Born OTD in 1757, English poet, painter, and printmaker, William Blake. His poetry consistently embodies an attitude of rebellion against the abuse of class power as documented in David Erdman’s large study Blake: Prophet Against Empire: A Poet’s Interpretation of the History of His Own Times. Blake was concerned about senseless wars & the blighting effects of the Industrial Revolution. Much of his poetry recounts in symbolic allegory the effects of the French and American revolutions. Erdman claims Blake was disillusioned with them, believing they had simply replaced monarchy with irresponsible mercantilism and notes Blake was deeply opposed to slavery, and believes some of his poems read primarily as championing “free love” have had their anti-slavery implications short-changed.

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Peter Marshall’s study draws on Blake’s complete writings, his poetry and his prose. It offers a lively and perceptive account of his thought ranging from his philosophy and his critique of existing society and culture, to his vision of a free world. Marshall presents Blake as a forerunner of modern anarchism and social ecology, and reveals the light which shines behind the misty mountain range of his symbolism and mythology. Available in store and online.

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