The afterlife of william Blake
In recent years a body of work – including Blake, Modernity and Popular Culture (2007), Blake 2.0: William Blake in Twentieth-Century Art, Music and Culture (2012), William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (2017), William Blake and the Myth of America (2018), and The Reception of William Blake in Europe (2019) – has emerged around the posthumous reception of the artist and poet, William Blake. From almost complete obscurity following his death in 1827, Blake has become one of the most important figures in British cultural life. What is less understood, outside certain pockets such as the USA and Japan, is the significance of Blake elsewhere in the world.
Today, Blake’s global presence cannot be underestimated. The aim of this project is to showcase the wide variety of global ‘Blakes’ (after Morris Eaves’s “On Blakes We Want and Blakes We Don’t”, 1995, and Mike Goode’s “Blakespotting”, 2006) and to provide an overview of the appropriations and rewritings as well as examples, that fall into three categories: art, literature and music. It will examine how Blake’s global audiences have responded to his poetry and art as well as explore what these specific, non-British responses and cultural and social legacies can bring to the study of Blake. What is fascinating about works in art, literature and music inspired by Blake is the fact in which the verbal and the visual in Blake’s art translates into different cultural contexts in unique ways.