The Sunday Magazine

The 'luminous companionship' of William Blake

The poet William Blake was often dismissed as a madman in his lifetime. But to his devotee, he is a prophet with much to tell the world about war, poverty and imagination.
William Blake by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas, 1807 (National Portrait Gallery London)

Originally aired in 2007.

When Canadian literary giant Northrop Frye first read the poetry of William Blake, he pronounced himself transformed. He's not alone. 

In his lifetime, Blake was often dismissed as a madman. When he died in 1827, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave.

But to his devotees, he is a prophet with much to tell the world about war, poverty, imagination and creativity. 

And to some, he is more than that. He is a "luminous companion," a real presence in everyday life.

Click 'listen' above to hear Frank Faulk's 2007 documentary, The Divine Mr. Blake.


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