The William Blake Blog

Global Blake: In Conversation with Jodie Marley
Jodie Marley discusses George William Russell and his engagement with the mystic reception of William Blake.

This video explores the context of Russell’s engagement with Blake: how Russell and his circle received Blake in the 1890s, and how the late Victorian spiritualist and occult revivals influenced Blake’s popularity. It then discusses Russell’s 1890s poetry, and his later mystic tract The Candle of Vision (1918), analysing how Blake’s influence as a ‘mystic’ artist contributes to Russell’s own unique artistic vision. Finally, Jodie argues that instead of considering Russell an eccentric footnote to his more famous friend Yeats, that Russell’s work must stand alongside Yeats’s when we consider Blake’s nineteenth and twentieth century influence. Although both received Blake as a visionary or mystic writer, Russell’s vision of Blake diverges significantly from Yeats’s in practice.