­port­ers are expec­ted to take to the streets again, Aleks McHugh con­siders QAn­on hys­teria and social media gen­er­ally as incarn­a­tions of Meyrink’s Golem, as por­trayed in the 1920 film by Paul Wegener.

Serge Arnoux’s Mirror of Blake

An ana­lys­is of the recently dis­covered engrav­ings by Serge Arnoux illus­trat­ing Wil­li­am Blake’s ‘Pro­verbs of Hell’, with a dis­cus­sion of sur­real­ism and Blake, and the impact of Moravi­an­ism on Blake’s idea of faith, sexu­al­ity, free­dom and religion.

Serge Arnoux: le sexaphysique du texte

Images from Serge Arnoux’s le sexaphysique du texte, 1981.


Sac­red to Har­po­crates were first fruits of veget­ables, len­tils, and, above all, the peach tree. His moth­er was Isis, of course, and we may note that in the Valentini­an Pler­oma, the prim­al Moth­er, the First Thought of the incom­pre­hens­ible Bythos, is called Sig, ‘silence.’ As the Nag Ham­madi text Eugnos­tos the Blessed relates: “Sophia, his con­sort, who was called ‘Silence,’ because in reflect­ing without a word she per­fec­ted her Greatness.”

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Reflec­tions on Wil­li­am Blake, rad­ic­al theo­logy, polit­ics and surrealism.

Wel­come to The Trav­el­ler in the Even­ing, a site focused on the work of Wil­li­am Blake. But it is a loose focus, because, in the right mouths, the dis­cus­sion of Blake quickly turns to the dis­cus­sion of sur­real­ism, revolu­tion, rad­ic­al theo­logy and much else besides. Blake him­self eas­ily com­bined all of these things, well in advance of his age—and ours.

It is… prop­er to state that Blake nev­er had, strictly speak­ing, any influ­ence and that it is extremely prob­able that he nev­er will. The reas­on is that in Blake we behold not so much a foun­tain, a source, as a moun­tain­top.
Phil­lippe Soupault

The Trav­el­ler Hasteth in the Even­ing is an engrav­ing by Blake from 1793, as part of his early col­lec­tion, For the Sexes. Blake’s image shows his trav­el­ler pacing his way toward some unknown des­tin­a­tion. Mor­ton Paley shortened the title to The Trav­el­ler in the Even­ing for his book about Blake’s later works (after Jer­u­s­alem). I bor­rowed Paley’s title for the blog because it reflects my own situ­ation with respect to Blake, and our col­lect­ive situ­ation more generally.

I’ve been read­ing Blake for years, quietly tak­ing notes. My dream was to find the time and space one day to write a book about what I learned from him. Right now, it doesn’t seem that day is get­ting any closer. At the same time, the world has taken a dark and threat­en­ing turn, with the rise of far-right glob­ally and of author­it­ari­an gov­ern­ments bent on march­ing us head­long toward an envir­on­ment­al cata­strophe we set in train a long time ago. Some days it feels like it is even­ing everywhere.

The old world is dying, and the old left, in the form of com­mun­ism and social demo­cracy, has per­haps run its course, because it was based too closely on an ideal­isa­tion of production’s ‘Satan­ic mills’. The envir­on­ment­al move­ment is urgently rel­ev­ant, but struggles to paint a coher­ent pic­ture of any altern­at­ive. Social move­ments against oppres­sion tackle the world’s abuses without being able to attack them at the root.To do so would mean com­ing to a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture of who we are in rela­tion to our world. I believe Blake can help point us toward the reversal of per­spect­ives needed, to fan the flames of solid­ar­ity and help to wake us from our long col­lect­ive sleep. The rami­fic­a­tions of his thought would over­turn our deep­est assumptions—hence the need to present this new, and unheard Blake: a pro­found eso­ter­ic thinker and a thor­oughgo­ing sur­real­ist militant.

Author: Andy Wilson

Author: Andy Wilson

Andy Wilson lived in Seaham Har­bour, Peterlee, Hartle­pool, Kings Lynn, Cov­entry, Tor­point, East­leigh, Lee-on-Solent, Port­land, Wey­mouth, Lough­bor­ough, York and Liv­er­pool before finally put­ting down anchor in Hack­ney, Lon­don. He served as an Avion­ics Arti­ficer in the Roy­al Nav­al Fleet Air Arm from 1976 to 1982. Andy stud­ied at the Co-oper­at­ive Col­lege, York Uni­ver­sity and Middle­sex Uni­ver­sity. Since then he has worked as a polit­ic­al full-timer, a lec­turer in FE and in the Work­ers Edu­ca­tion­al Asso­ci­ation, as a com­puter pro­gram­mer, and finally as an engin­eer­ing man­ager, CEO and a Dir­ect­or of a num­ber of com­pan­ies. He has authored books on the group Faust (‘Faust: Stretch Out Time 1970–75’), the Romani­an Spec­tral / Acous­mat­ic com­posers Ian­cu Dumitres­cu and Ana-Maria Avram (‘Cos­mic Orgasm: The Music of Ian­cu Dumitres­cu and Ana-Maria Avram’), and he cre­ated a series of psy­che­del­ic-fan­zine illus­tra­tions to the work of Blake (‘The Bril­liant New Her­cules: A Blake Read­er’). His main interests lie with Blake, rad­ic­al theo­logy and Surrealism.