English poet, artist and mystic
1757 - 1827
William Blake was one of the great lyric poets. Blake's early work was written in a classical style. Later he used the romantic style made popular by Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Blake was born in London and educated at Henry Pars Drawing School. After becoming established as a graphic designer and drawing tutor, he opened a print shop in London in 1784. He lived in Sussex from 1800 to 1803, during which time he was charged with high treason but acquitted. He returned to London and staged a rather unsuccessful show of his artistic work in 1809, after which he went into obscurity and became a mystic.
As a supporter of the French Revolution, he openly criticized the social evils that he linked with the Industrial Revolution. His work is usually seen in the context of his social, political and religious beliefs. He was not really understood by his peers, but twentieth-century readers appreciate the greatness he achieved in his varied fields of interest.