The Sleep of Imagination: William Blake and Edward Young’s ‘Night Thoughts’, by Michael Farrell

How the Sleep of Imagination produces Nature

 

 

Introduction: The Apocalypse of Reason 

Edward Young (1683–1765)

Blake worked on illustrations for an edition of Edward Young’s Night Thoughts between 1795 and 1797, though he engraved only forty three of the five hundred and thirty seven water-colour designs he made for the poem. The first part of Young’s illustrated text, containing forty three of Blake’s engravings, was published in 1797. The enterprise was a commercial failure and the subsequent ‘Nights’ were never published.

Read More

Burning Bright: Meteoric imagery in the works of William Blake, by A. McBeath

The alignment of meteoric imagery and political and spiritual events in Blake’s work

 

 

Introduction: Blake’s meteoric imagination

According to old Chinese belief, William Blake (1757– 1827) was cursed, since there is no question he lived in ‘interesting times’. Blake was a visionary English poet and artist. He was fascinated by apocalyptic biblical beliefs and prophecies, and worked elements of these even into artworks commissioned of him to illustrate the texts of other poets.

Raphael, ‘Astronomy’, from the Stanza della Segnatura (1509)

He studied widely in the literature and art of the past. His lifelong artistic heroes were Milton, Raphael and Michelangelo. As a result, his works are suffused with flowing forms and astronomical imagery, including meteors and comets.

Read More