William Blake (Q3197)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

One of the most idiosyncratic writers and artists in British history, William Blake has had an outstanding influence on global creative cultures today. In this module, you will read many of Blake's illuminated books, learning about their experimental material form, and how they emerged from the literary and visual cultures of late eighteenth-century London. You will have the chance to examine Blake's original illuminations in the British Museum. We will consider the creative contributions made by Catherine Blake (married to William), and the challenges to researchers of interpreting this collaboration.

In the second half of the module we discuss the reception of Blake, exploring his influence on later writers and artists, from popular culture to experimental literature. This is likely to include poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg and Iain Sinclair, fiction by Philip Pullman, Alastair Gray and Angela Carter, a film directed by Jim Jarmusch and a graphic novel by Alan Moore. There will be a writing workshop in which you are invited to explore creative reception in practice (a creative-critical option will allow those who wish to develop this in the mid-term assessment).


33%: Practical (Workshop)
67%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: