Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > William Blake: A Critical Essay - Swinburne on Whitman and Blake

On December 15th, 1863, an exceptional man lay buried in Bunhill Fields, Finsbury, London. He had been dead for roughly 36 years. In his lifetime, he made invaluable contributions to visual art, the craft of engraving, and the corpus of English literature. His personal style was not congruent with the popular styles of his time; he pioneered new methods of engraving, adopted an artistic style unlike the prevailing aesthetics of his era, and composed works shrouded in opacity. He was a champion of individual freedom in a time and place operating within a monarchy, a man “born and baptized into the church of rebels.” He was a poet-prophet overtaken by visions and ideas about how the universe operates. Despite his current position as a cornerstone of the Romantic canon, despite his artistic and literary genius, relatively few recognized this man’s groundbreaking work while he was living. Decades after his death, that was to change.