The first part of this paper focuses on previously unstudied materials relating to the critical recuperation of William Blake in the period between c.1910 and 1930. It notes how commentators utilised ideas of citizenship and hospitality when they attempted to universalise Blake’s interests and concerns. It explains how these distinctive critical idioms were constructed, what they had in common and how they situated Blake in larger public arguments about the social significance of cultural creativity. The second part of the article traces the ramifications of this new way of thinking about Blake by noting his appearance in modernist and neo-romantic art criticism in the 1930s and 1940s.
Colin Trodd (University of Manchester) is the author and co-editor of books on British painting and culture, including Victorian Culture and the Idea of the Grotesque (1999), Governing Cultures (2000), Art and the Academy (2000), Representations of G. F. Watts (2004), and Visions of Blake: William Blake in the Art World, 1830-1930 (2012).