Prophet, poet, painter, engraver – William Blake (1757-1827) was an artist of uniquely powerful imagination and far-reaching creative gifts. His work expresses the spiritual drama of the English national being, integrating poetry and visual art in a sustained work of visionary creativity unparalleled in English art history.
Revealing Blake to be far more than a revolutionary social radical, this classic study reshapes our understanding of the artist’s achievement. Kathleen Raine details the enriching effect of mystical, alchemical and gnostic philosophy on Blake’s art. She unravels the complex, deeply felt symbolism expressed in his paintings and prints, and describes the powerful impact of his reading of Dante, Milton and the Bible.
Raine’s compelling text guides the reader through the life and thought of this extraordinary artist. Fully alive to the uniqueness of Blake’s art – which has ‘a reality, a coherence, a climate’ all its own – she introduces famous work such as Jerusalem, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Four Zoas and The Book of Job, relating them to Blake’s world view and explaining their prophetic qualities, their fierce energy, and their central place in British Romantic art.