Confluence 17–18 Nov 2021

John Higgs


William Blake vs the world

How to tell the story of a bewildering visionary

Blake is an archetypal misunderstood genius who worked without reward, mocked, dismissed and misinterpreted. Yet from his ignoble end in a pauper’s grave, Blake now occupies a unique position as an artist who unites and attracts people from all corners of society, and a rare inclusive symbol of English identity. How does a storyteller begin to explain a person as complicated and misunderstood as Blake? Higgs will explain the thinking behind his new book William Blake Versus the World, and why his background in pre-school animation proved to be invaluable. He will show that although we begin by trying to understand Blake, we will ultimately discover that it is Blake who helps us to understand ourselves.

John Higgs

John Higgs is a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world. In the words of MOJO magazine, “Reading John Higgs is like being shot with a diamond. Suddenly everything becomes terrifyingly clear”. His most recent book, a short essay called William Blake Now: Why He Matters More Than Ever, was published in print, ebook and audiobook in 2019.

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