Regarded by a contemporary as a "brilliant eccentric whose works skirted the outer fringes of English art and literature," William Blake is today recognized as a major poet and artist. This collection of carefully chosen poems reveals the lyricism, mystical vision and consummate craftsmanship that have earned the poet his preeminent place with both critics and the general public. William Blake was an engraver, painter and visionary mystic as well as one of the most revolutionary of the Romantic poets. His writing attracted the astonished admiration of authors as diverse as Wordsworth, Ruskin, W.B.Yeats, and more recently beat poet Allen Ginsberg and the 'flower power' generation. He is one of England's most original artists whose works aim to liberate imaginative energies and subvert 'the mind-forged manacles' of restriction.
Until now there has been no concerted attempt to represent to students of Romanticism the full range of conflicting forces responsible for its dynamic literature. The eleven original essays that make up this volume make a significant contribution to our understanding of the period, providing readers with clear and coherent access to the historical roots, intellectual ferment and cultural range of British Romanticism. It includes a chronology of major publications and events, and an extensive guide to further reading.