This page gives information on new activities about William Blake. If you know of events, forthcoming books, films or media coverage, or other activities in the coming months that we should feature here, please do let us know through the Contact page.
NB: Events are listed here as we become aware of them (the most recent discoveries at the top), not in their date order. Once an event has occurred, we place it in A Blakean Archive. If you went to one of these events, why not use our Contact page to offer us a Finding Blake post about it?
Jerusalem - Blake, Parry and the Fight for Englishness Wednesday 17 October 2018, London Waterstones Bookshop, 82 Gower Street WC1E 6EQ While Blake’s stanzas from ‘Milton, a Poem’ that begin ‘And did those feet’ have become well known in the centuries following his death, along with the circumstances of Hubert Charles Parry’s setting during the First World War, there has never been a study of the reception of the hymn better known as ‘Jerusalem’ in the hundred years since it was set to music. This talk will explore several ways in which ‘Jerusalem’ has been used and abused – as an anthem of both left and right, of sporting communities, royal celebrations, anarchist critiques of the state or pro-fascist bigotry – and whether it holds any answers to the thorny question of what is Englishness. Professor Jason Whittaker is Head of the School of English and Journalism at the University of Lincoln. He has written extensively on Blake, in particular dealing with Blake’s reception in the twentieth century as well as the issue of nationalism in Blake’s work. His forthcoming book is a history of the reception of ‘Jerusalem’ from 1804 to 2016.
William Blake walks with Niall McDevitt Sunday 7th October - London The William Blake Walk is a definitive guide to the Central London sites where William Blake lived, worked, studied and died in the years 1757-1827. It was favourably reviewed by legendary Soho author Nigel Richardson in the Sunday Times, and listed number one in the literary section of the Sunday Telegraph's Great British Walks. The sites of Blake's birth, baptism, and death are unforgettably moving, as is his one surviving house in Mayfair. McDevitt transforms the neoliberal wilderness of W1 with his Blakean expertise and repertoire of songs, poems, stories. Sunday 14th October - London On William Blake and the Visionary Poets of Hampstead, Niall conducts a unique walking tour of Hampstead assessing the village's contribution to English and world poetry. The main site of the pilgrimage will be an off-the-beaten-track farmhouse where the sixty-something Blake regularly visited his patron John Linnel but - in a dramatic letter - turned down an offer to live there rent-free. The elderly Blake is contrasted with the childhood Gerard Manley Hopkins who grew up in leafy Oak Hill. En route there will be fascinating encounters with revolutionaries, mystics, anarchists, and at least two consumptives from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Sunday 21st October - London For Rimbaud-Blake Waterloo to Lambeth, Niall explores the Surrey-side trails of the two revolutionaries par excellence of the Western literary canon. Rimbaud lived in Waterloo in 1874. Blake lived in Lambeth from 1790-1800. McDevitt points out the landmarks that would have been visible to the poets and sees the eerie connections between their works. The big question is whether Rimbaud had heard of Blake, seen a Book by Blake, or even read Blake. McDevitt has a unique hypothesis. The eco-immersive route will take in the green spaces of Waterloo and Lambeth such as St Johns Garden, the Millennium Garden, The William Blake Estate, as well as the riverside itself. See New River Press for details on all walks.