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Vol. 54 no. 2: Fall 2020

Sendak and Blake Illustrating “Songs of Innocence” with an Essay by Prof. Robert N. Essick

  • Mark Crosby
5 October 2020
05 Oct. 2020


Maurice Sendak studied Blake’s art and poetry, and collected drawings, watercolors, illuminated books, and prints. In interviews, he frequently professed his adoration of Blake, stating in 2001, “I love Blake; I have all my life.” The experimental synthesis of the verbal and visual in much of Sendak’s work is self-consciously Blakean, a deliberate evocation of the composite art of the illuminated books that is perhaps seen most forcefully in his final work, My Brother’s Book, completed before Sendak’s death in May 2012 but published posthumously. In a much earlier work, a 1967 Christmas keepsake published by Bodley Head, we find Sendak engaging directly with the man whom he described in a 1970 interview as “my teacher in all things.”