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How William Blake keeps our eye on The Tyger


No other work of art so urgently tells the truth about nature and our relationship with it as Blake’s poem about a ferocious, precious beast

William Blake is about to have an exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum that looks at the artistic development of this great Romantic visionary. It is timely, for Blake deserves at least as much glory as JMW Turner, who is currently getting so much attention. For one thing, he created the single most urgent work of art of our time.

Urgent, that is, if you look at it not from the point of view of art, literature, galleries or school texts but the perspective of planet Earth. If Gaia could tell us what to read and look at, she’d surely whisper “The Tyger”.

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