For those in cars, planes and fast trains, here’s three excellent audio podcasts giving an overview to Blake’s life and works. The programmes include interviews with top Blake scholars such as Northrop Frye, Kathleen Raine and Gerald Bentley, and excellent readings from Blake’s own poetry and letters.
Introduction, by David Cayley
“Like many another poetry-loving boy I grew up knowing and reciting the lyrics of William Blake. But it was only much later that I ventured into Blake’s longer and more involved prophetic poems. One of my guides was the Canadian critic Northrop Frye, whose Fearful Symmetry was one of the first books to appreciate the scale and the reach of Blake’s poetic achievement. Another was the English poet Kathleen Raine in books like Blake and the New Age, from which I would draw my title, and the two volumes of Blake and Tradition. By then I felt ready to share my discoveries, and, happily, both Frye and Raine, along with a number of other Blake scholars were willing to take part. Barry Macgregor read from Blake’s work, and Lister Sinclair, who introduces the proceedings, also helped to choose the incidental music. Here are the three programmes that resulted…”
For more than thirty years (1981-2012) David Cayley made radio documentaries for CBC Radio’s Ideas series. To listen to more of the 250 programmes that remain available on the Ideas website, please click here.