Numerous claims have been staked for the sexual Blake, from post-lapsarian pessimist to free-loving hippie; Queer Blake enters this lively competition by raising a flag for the weird, perverse, camp and gay dimensions of the artist's life and work. Contributors occupy diverse positions in relation to Blake's queerness, from sceptical to propagandist. Together, they illustrate what fresh interpretations result when heterosexuality is ditched as a cherished ideal.
Biographical and historical queer contextualization ranges from homoerotic patronage to abolotionist same-sex slave fantasies. Various deployments of Queer Theory interrogate sexuality and performativity in Blake, and in turn scrutinise contemporary theories under a Blakean spotlight. A dual focus also marks the collection's discussions of visual art: a queer gaze is turned on Blake's bodies, but perverse contemporary art is also assessed from Blakean perspectives. Featuring an original work by an award-winning poet, this lively new volume fills a significant gap in Blake Studies.