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Saturday, January 13, 2007

William Blake: Under the Influence

Under the Influence pays tribute to the work of English poet, artist and visionary, William Blake, in the 250th anniversary year of his birth. It reveals the range of Blake's commissioned work, his engagement with contemporary thinkers, and his profound and continuing influence on today's artists and writers. This small display in the British Library's Sir John Ritblat Gallery features unique items lent or donated by writers and artists who have been inspired in some way by Blake's life and work, including Tracy Chevalier, Philip Pullman and Patti Smith. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Blake's notebook, which he used to record sketches and draft his poems for over thirty years. The dense, closely-filled pages provide a fascinating insight into Blake's compositional process, and allow us to follow - line by line, correction by correction - the genesis of some of his best-known work, including poems such as London and The Tyger. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Blake's birth, the British Library has used its award-winning Turning the Pages technology to create an interactive version of the manuscript

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