William Blake was a revolutionary poet and artist: “I know myself both Poet & Painter”, he wrote. In his paintings he created visionary images that challenge conventional perceptions; in his poetry he joined words and images in the stunning form of the ‘illuminated book’, where verbal and visual depictions interact. As a Romantic poet and religious visionary, he questioned Romantic assumptions and rewrote Biblical tradition in a radical mythology for his own historical moment. He welcomed the eruption of the French Revolution and attacked Britain’s wars against Revolutionary France, assaulting the social injustices of his day and critiquing the politics and psychology of power. Steve Vine’s study introduces the full range of Blake’s poetry and illuminated books from the early Songs to the late epics, and focuses on the socially radical and challenging nature of his art: on Blake’s attempts to open the ‘doors of perception’ beyond limiting visions and ideologies – to what
he called ‘the infinite’.
Steve Vine is Lecturer in English at Swansea University, where he specialises in teaching Romantic literature and literary theory. His publications include: Blake’s Poetry: Spectral Visions (1993); The Penguin Edition of D.H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod (1995); Emily Brontë (1998) and Literature in Psychoanalysis: A Reader (2005).
216 × 138 mm
December 31, 2006
Writers and their Work