The Fall’s Before the Moon Falls, W.B., Jerusalem and creating a system of your own
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To celebrate Blake’s birthday, here is one of his illustrations for Milton’s L’Allegro, along with the poem itself, which seems suited to the mood fo the day.
Thy purpose & the purpose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trembling & fear, terror, constriction: abject selfishness.
Mine is to teach Men to despise death & to go on
In fearless majesty annihilating Self, laughing to scorn
Thy Laws & terrors
The Tyger is potentially the Led Zeppelin of Blake poems — brash, bombastic and unnervingly successful. It is supposedly the most anthologised poem in the English language — stadium poetry, if you like. Your children will probably come across it at school. Along with the Parry’s version of Jerusalem, this is the Blake that people know.
Iain Sinclair explores the historical background to William Blake’s radical writings. Filmed on the South Bank of the River Thames, Vauxhall, London.