William Blake was born in London on November 28, 1757 where his father carried on a small hosiery business. Blake was self – taught and a visionary. His was a unique genius, and poetry and painting both attracted him. He became an engraver of illustrations for various publishers, after training at the Royal Academy for some time. Blake was heir to a British tradition of working-class radicalism and dissent, both political and religious. Many of his radical mystical ideas can be traced to swedenborg, whose teachings his family followed.
In 1782 he married Catherine Boucher, who remained a close partner through all his professional and financial difficulties. the following year Poetical Sketches was printed privately. Blake’s corpus comprises both prose and poetry. Of the former The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and of the latter, Songs of Innocence and Experience are best know. However, Blake was prolific in his output, the Prophetic Books, America, Europe and The Book of Urizen are some other famous works.
from 1809 onwards Blake’s life was one of poverty and obscurity. He died on August 12, 1827. Of him Crabb Robinson wrote ‘ Shall I call him Artist or Genius-or Mystic or Madman?’