William Blake

William Blake

William Blake

William Blake

Excerpt

Nearly one hundred years ago, in August 1827, confined to a couple of rooms in Fountain Court, an alley off the Strand, William Blake died unnoticed, save by a small but gradually extending circle of friends. They were young artists who reverenced him and regarded themselves as his disciples. The interest that Blake aroused in these, and indeed in all the finer spirits who chanced to discover, by more than hearsay, his character and his work, quickly began to be communicated to the world. In 1828, 1830, and 1832 J. T. Smith, Allan Cunningham, and Frederick Tatham published their recollections, the first short lives of the poet and artist. In the century that divides these enthusiasts from ourselves, this trickle of interest has grown into a stream, and not a year now passes without some new volume about him, while his rare, original productions are sought by libraries and museums all over the world. The canon of Blake's published writings is, even now, incomplete, and there is still a chance that some of his unrecovered works may emerge from their oblivion. We have come to see in him a prophet of the nineteenth century; the precursor, independently of Chatterton and the Lake Poets, of the Romantic Move-

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