Blake embodied the Romantic ideal of independence by self-publishing his work and advocating the expression of individual perception, while rejecting the neo-classical canon of the Royal Academy. His highly idiosyncratic style is indebted to his admiration for the religious subject-pictures of Raphael (1483–1520), Michelangelo (1475–1564) and Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). Of Blake’s contemporaries, he may be compared to the slightly older Swiss-born Henry Fuseli (1741–1825), whose melodramatic compositions dealing in the world of the literary imagination foreshadowed those of Blake. During his lifetime he had a modest yet zealous following, however his reputation has grown enormously since his death, influencing many writers and artists.
Books on William Blake
Martin Myrone and Amy Concannon (eds.), William Blake, exh. cat. London, 2019.
Martin Myrone and Christopher Frayling, The Gothic Reader: A Critical Anthology, London and New York, 2006.
Martin Myrone, ed., Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination, exh. cat. London, 2006.
Robin Hamlyn and Michael Phillips, eds., William Blake, exh. cat. New York, 2001.
Martin Butlin, The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, 2 vols. New Haven, 1981.
David Bindman, The Complete Graphic Works of William Blake, New York, 1978.
Martin Butlin, William Blake: A Complete Catalogue of Works in the Tate Gallery, London, 1971.
Geoffrey Keynes, Engravings by William Blake, the Separate Plates: a Catalogue Raisonné, Dublin, 1956.
Geoffrey Keynes and Edwin Wolf, William Blake’s Illuminated Books: A Census, New York, 1953.
Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake, rev. edn Princeton, 1947.