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British poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books. Blake proclaimed the supremacy of the imagination over the rationalism and materialism of the 18th- century. He joined for a time the Swedenborgian Church of the New Jerusalem in London and considered Newtonian science to be superstitious nonsense. Misunderstanding shadowed his career as a writer and artist and it was left to later generations to recognize his importance. Blake's last years were passed in obscurity, quarreling even with some of the circle of friends who supported him.



Among Blake's later artistic works are drawings and engravings for Dante's Divine Comedy and the 21 illustrations to the book of Job, which was completed when he was almost 70 years old. Blake never shook off the poverty, in large part due to his inability to compete in the highly competitive field of engraving and his expensive invention that enabled him to design illustrations and print words at the same time. Independent through his life, Blake left no debts at his death on August 12, 1827. He was buried in an unmarked grave at the public cemetery of Bunhill Fields. Blake's influence grew through Pre-Raphealites and W.B. Yeats especially in Britain. His interest in legend was revived with the Romantics' rediscovery of the past, especially the Gothic and medieval. In the 1960s Blake's work was acclaimed by the Underground movement.













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