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Vol. 51 no. 1: Summer 2017

Saree Makdisi, Reading William Blake

  • Andrew Lincoln
3 July 2017
03 Jul. 2017


This is a brief introduction to Blake that novices and seasoned Blakeans alike will enjoy and learn from. Saree Makdisi has the interests of the reader, and the process of reading, constantly in mind. He manages in a short space to elucidate a series of challenging ideas and gives a compelling sense of Blake’s relevance to the modern world. Aware that most readers are likely to encounter Blake’s poetry initially through the Songs of Innocence and of Experience, he has focused each chapter on a reading of one of the Songs, moving from particulars to the questions they pose and then to other works by Blake, gradually taking the reader from simpler to more complex issues. As a result, his explanations of difficult Blakean themes are invariably easy to follow. The book is a celebration of Blake rather than a critique. It always expresses the critic’s own admiration and communicates this warmly to the reader.