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Michael Horovitz

In this article, written in his signature style, Michael Horovitz reflects on his longstanding fascination with William Blake. He recalls how the spirit of Blake loomed large at the International Poetry Incarnation at the Albert Hall in the summer of 1965, where his fellow travellers, among them Adrian Mitchell, were driven by the nineteenth-century poet. Horovitz recounts the ways that Blake has continued to inform his artistic practices, which cut across from poetry to music and visual art.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Michael Horovitz

This article, originally published in 1958, was written to commemorate William Blake’s bicentenary. In it, the author observes that Blake has been claimed or dismissed by successive generations since his death in 1827: for the Romantics, he was a ‘weird crank’, while the Victorians enveloped him in ‘their own damp sentimentalism’. The author argues that Blake ‘evades appraisal because he was always working for a synthesis of creation far beyond outward forms and genres’, which meant ‘he had to invent his own methods to express himself adequately’. He notes that the recent bicentenary was marked by ‘floods of exhibitions, magazine supplements, radio features, new books from all sides devoted to him’. This clearly anticipates the Blakean explosion of the 1960s, in which the author himself would play a major role. This article can therefore be seen as marking the beginning of Sixties Blake in Britain.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library