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Vol. 48 no. 3: Winter 2014–15

Carl-Johan Malmberg, Stjärnan i foten. Dikt och bild, bok och tanke hos William Blake

  • Ossian Lindberg
9 January 2015
09 Jan. 2015


Carl-Johan Malmberg has written a large book of about 450 pages on Blake generally, concentrating on what Jean Hagstrum called Blake’s composite art, his unique illuminated printing from copperplates on which text, image, and decoration stand up in relief and can be printed like woodcuts. The writer thinks that the question whether Blake was greatest as a poet or as a pictorial artist presupposes the idea that poetry is something distinct from painting, but Blake seems to have looked upon both as one thing, which he called “art.” Malmberg is up to date on recent Blake scholarship, knows Morton Paley personally, and has corresponded with Bob Essick. The book is beautifully printed, proofread with reasonable accuracy, and richly illustrated. In a final chapter there is a short summary of Blake’s life, but the book is mainly criticism, not biography. Informative notes are in the margins, including the original wording of scholars quoted in translation.