Blake's Humanism

Author: Beer, John


PDF Ebook (recommended) : 239 pages, 3.5 mb, 15 illustrations, hyperlinks to online images.
Also in ePub and Mobi formats

Recommend to your librarian

An illustrated study of the social, political and literary thought underlying Blake's Songs and the Prophetic Books, culminating in Milton. The text is enriched with fourteen full page black and white plates and over forty hyperlinks to major online Blake collections. Second hand copies of the book cost £100 or more and unlike hard copies this electronic version takes you to sources of full colour illustrations, guided by John Beer's brilliant commentary. 

First published by Manchester University Press. Digitized by Humanities-Ebooks, 2007


1 Blake and his Readers. Varying conceptions of Blake's achievement.
2 A Fourfold Vision. Blake, Milton and Allegory: the complex organization of his vision.
3 The energies of Desire. The guiding forces behind Visions of the Daughters of Albion and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
4 The Lion and the Rose. The roles of vision and energy in the Songs of Innocence and of Experience and lyrics such as “The Mental Traveller”.
5 The Genius of Revolution. The attempts at mythological interpretation of current events, first in “The French Revolution” and then in the prophetic books America, Europe and The Song of Los
6 The Descending Vision. Milton: Developed myth-making as a means of interpreting the artist's task and previous literature.
7 All Things Humanized. Blake's fourfold vision employed as a means of interpreting and illustrating major predecessors such as Milton and Chaucer.
8 Unwanted Prospero. Blake's lasting commitment to imaginative vision as a key to human liberty.
Appendix One: The Development of Blake's Mythology.
Appendix Two: The Gates of Paradise: a guide to interpretation.

(It is in the nature of URLs that they may change : we apologise if any hyperlinks to online illustrations have ceased to function)

About the author

John Beer is well known for his work on English Romantic literature. He has lectured in India and the U.S.A. as well as at Manchester and Cambridge, where he is now Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Fellow of Peterhouse. His books include Coleridge the Visionary, Coleridge's Poetic Intelligence, Blake's Humanism, Blake's Visionary Universe, Wordsworth and the Human Heart, Wordsworth in Time, Questioning Romanticism (ed.), Romantic Consciousness: Blake to Mary Shelley, Post-Romantic Consciousness: Dickens to Sylvia Plath, Romantic Influences and William Blake: A Literary Life.


This book is in PDF (strongly recommended), ePub and Mobi formats

A Library edition in Pdf is available from Ebrary, EBSCO and

Also available on Amazon Kindle

iPad users: we recommend users of the iPad to instal GoodReader or another PDF reader.

PDF Ebooks have superior layout, illustrations, hyperlinks, footnotes and navigability.

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Blake's Humanism

Review Comment

‘It is a pleasure to find a Blake study as good as Dr Beer’s.  .  .  he has a real critical gift and ... has written the most just account yet of Blake’s political position,’

--The Times Literary Supplement

‘The word ‘humanism’, at any rate in Cambridge, suggests a form of hubristic enlightenment, but what the author intends by it is to emphasize (rightly) the characteristic of Blake’s thought expressed in his insistence that Man, concretely ‘there’ only in the individual human being and governed by his knowledge that he doesn’t belong to himself, is responsible for determining what his responsibility is.  .  .’

--F.R Leavis:  ‘Justifying One’s Valuation of Blake’.

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